Jurassic World: What you need to know
This is the fourth Jurassic Park film. How did you feel taking on – excuse the dino-pun – such a monster?
I didn’t even have time to process any of it. When you’ve got to jump out of the alien drop-ship and you’re falling, you don’t ask why you’re there. That was kinda my situation. I was thrown into a movie with a release date of the following summer and no script three months before shooting. Luckily, we had Steven Spielberg [as executive producer] who was able to put the brakes on it and say, “You know what? Let’s take another year. This is going to work but let’s make sure it works.”
What’s new this time round?
I had to ask, “Why does Jurassic Park 4 exist?” and the thing I came up with was that we’ve become desensitised to the scientific miracles around us and that we will always repeat our mistakes if there is money to be made. This movie wasn’t so much about playing God as existing in a world where people have already played God and we’re living with the results.
There’s a new genetically engineered dinosaur involved, the Indominus Rex. How did she come about?
There’s a scene in the first movie where Dr Henry Wu [BD Wong] makes it very clear that nothing in Jurassic [Park] world is natural. It’s all designer genetics because everything came from frog and dinosaur DNA. We found some pretty cool behavioural and physical attributes of animals to instill into this dinosaur.
Early concept art showed dinosaur-human hybrids. We’re guessing they didn’t make the final draft?
That was before I showed up. The script evolved over many drafts, full of different ideas from writers who really wanted to do something new. But no, you won’t see any human-dinosaur creations in our film.
Chris Pratt’s the leading man. Were you wary of making him a Sam Neil 2.0?
We were very conscious of it. Chris Pratt’s character is a hybrid of [Sam Neil’s] Dr Alan Grant and [Jeff Goldblum’s] Dr Ian Malcolm, but he also has his own tone that I think people will become attached to.
A lot has been made of Chris Pratt’s relationship with the velociraptors.
Steven [Spielberg] had the idea to have a character that has a connection with the raptors much like [South African animal behaviourist] Kevin Richardson’s work with lions. The raptors recognise Chris as a pseudo-ally and there’s a very tenuous balance between them acknowledging him and biting his head off. The raptors’ alliances are torn between those who need and want them for their own desires.
Is there anything from Michael Crichton’s original book that we haven’t yet seen that you wanted to explore?
There’s a brief conversation between Dr Wu and Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond about the idea that these animals can be used for more than just a theme park; things like medicine, agriculture and potentially for war. Those concepts of taking dinosaurs and using them as we do other animals that we share the planet with was fascinating. I think there’s a lot to explore there.
So Jurassic Park 5 will feature dinosaur soldiers?
Well… we’ll see. What’s important to me is that we set the table for this franchise to go to new and unexpected places, and not for it to feel like a retread. That’s not what anyone wants. That’s not what will keep it alive.
Interview by Tom Ward, originally published on Esquire.co.uk