Jurassic World, the hotly anticipated sequel to Jurassic Park, one of the most successful and beloved blockbusters of all time, is almost upon us. Will it live up to 22 years of anticipation? Will it manage to eclipse The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, even though it’s not a direct sequel to either of them only time will tell, but for now, co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow took the time to answer a few questions about the movie. Check out his stance on animatronics, his feelings on the franchise as a whole, and his favorite dinosaur below!
DG: How does it feel transitioning from a smaller scale picture like Safety Not Guaranteed to being given the keys to a gigantic summer tentpole blockbuster?
CT: When it started, it was just another Jurassic Park movie, and the ambitions for what it could be and how big it could be started getting higher and higher along with my own ambitions, which were high to begin with. When you’re given an opportunity like that, if you had handed it to someone who had made a whole bunch of blockbuster hits in the past, it would’ve just been another day for them; but for me I was hungry, and they threw me a steak and I just tore it up.
DG: One of the first images in the film is an extreme close-up of a taloned foot, later revealed to be from a bird. What did that shot symbolize? I have ideas.
CT: I’m not sure if it’s meta. We felt as though we were presenting what looked like a dinosaur foot, but turned out to be a bird foot; and we all know that birds evolved from dinosaurs and that’s why their feet are similar. It was a simple visual nod to the scientific lesson of the first movie, which seems like old news to us now. I’m actually curious about what you thought it meant.
DG: When Jurassic World was first announced, a lot of fans and critics were concerned that the dinos didn’t look more like birds than they do like reptiles, and I was under the impression that it might’ve been a gentle prodding at advocates for scientifically accurate dinosaurs
CT: That was one of the very first things I wrote in the very first draft we did; I just thought it was a cool transition. If anything, the only place where there’s a bit of a nod to those guys, and I don’t even wanna say “those guys” because I’m one of them, but there is a moment late in the film when we go to [Dr. Wu’s] lab, and one of the genetically modified creatures we see is a lizard with feathers on it.
DG: Where did the idea of making Jurassic World a direct sequel to Park rather than a continuation from Lost World and JPIII come from?
CT: It’s not *really* what we’re saying; that’s actually been the interpretation of people who wrote articles about it; we’re just continuing the story that was told in Jurassic Park. That was a story about a beta test for a theme park that failed, and this is a movie about that theme park fully realized. Lost World and Jurassic Park III happened on a different island and, at large, wasn’t really about a theme park and was about more of a natural connection that we made. We do make references to both movies in World, and it certainly isn’t a slight toward the quality of those two movies or how they were received by the audience (laughs). It was just the story that felt most organic to us.
DG: What was it like working with a cast as renowned as Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, etc.?
CT: It’s funny because Chris Pratt wasn’t a big name when we were working with him, and Bryce [Dallas Howard] is obviously very well-known and has been a great character actor that hadn’t actually been in a movie in four years; Vincent D’Onofrio had been on TV for years and hadn’t been in a movie in a long time and B.D. Wong has been a consistently working character actor as well. In a lot of ways, these were a lot of people who hadn’t been seen in a little bit and that’s what I loved about all of them; that they were able to be these characters. The most famous person in the movie is Omar Sy. Well, not anymore (laughs), but when I cast him, he was a colossal star, especially in Europe. That was something I wanted to make sure I did; bringing in people who were popular in all different areas of the world because this is a global film and Jurassic Park doesn’t belong to just America.
DG: Very much so. I love the fact that directors like yourself are moving toward globalism when it comes to blockbusters; there are so many blockbusters out right now like Pacific Rim and Avengers: Age Of Ultron that are globally oriented and I love that approach.
CT: And I don’t think it’s being one cynically, either. Obviously there’s a lot of money to be made overseas, but on our end I wanted [World] to be a movie that people all over the world could say “Hey! I know someone like that! I can relate to that person! That person looks like me!” That’s such a valuable thing in films because it’s difficult for people not just around the world, but even in America for people to relate to films that don’t have anyone in the movie that feels like they represent something in their lives.
DG: Most of the dinos in World seem to be computer-generated. Considering that one of the hallmarks of the original film was the animatronics that brought the dinos to life, was that something that was on your mind during production?
CT: It was a choice, but initially we weren’t going to use any animatronics at all, but I pushed really hard to make sure that we have the ones that we do, and even in scenes like the one with the apatosaurus was done with animatronics, and so was the scene with Omar Sy and Vince [D’Onofrio] talking with the raptors in the squeeze cages. Those were really there, those were things they could really touch and interact with. It makes a huge difference in the audience’s ability to connect with the animals and the actors’ ability to emote across with these creatures. But beyond scenes like that, animatronics in these earlier films had limitations, usually to just the head and the neck and the feet, and because of that limitation, you see a lot of scenes where we show off dinosaur heads and necks can do. I needed them to move and to run and to do a lot of intense action sequences, and I feel like CG has a negative connotation now, but I’d just like to point out that we had many of the best animators in the word on this movie and they’re all craftsmen and women; there were lots of moments where I challenge people to tell me what’s animatronic and what’s not, and the accomplishments we have are extraordinary in their own right.
DG: What’s your favorite dinosaur?
CT: I like two of them; I like the ankylosaurus, which has a great scene in this movie; it’s the one with a hard shell and tail and a soft underbelly, and I can connect with that as a person for some reason. There’s another one called the microsaurus, which isn’t in the movie, but it has a triceratops’ head on a compy’s body; it’s about the size of a bat and would make a great pet to have around the house.