The Dinosaurs Are Back!
Behind the Scenes of JURASSIC WORLD
By Managing Editor Ben Kayser and Contributing Writers Lyndee Fletcher and Daniel Gregg
MOVIEGUIDE® had the opportunity to hear from the stars and director of Universal Pictures’s JURASSIC WORLD, the fourth movie in the iconic JURASSIC PARK dinosaur franchise, which changed the landscape for CGI (Computer Generated Images) filmmaking and inspirationally terrified a whole generation. JURASSIC WORLD takes place 20 years after the first movie. The dinosaur park is fully functional and profitable, but to keep people interested, the park owner decides to create genetically modified dinosaur hybrids. They create a terrifying creature called Indominus Rex, but when it escapes and wreaks havoc on everything in its path, it’ll take a velociraptor trainer named Owen to help save the people on the island, including two boys who get lost in the park.
Q: “How did you balance the memories of the old [movie] and also keep your passion in this one?”
Colin Trevorrow (Director): “I think these stories are as valuable to us as myths and legends, and they deserve to continue to be told. Inherent in that is the danger of making a fan film and making something that is just derivative of the things that we love. So, that was my initial fear. I want to be the only one that can be blamed if it’s a failure; if it’s a success, it will be everyone’s fault. So, when Derek and I wrote the film, we sat down with Steven Spielberg and asked some fundamental questions; “Why is there a Jurassic Park four?” was the number one question. Why would we make another one of these? I’m a little defensive of these properties because I care about them so much. If I’m going to have the audacity, the arrogance, to make one, then how can we go on to make something new. What we settled on is we could make a movie about what was happening at the moment, which was that we had a giant corporation who needed a movie on a release date, and that was going to happen one way or another. So we can make a movie about how we tend to repeat our mistakes whether they are a good idea or not, as long as there is money on the table.”
Q: “Did you make the movie a metaphor about blockbuster moviemaking?”
Trevorrow: “I didn’t want to make it a meta commentary. It happened very organically. It was what we were experiencing at the time. Derek and I are in a hotel room and in this very short period of time trying to write something that we could care about and feel passionate about and a lot of that ended up being in the movie. I saw it a little bit bigger than that we do live in a culture where we constantly want more and we want it to be bigger, not just in our entertainment but in our portions, our food portions, and so many different things. We want to be entertained and want upgrades and there was something to be said in that, and yet also what drives it and that need constant push for profit at all cost that is a very dehumanizing force and can allow us to lose sight of humanity and our priorities and we could hang our hat on that.”
Q: “Was there a discussion about animatronics vs. motion capture?”
Trevorrow: “Initially there was no plan to use animatronics, and I pushed really hard for that, and not just for my own sentimental reasons, which are there, but where there needs to be a true emotional connection between the humans and the animals, and I do call them animals. I wanted there to be something that was real and tactile that my actors could emote from.”
Q: “What research went behind the science in this film as far as depicting different animals?”
Trevorrow: “Well, we do acknowledge in the movie that these are, “theme park creations” and that’s from the Crichton. That’s from the book, and Dr. Woo’s insistence that if the genetic code reappeared, many would look quite different, and that is an absolute truth. What we focused on a little bit more with Jack Horner is this hybrid animal, and I took great personal pleasure in seeing a Time magazine headline that the science in JURASSIC WORLD has any validity whatsoever because it doesn’t seem like it does, but Jack told us very clearly that this idea of inserting different genes into the genome and creating different animals is completely real, and as long as we make sure to have the attributes link to real animals on the planet right now, it is completely plausible. That actually was very liberating for us because we were able to find animals that had a lot of different attributes that are pretty cool that we could insert into this animal that was obviously a bastardization to science and abomination, an animal that must be exterminated.”
Q: “How was working with Steven Spielberg? Since he was the producer you obviously admire his work, and because he directed the first film?”
Trevorrow: “He treated me as an equal even though I am literally not; there’s a creative respect in that. That empowered me in the same way I try to empower other people I work with–to be their best and to push beyond what even they think they are capable of. I was in a situation in this movie where I had to travel through time, I had to go direct this movie as myself 20 years from now with four or five more movies under my belt, and I think one of the most valuable things he imparted to me is not to plan too hard and to value and trust your instincts. That was one of the many things he taught me over our relationship that was pretty involved. One section where it wasn’t as involved was actual physical production. When I was shooting the movie, he was watching the daily’s. He would occasionally send me a note or a video or idea, but he didn’t come to the set. He stepped away, and I didn’t have the studio over my shoulder giving me notes. This movie, for better or for worse, and I hope you like it, is one of the most pure visions of a filmmaker without studio involvement you’re going to see at this level, and you probably will see in a while which gets back to my desire to be fully responsible for it in its failure and… really just its failure. I think because of the dynamic here Steven has the final cut, and ultimately he gave it to me, and so you’re seeing my director’s cut on however many 1,000s of screens, and it is definitely not a corporate product and a film with so much anti corporate talk there was a lot of freedom granted too make something that is a very personal and has an original vision.”
Q: “Did you do any backstory work?”
Chris Pratt (Owen): “I did some work in terms of creating the techniques that this guy would use if this was a real park. Should my character sound like the Crocodile Hunter? Should he have an Australian accent? He was like I just want this to seem real. We just need to establish an organic relationship between man and beast. It’s sometimes tough to establish a relationship between a man and an animated character.”
QA: “How did you differentiate between your Star Lord and Owen Grady characters?”
Pratt: “I followed our director’s vision He had this term, “the third rail.” Like the third rail on a subway, if you touch it, it will kill you. If I used my usual comedic bag of tricks, most of which I used in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and my character in PARKS AND RECREATION is a full embodiment of that clowning around character. If I did any of that on the set, that was my third rail. For the most part I had to be deadly serious, and it was a bit of a darkness. This was a guy that has “been through something.” It goes back to, “Who would this guy be if this were really a job opening and they needed a person to fill this position?”
Q: “Would you return to TV?”
Pratt: “The platform for entertainment is rapidly shifting right now. With TV, you get the opportunity to tell a 20 hour story. Film is cool because it’s two hours, there’s a beginning, middle and end–you go on an adventure. With TV, you get deep down with the characters and relationships. It’s more dense. TV is the novel of visual entertainment. It’s very nice to be able to have 9 months of living in the city and the opportunity to be a family man and make it home for dinner every night. When I did PARKS AND REC, it was seven minutes from work everyday. With film you could be halfway around the world for six months.”
Q: “How did you shoot the final monster scene? Was it on a green screen or a set?”
Pratt: “That was going out with a bang. Making it was not nearly as awesome as watching it. Lots of small pieces. The directors go into the editing room, cut together their stuff and see their movie. In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, with a scene like this they are actually directing an animated version of the movie. It’s essentially a moving storyboard of every shot. By the time we’re shooting this sequence, you’re looking at the animatic and saying, “Okay this goes here…there will be two dinosaurs here…you run here.” Sometimes it’s a good day with fun scenes. Sometimes you’re just a prop.”
Read the full review for JURASSIC WORLD here.
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