Jurassic Park‘s Lex Murphy, Ariana Richards, was recently interviewed by the Celebrity Catch Up podcast and offered some interesting thoughts on her career and Jurassic. Though Richards stepped away from the acting world many years ago to focus on her very successful art career, she didn’t rule out a return.
During the interview, host Genevieve took listeners through a retrospective of Richards’ film career. Richards portrayed Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park in 1993 and briefly in The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. Things got interesting when they reached that portion of the retrospective. When asked if she would ever return to the Jurassic franchise or in Jurassic World:Dominion for adult scenes of Lex Murphy, Richards responded:
“Now that is something I wouldn’t be able to comment on.”
That is certainly a very intriguing answer. She was subsequently asked if she’d ever consider a return to acting, and said she would “if the right project comes along.”
With Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum confirmed to return for major roles in Jurassic World: Dominion next summer, could an even further Jurassic reunion be in store? And in light of producer Frank Marshall’s hints that Dominion won’t be the end but the “start of a new era,” could there be a return in mind for Lex in future Jurassic projects? We’ll have to wait and see.
Excitement is high for the return of Jurassic Park‘s ‘big three’, and the possibility of Richards’ return only heightens that anticipation. We’d love to see her return, and perhaps with her brother Tim! No matter what’s in store, we celebrate the amazing Ariana Richards and wish her continued success.
You can listen to the entire Ariana Richards episode of the Celebrity Catch Up podcast here. The interview is a great listen. If nothing else, it unearths a few great stories that fans will love about Jeff Goldblum, Steven Spielberg, and the T. rex animatronic from the production of Jurassic Park.
What do you think about this interview, and how do you feel about Lex returning for Jurassic World: Dominion or other future Jurassic projects? Let us know in the comments below!
Jurassic Park and Jurassic World icon BD Wong (Dr. Henry Wu himself) recently joined the Lights, Camera, Barstool podcast for an interview about his life, directing and acting, and of course, Jurassic.
The interview discussed what it’s like to be an actor and director in today’s world, the classic nature of Jurassic Park, and most excitingly BD’s thoughts and excitement for next summer’s Jurassic World: Dominion.
Before we move on: This interview contains mild spoilers for Jurassic World: Dominion. If you don’t wish to see them, we advise not reading further.
When asked if he had a different appreciation for Jurassic Park as a cornerstone of cinema after all this time, he responded:
“I would say I do have a growing appreciation, and there’s a kind of depth to that appreciation. I started out doing the first movie and I didn’t take it seriously at all. First of all, it didn’t feel like I was taken seriously as a character in that first movie; they didn’t explain what happened to that person. And the fact that they didn’t explain what happened to that person opened the door for him to return… So their negligence actually became something that was an opportunity for me. And now I’ve done three more of these Jurassic World films, the third one just having been completed.”
Continuing on about his character in Jurassic World: Dominion:
“In the arc (of the Jurassic World films), the filmmakers have a real allegiance to the character, a real affection for him, and want that arc to be satisfying to the fans. And so I feel that effort being made on his behalf, and I appreciate that because I didn’t want to just do the same thing every single time. I feel like it evolves, and it evolves to a very satisfying place to me. He had this incredibly epic death in the book that just never really got delivered in the first movie. And so now we have this, no spoilers, but, this resolution and an ending that is really satisfying to me.”
When asked about the scale of Jurassic World: Dominionand if he could tease it at all, he said:
“I’m not allowed to give spoilers, but I will say – it is bigger. Like, they really wanted to go out with a bang, and they made the last one really big. I think it’s bigger and longer and more like a ‘film’ than just ‘another installment of‘… All the principles from Jurassic Park are in it. Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum are in it, and they’re not just like ‘Oh, look, there they are.’ They’re playing leading parts in the movie. So there’s Bryce and Chris Pratt who are the Jurassic World couple, and then there are these three honorary, huge, iconic characters that are coming back, resolving their relationships and their relationships to the whole conundrum of dinosaurs existing… and so it’s kinda big! There’s a weight to it that I like thinking about.”
You can watch a clip of that moment in the interview below:
“Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum are in it. And they’re not in it like ‘Oh look there they are.’ They’re playing leading parts in the movie.”@wongbd gives a sneak peek on what to expect from the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion.https://t.co/DpjuUoPyE4pic.twitter.com/DLeDi0EVHv
Wong also spoke to the unique nature of production during the pandemic, saying:
“It was the first movie that came back into production after the movies all shut down last year, and that was meaningful because it set up a lot of protocols that are still being used today and that were so important to getting the industry back on its feet… The side effect of that for us was that we were all quarantined in the same hotel, and there was this kind of ‘team spirit’ feeling that came as a result of that… We were all there, working on the same scene the night of the election… and so that was memorable.”
And continuing about the scale of the film:
“But it is big… Every single person who has gone in to the studio to re-record their lines – it’s called looping – gets to see, like three minutes of the film. Every single person has come back to the group text that we have saying, “Guys, this is incredible. Like, incredibly beautifully shot and, you know, really epic. And I can’t believe that it’s even more than the other two were before it.”
You can listen to the entire interview on Apple Podcasts here, and on Spotify here. BD Wong’s portion of the episode begins at around 1:02:00.
All in all, Wong seemed extremely grateful to be able to revisit a character decades later and to be a part of the Jurassic franchise as a whole. It is thrilling to hear his excitement and affection for Jurassic World: Dominion and the Jurassic franchise.
What do you think about what BD Wong shared in this interview and what it means for the next Jurassic World film? Let us know in the comments below!
In an interview with Collider, talking about her upcoming film The Glorias, actress Julianne Moore let it be known that she would be on board to return to the Jurassic franchise, but up to this moment she has not been asked.
After starring as Dr. Sarah Harding in 1997’s second installment, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, there has been no in film mention of what happened to or became of her character.
“Yeah, Sarah Harding. Maybe she’s not done yet. I don’t know. But no one has approached me. That’s ok! But if they did? Yeah, sure! Of course, of course!“
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, it is mentioned that Sarah Harding flew to Costa Rica shortly after the 1993 accident on Isla Nublar to visit Dr. Ian Malcolm in the hospital to find out if the rumors were true about an island full of dinosaurs. The two would form a personal relationship and after being recruited by John Hammond in 1997 to visit Isla Sorna, Site B, with a team to document the dinosaurs, Malcolm reluctantly agrees to go also to the island in an attempt to rescue her.
While documenting alone on Sorna prior to the rest of the team joining her, she discovers why the dinosaurs have have survived without without being given supplemental enzymes since they were bred lysine-deficient. Sarah also plays a key role in capturing the male T-Rex that escapes from the S.S. Venture and runs wild in the streets of San Diego.
So what happened to Sarah in the last 23 years? Is she still an Animal Behaviorist and Paleontologist? Is she still interested in seeing living dinosaurs up close? Do her and Malcolm still have a relationship? Apparently these answers will not come in Jurassic World: Dominion, at least not in the format of her being on screen. It would seem that her expertise could come in handy in a modern world where dinosaurs are roaming free globally.
Are you disappointed that Julianne Moore as never been asked back for a Jurassic sequel? Would you like to see her return at some point in the future, possibly in a Jurassic Park 7? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below!
Earlier this year we had the opportunity to interview cinematographer Shelly Johnson, who brought Isla Sorna to life in 2001’s Jurassic Park 3. The two hour interview explores Shelly’s work on the third movie along with diving into concepts and ideas that never made it to screen – along with some Jurassic Park 4 concepts too!
A new interview with Shelly which further expands upon our discussion has now released over at Soundstage Access. Check it out below:
The interview dives deeper into Jurassic Park 3’s recycling of old sets from The Lost World and what it was like taking over the Universal backlot shooting throughout the fall of 2000.
Brando at Soundstage Access also interviewed Gary Rydstrom who was the sound designer for Jurassic Park and who has signed on as the sound designer for the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion.
In the interview Gary discusses his creative process designing the dino-sounds for the first Jurassic Park.
Thanks to Brando for sharing these with us, what a great couple of interviews! The interviews are both available on iTunes along with Spotify, so be sure to check out the Shelly interview and Gary interview there. Let us know what you think in the comments down below!
The Dilophosaurus is arguably one of the most interesting dinosaurs seen in Jurassic Park, and while it doesn’t hold up as well scientifically as some of the other dinosaurs, the colourful frill and poisonous venom make it one of the more terrifying and unique encounters in the movie.
While the dinosaur has only appeared once in the franchise, a revival of this species is something many are hoping for in Jurassic World: Dominion. Until we see it on screen once again, we can only look back at original concept art and it’s original appearance and that is exactly what Jurassic Time have done.
And they’ve discovered something new. Hidden beneath the mouth of the juvenile Dilophosaurus that Dennis Nedry encounters is a venom sac, that was intended to inflate before the dinosaur spits the venom.
The original creator and puppeteer recently spoke with Bernard from Jurassic Time, revealing more about this mechanism that unfortunately failed on set. They had intended to film a close-up of the Dilophosaurus that showed the expansion of the frill and the mouth opening, the venom sacs filling up, and then the venom actually leaving the mouth. Instead, the shot cut away to a close-up Nedry’s face as the venom hit.
“When the Dilo spit, it worked but we tested in hot, dry air in our Van Nuys studio. Compressed air cools down rapidly as it expands during the ‘spit’. This cooling created a visible cloud of gas and gave away the gag in the cold/humid stage at Universal. They cut the film around it. But the mouth would open wide, the venom sac would sell up in its throat and the tongue would lift up like a serpent revealing the spit openings.“
He also detailed the mechanism behind the dinosaur’s tongue which originally would be seen moving.
“The tongue was a two stage tentacle mechanism and the base was on an ‘up/down’ pulley, too. The tentacles would allow the two sections of the tongue to move up and down and left and right independently of each other making it very serpent-like. Then, the base would rotate the tongue up to the top of the mouth to reveal the venom pits beneath.”
The full interview with Rick dives into the Dilophosaurs’ design and concepts through the production of Jurassic Park, which you can read here. Bernard has also put together a video that tells this story and showcases some of the concept art showing the venom sacks:
It’s a really interesting feature that never fully made it to the screen. The venom sacs can be hard to spot but are seen briefly on the Dilophosaurus when inside the car. The sacs can be seen on most of the concept art and storyboards too!
What do you make of this discovery, and had you noticed the venom sacs yourself? Are you hoping the Dilophosaurus returns in Jurassic World: Dominion? Let us know in the comments section down below, and a huge thanks to Jurassic Time for sharing this discovery with us!
The Directors on Directing panel released today as part of San Diego Comic Con’s Comic-Con@Home. Colin Trevorrow was one of the featured directors on the panel who discussed their past, present, and future projects.
In the panel, he touches on ‘Jurassic World’, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’, and ‘Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock’. Check out the video below!
Around the 5:00 mark he talks about making the emotional case for “Jurassic Park 4”.
At 11:50 he talks about meeting with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum and discussing them reprising their roles for ‘Dominion’.
At 18:06 The announcement that ‘Dominion’ would resume filming (this panel was recorded in June) and the challenges they are facing. During the hiatus the script wasn’t changed much and they were able to “put several sequences through the visual effects pipeline”.
At 24:00 Each ‘Jurassic’ movie getting more practical and ‘Dominion’ will have more animatronics than they had in the previous two. The digital extensions for animatronics have been improving so they will be able to match the textures on the animatronics. All of the dinosaurs have lighting references so they can see how light reacts with the skin and the environment. (How cool would it be to see the room with all the dinosaur references?!)
At 29:10 ‘Battle at Big Rock’ was shot handheld in VR by Colin.
At 33:27 changing from ‘Jurassic Park‘ to ‘Jurassic World’ took some convincing.
At 56:50Paul McCartney visited the studio while Colin and Michael Giacchino were recording the soundtrack for ‘Jurassic World’.
Those are all the ‘Jurassic’ related clips, but I recommend watching the whole panel as Colin, Robert Rodriguez, and Joseph Kosinski give some interesting insights into the world of directing. There’s even a cool moment for Star Wars fans towards the end.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic this year’s San Diego Comic-Con has gone virtual with Comic-Con@Home. Today is Day 2 of the events and at 2PM PT (5PM ET), Collider will be hosting a panel titled “Directors on Directing” and will include Jurassic World: Dominion director Colin Trevorrow.
The panel will be hosted by Collider’s Steven Weintraub and will also feature director’s Robert Rodriguez and Joseph Kosinski.
We’re excited to drop our new interview with the cinematographer of Jurassic Park 3, Shelly Johnson! I was lucky enough to speak with Shelly not too long ago about his time working on Jurassic Park 3, along with many other features he has shot.
Shelly was first brought onto the third Jurassic Park movie by Steven Spielberg himself, who had seen Shelly’s work on the Dreamworks Television series, The Others.
“I got a call from Larry Franco who’s the producer of Jurassic and said, Hey, you know, we were just in Steven’s office, and he showed us some footage from the show and said that we need to talk to you about doing Jurassic. And so why don’t you come down and you’ll get to meet Joe Johnston, and you guys can discuss it. He said, unfortunately, we can’t show you the script, but it’s Jurassic 3 and you get the idea.”
The collaboration with Joe Johnston led to a long and varied career, shooting films such as Captain America: The First Avenger, The Expendables 2, The Wolfman, and the upcoming Bill & Ted Face The Music and Greyhound.
Shelly went into detail about the role he plays in crafting a movie, and the complex lighting setups he used on Jurassic Park 3:
“My plan was to have this very kind of indirect light, filtered through the fog and as they got deeper in the canyon and got a little darker until it got to the bottom when there’s no sun at all. Maybe a little bit of that in the cliffs up there, but they would be in indirect light. Our largest set piece was a set of cliffs on the river at the bottom of the canyon that was all at Falls Lake, which is a permanent Lake on the Universal backlot, kind of a pathway up the hill there, and they’ve got a permanent green screen structure on one side of it.”
Along with sharing the technicalities of a shoot this large, we discussed the infamous and slightly troubled production the movie had, which stemmed from the original shooting script being thrown out weeks before filming was set to begin.
There was never an ending written while they were shooting, but an ending sequence had been planned at one point in time which would have involved a rescue helicopter getting attacked by a Pteranodon – something Spielberg had been wanting to see with a passion. The scene ultimately ended up in Jurassic World, along with the motorcycle Raptor chase.
“At one point, I’m not sure if it was written or not, there was a big discussion and some illustrations of a Pteranodon attacking a helicopter, like a big helicopter, a black Hawk. And when they fly away at the end of it they were going to attack and pick their way through the windshield, kind of like they did with the little helicopter in part four.
We were kind of waiting for it because as they fly out, that’s where it was. The last thing was this attack and they had to get out of it. And it ended up getting cut because of the expense, everything, you’re at the end of the movie now. And that was the sequence we had least worked out, where everything else we had sets for and had worked it out and it just didn’t seem like it was going to be viable.”
We talked about some of the concept posters for Jurassic Park 3, that were seen on the Jurassic Park 3 DVD release, showing titles such as Extinction or Breakout, with one even showing a human fetus in the logo in exchange for the T. rex.
After Jurassic Park 3’s release, many ideas for the fourth Jurassic were thrown around and as we know Joe Johnston was attached to direct the movie for quite some time.
Shelly discussed some of the things he had heard about the fourth movie from Joe and the similarities between the concepts he had heard and what ended up in Jurassic World.
Jack: “Joe Johnson was attached to direct Jurassic Park 4 for quite some time after Jurassic Park 3 was released. After you and he had built that sort of solid working relationship on the third, were you automatically on that with him or did you discuss Jurassic Park 4 with him?”
Shelly: “We did discuss it, yes, I’m not sure I would have automatically been, nothing’s automatic with him. I sort of have to earn my way onto every project, but it was definitely in the discussion. He played so much of that close to the vest, I don’t think there was much he could talk about.
But he told me what was out there, he told me that there was a story of creating an army of Raptors as kind of this invincible army, which you kind of see in part four. You see Chris Pratt out there training the raptors and you see the military contractors realizing the profit potential
I know that four went through a whole slew of iterations, and I think that the finished version, what they ended up shooting was very different than the film that Joe was considering making way back then.”
Shelly also shared with me how he would have liked a new Jurassic to look, if he were shooting it.
Jack: “After your work on Jurassic Park 3 and the prospect of, of lighting and shooting another, had you had time to think about what direction you would have liked to take it in? Obviously, it depends on what Joe wants and what the script was like, but had you had an idea about the way you wanted it to kind of look or what you wanted to explore?”
Shelly: “Yes, if I could do it again, I think that the moodier stuff in that movie is where it starts to kind of hit a tone that makes the Island feel a lot more mysterious, less of a tropical paradise and much more of a mysterious and scary place. And I would have liked to have kind of gone for that tone, even with the Kirby story and that little nod to comedy that Alexander Payne put in there. You know, I think it’s still work in a very, a very more threatening environment. So, I would have loved for it to have gotten a little darker.”
An even moodier Jurassic Park is music to my ears, and it’s great to hear that from the cinematographer himself. Jurassic Park 3 has some of the most beautiful and well-shot sequences in the franchise, specifically the atmosphere that Shelly created in the aviary. It would have been great to see how far he could have pushed that in Jurassic Park 4.
Shelly was also kind enough to answer some fan questions submitted to us, including: ‘what attacked the boat in the opening sequence?’, ‘how late into production did the Spinosaurus replace the Baryonyx?’, ‘were the Velociraptors going to attack the Spinosaurus at any point?’
The interview is available to listen both on our YouTube and as an episode of Podcast which streams through iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean and other feeds.
I’d like to thank Shelly for taking the time to speak with me and for sharing such fantastic and detailed behind the scenes stories of his time working on the franchise!
Be sure to give Shelly a follow on Instagram and head to his website for some detailed breakdowns of his lighting setups.
Are you looking forward to tonight’s ‘Watch from Home’ party of Jurassic Park, hosted by Joseph Mazzello? While you know him as Tim Murphy from Jurassic Park, his career has been incredibly diverse, with roles in films like The Social Network, and most recently starring as John Deacon in Bohemian Rhapsody.
We were lucky enough to chat with Joe about all things Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, and dinosaur. We cover a variety of subjects, such as runaway raptors, deleted scenes, and where his character may be today.
Tonight’s watch party starts at 8pm EST, and can be watched in the embeded video above once live. Until then, be sure to read our interview below!
You have an upcoming Jurassic Park ‘watch from home’ with IGN, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
JM: I was approached by Universal first, and I really jumped at the chance! The last time I saw it was in 3D in theatres -a bunch of my friends made me go watch myself, and have their 3D glasses on and look at the screen and look at me back and forth like that for 2 and half hours. That was a chance to really think about what a great movie it was and how it still holds up today. You know I would hold it up against any action movie, any monster movie, really anything. I just think the visual effects hold up really well, the story is beautiful. Spielberg the way he was an artist with every shot, every single one, and you still feel it to this day- the care he took with everything. So any chance that I get to kinda come back to the fans a little bit. If there’s one constant in my entire life, it is guys around my age telling me that they went and saw Jurassic Park 4, 5, 6, or 7 times in theatres and telling me how much they identified with me. They wanted to be me when they were growing up. Stuff like that warms my heart, knowing that I could be apart of something that was so special in people’s lives. To be able to do it for as many people as possible while we’re all at home, we’re all trying to deal with these strange and heartbreaking events together is a great escape for us. Its a way for us to come together and enjoy a great film and impart my insight about it and great memories, and I can wait to do it.
I’ve grown up with Jurassic Park, I’m too young to have seen the original in theaters, but I grew up with it on VHS and it was always a really big part of my life, especially with dinosaurs because ultimately it guided me to go to school for paleontology — though I eventually shifted over to film. But Jurassic Park has been kind of a constant in my life, so outside of Jurassic Park, do you have a continued relationship with dinosaurs, going to the museum or anything along those lines?
JM: Well it’s funny, I have a five year old nephew now who is of course obsessed with dinosaurs. So I’ve been waiting for all this to be over so I can take him to the Natural History Museum in New York and kind of spur his excitement about this thing that was such a big part of my childhood. I think that I’m reliving a lot of it because of him, it’s probably close association with dinosaurs themselves. Jurassic Park of course I live everyday, but dinosaurs, it’s fun to see how excited kids can get about them.
Outside of the Jurassic Park films, do you have a favorite dinosaur that you like that wasn’t a part of the films?
JM: Oh man, that’s tricky looking at Jurassic Park ,and with all the sequels, you see a much bigger variety than you see in the first film. Even like the ‘pterodactyls’… When you saw them in some of the sequels, like in Jurassic World, I thought that was pretty awesome.
So have you kept up with the sequels then?
JM: I have yeah, absolutely! I usually don’t go see them in theaters and then once they kinda…you know I get recognized a lot from the original film. So I try to see them a little more in private now. But yeah, I watched them.
So here’s a question, and its probably a bit of an oddball one but it might the type of thing you would get from a jurassic park fan site. Over the years, Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World, had a very long development with many different stories. Was there ever a time that you were potentially going to be involved with Jurassic Park 3 or Jurassic Park 4.
JM: You know, I don’t know if I was. It was probably something that was discussed internally. No one at the time reached out to me about those two films in particular. Obviously, The Lost World, Steven called right away and kinda have me and Arianna come in there, and advance the ball and kind of away we go with the film. And even that was so much fun. But no, in terms of Jurassic World, but if they did, I wasn’t privy to it.
Do you think Tim would have visited Jurassic World when it opened? Do you think that’s something his character would like to do?
JM: My goodness, its funny because I feel there’s still so much character and you could go so many different ways with it. You could go the way it was a traumatizing event and his love for dinosaurs kind of faded – or became a fear instead of a love. Or you could do that it was something more, and he’s a average kid and being the grandson of John Hammond and being the heir to these things that he might want to get involved. But being at the park as a spectator, we could go either way with that, but either way it would be interesting.
It would be interesting to see his character’s perspective. Its funny, there was a comic book series released called Jurassic Park Redemption that featured an adult Tim and he kind of started his own little park, and his rules were no carnivore’s this time and lets do it right, and of course the scientists didn’t listen and things went astray. It would be one of those things that fans have wanted to see where Tim’s role would go. Tim and Lex have a legacy with Hammond and they probably still fit into the puzzle somewhere.
JM: I hope one day that’s something that gets answered. There is so much you can do with these characters and its such a phenomenal franchise that has grown and now been beloved across generations. It’s still a character that is near and dear to my heart and there is so much you can do with him going forward.
Now with Jurassic Park, I’m sure you get asked this a lot, what’s your favorite filming story.
JM: The one that stood out to me, there’s obviously a couple, the Hurricane Inniki, which at the time was the biggest hurricane to hit the US. The fact that was going to be happening, and on the last day of shooting [before halting for the hurricane] we wake up in the morning and they say we’re going to evacuate — but then Steven comes in and says ‘no, we’re going to hangout here, let it pass over us’. We ended up having the entire crew in the ballroom together like it was camp, and the craft services and caterers had a bunch of food for us, they brought in all the lawn chairs from the pool and we all just hung out as this hurricane was coming in. And Steven, because he was so passionate about what he does, and he’s such a perfectionist and has a love for film, his emotion behind this was “I’ve got to go out there and film this thing as it’s approaching, and maybe use it for the movie”. I guess having that kind of personality at the helm, it made me love acting and potentially directing which I ended up doing, only grew. It was something I found so inspiring. It was such a wild and crazy time thinking about how my mom and brother and sister were at home – there were no cell phones and all the phone lines were down so they didn’t know what happened to us. Such a wild time in our lives.
Onset though, a story I tell a bunch that I’m sure you guys know, but on my birthday, we were doing the kitchen scene and I’m supposed to be running to the freezer. I’ve got my limp going and I’m running to the freezer, and the Raptor is supposed to take a right and I’m supposed to take a left. Well the raptor was on wheels and being pushed since it was such a fast shot. The guys lost control of it and it ended up going left with me, and I turned around and its claw hit me in the head. I got knocked down on the floor! Steven came running over to see if I was okay. I was a little bit dizzy but I was alright. And Steven said “well this is as good a time as any, ready everybody?” and he starts singing happy birthday! I had Happy birthday sung to me by the entire crew of Jurassic Park, which was such a wild thing. And after that Steven actually asked me if we could film a little bit more, but at that point I was a little bit out of it. So he said “okay I think we got it, we got it”.
That’s a testament to working with practical animatronic dinosaurs I suppose – they really do make it real, on and off screen.
JM: Absolutely. It was funny too because it sort of played out the way it does in the movie where you’re waiting to see the dinosaurs and don’t really see them. Because first we started shooting in Hawaii, the first things we did mostly were CGI stuff. So it was like the Gallimimus around us that were not there. Then the T. rex coming out and eating one of them, that was just someone holding a big piece of wood that was like two stories high with a Tyrannosaur head made of cardboard on top of it, and guys moving it up and down. And then when we ultimately got to LA and started shooting in the studios we started working with dinosaurs every single day, and at last the Trex. It became so unbelievable how massive these machines were, and Steven would sometimes call me out of school on set, and show me them because he knew I was so interested and he’s got that childhood imagination and still has it. So he always wanted to show me these incredible dinosaurs they were building. Every day on set was wonderful. They were the best days possible, and even the worst day was still better than bad days I had on any other set.
It seems like for everyone involved in the movie, the production was something special and the movie itself with the visual effects, with what Stan Winston Studios did with the animatronics, what ILM did with the CG animals, what really is revolutionary on so many fronts, I think on top of the wonderful story, the great directing, the great acting, its one of the many reason it has held up and is so near and dear to so many people’s hearts.
JM: I agree. Like I said, after Jurassic Park because the CGI was so brilliant, movies started leaning on CGI too much and that continues to this day where a lot of films look like cartoons. As good as CGI often is, you still know when you can actually reach out and touch something. There’s something to be said, even the puppeteering back in the day, even if they looked a little wonky, you still know it was there. I think that’s also what helps make the originals so iconic. And the other thing is, it’s really a small story if you think about it. Like what is the movie Jurassic Park really about? Yes it’s about dinosaurs, it’s about monsters, it’s about the chase, it’s about all of that. But it’s really about very few people stuck in a small place, and this guy who doesn’t want to have children who is forced to take care of two of them in a dire situation, and learns to love them. That at its core is so Spielberg. It’s a story about a father, a family, a member that pushes against it but ultimately finding that redemption, and finding that love. I just think that when a story can play out on the small personal level, and play out on a grand scale, when those things come together you can tell it’s a classic and that’s what Jurassic Park is.
We talk about it a lot, the sense of intimacy across the board in the original Jurassic Park is what makes it so relatable on a character level, makes the story so engaging, which ultimately makes the action so believable. There’s a certain tactile sense to it that makes the story really resonate, and the things that play out visually really anchor to reality. Like you said with CG, one of the things about shooting practical is that practical has limitations and imperfections like the real world has limitations and imperfections.
And sometimes I see CG, beautiful and incredible work, but it almost starts to break the sense of believability when everything is so beautiful, so incredible. The sunsets are so perfect, the mountain range so ideally placed that, while it looks photoreal but you as an audience member know its not real, and the illusion breaks. It’s interesting how Jurassic Park, being out there on location as much, embracing these ‘limitations’ made it feel all the more genuine.
JM: Right and thats not to say that brilliant, brilliant films haven’t been made using CGI almost completely but I think that there’s still that feeling you want to have something tangible there to hold onto as the audience. Something that you know is there, something that is real that you get invested in. Because when the more you can make people feel actual danger, the more invested you’re going to get, the more you are going to feel the plight of those characters.
Absolutely. You talked about the Raptor in the kitchen and how it hit you but what do you think has happened to that Raptor that got locked in the freezer. Where do you think that Raptor is today?
JM: Well it probably ate a lot of frozen meatballs. So it did okay, for a little while anyway. But who knows, maybe one day there will be a sequel in the works about the frozen raptor.
The frozen raptor being thawed out. On its revenge spree.
JM: Exactly. I think it’s perfect. Who knows what sub-zero temperatures do to dinosaurs. We’re about to find out!
Exactly, but we’ll probably have to wait for Jurassic Park 27 on the moon. Jurassic Moon.
Ok, so I imagine you’ve been asked this before, but when you’re in the Ford Explorer tour vehicle in Jurassic Park, the T. rex pushes its head down through the viewing dome — I guess when the window is on top of you and Arrianna Richards, a part of the window had broken off? Which was not supposed to happen.
JM: That’s correct.
Was that a scarier moment when that happened?
JM: You know, in real life, these are really heavy machines that are being handled by people in a remote way. And so there was inherent danger just even if they were big blocks, the fact that they were being controlled and brought towards you. And it was supposed to hit the plexiglass, it was supposed to come down. But it was not supposed to come down with that kind of force that it would actually come down that far, and actually break the plexiglass in half. Actually, you can see it in the movie that there’s a quick shot of the Trex with a missing tooth in that moment because the tooth fell out when it hit the glass, and they tried for like half an hour to get it back in and it wasn’t sticking, so we just said screw it we’ll just do it without it. So that’s a good little thing to watch out for, not an Easter egg. But it’s something funny to watch out for if you can pause it.
Another question a lot of people had, are there any notable deleted scenes that your character was involved in?
JM: Oh boy, I don’t think that’s a question I’ve ever been asked. I don’t think there was anything that I was in, a scene, that was cut. I’m sure in the original script there were things that were cut or moved around. There were certain shots I remember that were cut out. There was one in particular where when the self driving vehicles were on the track, we were supposed to go over this land bridge – a real land bridge in Hawaii – that had no guards on either side of it, they were supposed to have us go over it but we were like “no way”. So they have some doubles in the car of us, and have it go over the bridge for us. But that was something that was cut, I’m not sure why. They were little shots like that, but I can’t think of any scene in particular.
I believe one of the scenes people were questioning was I think in the children’s novelization, it talks about a scene where Grant starts talking about the Tyrannosaurus after the attack, while Lex and Tim are in the storm drain, but he realizes they are too traumatized to continue the conversation. So a lot of people wondered if that was filmed, or was that just part of the novelization from the script.
JM: That was not something that I remember filming. I can say with 99.9% certainty that we did not film it.
Okay! Another question we got was what was the hair and makeup process for making your electrocuted look.
JM: Ha! I can’t totally remember but it was my hair. Boy I wish I could remember. Monty Hall, I think he did the make up. But I can’t totally remember but it didn’t take any longer than usual. Pretty much a lot of hairspray to make it stand up. Actually Spielberg always had an issue with me coming to the set, my hair was always too neat in his opinion. And so whenever I would come on set, and no matter what, he would come over to me and rub his fingers through my hair, and just jostle it around a little just to make sure it was always messy. But I can’t quite remember the process but if I could I would do it again. For the IGN Watch From Home.
Are there any small details that Jurassic “superfans” would appreciate or know or what to know from your experiences?
JM: I think the answer to that question has to be join us tonight, because when I watch the movie is when all these things really come rushing back to me. I’m gonna try my best to really try and dig into the depths of my brain to remember every little moment.
Do you keep up with the Jurassic Park community to a degree just to see what people are talking about or are interested in over the years?
JM: I will say they definitely keep up with me. I get great messages all the time from Jurassic Park fans, and I’ve had a lot of great conversations around the world with people who love the film so it keeps me up to date just having people who enjoy these films so much. It makes me feel a part of the family which is a wonderful thing because it’s such a wonderful franchise to be part of, they’re making great movies and my hope is we keep seeing Jurassic Park a long way into the future.
We wanted to end this with a huge thank you to Joe for taking the time to do this interview with us, and chat all things Jurassic. You can follow him on his Twitter here, and Instagram here. We hope to see you tonight during the Watch from Home stream!
Since their release in 2018 alongside Fallen Kingdom, Mattel’s Jurassic World line have taken over the toy aisle, and captured the attention of fans and collectors alike. Recently, we spoke to Kristen Sanzari – one of the designers on the Jurassic World toy line – about her work, and how she came to design dinosaurs for this continuously evolving range of action figures.
Kristen provided numerous design sheet images, that document part of the process that designing these toys undergo. In the images you can see reference photos, design change notes, and how things like action features are created.
Read on to learn about Kristen’s work directly from her, and of course, check out the images!
“I have been designing Jurassic World toys at Mattel for almost 3 years now, and people often ask how I got into toy design. So, I will give you a little background. I grew up with a love of drawing animals and my favorite animation characters. I loved my toys and loved animation. When it came time to go to college, I went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I studied graphic design and ran on the track team. I loved graphic design but knew I still wanted to study animation, so after graduating from Cal Poly, I moved to San Francisco, where I attended the Academy of Art University to get my master’s in visual development for animation.
After graduating, I got a job as a graphic designer/illustrator at a toy and publishing company called Artistic Studios (now Bendon Publishing). I worked on licensed craft sets and toys and loved it, but I was still mostly doing graphic design and package design, with only a little bit of illustration here and there. Wanting to do more concept art, I began applying to jobs at animation studios and toy companies in LA. I interviewed with Mattel for the Jurassic World product design position with a portfolio full of concept art for animation. Although similar in a lot of ways, I had no toy designs to show. So, after the interview I drew up some toy concepts focused on Jurassic, and luckily my now boss had faith I could design toys and I got the job.
Was I a dinosaur expert or a Jurassic park fanatic prior to getting the job? No, but I liked dinosaurs, I had seen some of the movies, and most of all I loved drawing and learning about animals. So, I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park franchise when I began working on the brand. I watched all the movies a bunch of times, took several paleontology courses online, listened to the Jurassic Outpost Podcast, bought and read multiple dinosaur books and made it a point to learn about and know every dinosaur we designed.
When designing our toys, we begin by brainstorming about what we want that toy to do. Is it a T. Rex that roars and has a massive chomp? Or is it a Pachycephalosaurus that rams its head? There are usually so many great and crazy ideas that come up in brainstorms, but we always do our best to make sure the function of our toys are realistic, on brand, and accentuate what the dinosaur would have done in real life. Something we also focus on is our scale, we do our best to make all our dinosaurs in scale to a 3¾” human action figure, which really allows you to imagine how massive some of these dinosaurs were in real life.
As you can see from many of these design sheets, we start off with an initial drawing of the dinosaur concept and what the feature will be. Sometimes these are based on assets from Universal, for dinosaurs from the films, and sometimes we are able to create the dinosaur designs ourselves. We spend a lot of time creating the patterns and textures, picking the colors of the dinos, and making sure they fit into the look and feel of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World. In the Carnotaurus example you can see that the drawing and the original sculpt are different from the final sculpt and product. This is because we often know what dinosaurs are going to be in the film before knowing exactly what the dinosaurs are going to look like in the film. The toy production timeline is longer than the time it takes to make a film and so often we need to begin our design process before we have all the information. We frequently have to figure out the feature of the toy prior to knowing exactly what the dinosaur will look like, and we just have to be nimble and adjust our designs to fit the look of the movie as soon as we do get the actual assets. Our partners at Universal always do their best to get us the assets and information we need as soon as they can.
Once we have a sculpt we are happy with, and the mechanism is figured out, we can make our first model. The first model is never perfect, but we use it to see if we need to change anything about the sculpt and details, the mechanism function, the articulation, and the color choices. We then take notes on any revisions and make adjustments to improve this model. After all the changes have been accounted for we make a new and improved model. During the entire process there are multiple check points with Universal to make sure they approve the look and function of the dinosaurs.
When the final model is approved we move on to make a “first shot,” which is the first run of the product in plastic. First shots are made in the factories with any leftover or extra plastic they have, so they usually are really crazy colors. For example, we could get a raptor first shot with a pink body, black left leg, blue right leg, green head, and neon yellow arms. We make comments on the first shot and make sure the toy can stand and that the detents and articulations function properly. Next we get our first painted plastic toy sample. At this point the toy is almost complete, but we make sure the plastic and paint colors match, we make sure the mechanism and any electronic features are functioning the way they should, and make sure all the packaging information is aligned with the product. After all these comments are captured we pass them along to make sure our final product is the best it can be. Then, finally we receive the final product!
As a whole the toy design process takes an entire team and I have to say that team Jurassic is made up of some of the most passionate and hard-working people I know. Our design team couldn’t make the toys we do without the enormous help of our awesome marketing team, packaging team, and engineering team. It is truly a team effort and an awesome brand to be a part of.”
Thanks so much to Kristen for taking the time out to speak with us, and to share many of these images! For more from Kristen, you can check out her website here and her Instagram here. With the 2020 Primal Attack line coming soon (which the Sarcosuchus belongs to) , there will surely be more toys to learn about in the future!
What toy do you like the most from Mattel’s line, and what would you like to see more of? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost!