Jurassic World Extended Synopsis & Production Notes Released
JURASSIC WORLD TRAILER
Universal released detail information about Jurassic World in the form of production notes which includes a detailed and extended plot synopsis, information on the locations and cast, comments from Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and more.
(Warning: Spoilers follow)
Can you imagine what a dinosaur looks like, moves like or sounds like without thinking of Jurassic Park?
It isn’t just a movie. It’s a memory shared by all of us.
It defined the colossal summer blockbuster, a moviegoing event of a lifetime that provided us some of the most lasting, iconic sights and sounds of cinema.
It gave you the feeling that the first day of summer had arrived.
It pioneered advancements in visual effects that made you believe dinosaurs roamed the Earth again.
Mixing plausible science with breathtaking imagination, it told a cautionary tale about what could result from messing with the natural order.
It left your eyes wide, your jaw open and your heart racing.
Jurassic Park answered the question of how much story, how much fun and how much spectacle could fit into one perfect summer motion picture.
Now, the story of STEVEN SPIELBERG’s original comes full circle as the park that was only a promise comes to life.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
Twenty-two years ago, Dr. John Hammond had a dream: a theme park where visitors from all over the world could experience the thrill and awe of witnessing actual dinosaurs.
Now, his dream has finally become a reality.
Welcome to Jurassic World, a fully operational luxury resort where tens of thousands of guests explore the wonder and brilliance of Earth’s most magnificent living prehistoric marvels and interact up close with them every day.
Situated on an island off the coast of Costa Rica and constructed around a bustling Main Street, Jurassic World is a state-of-the-art wonder full of astonishing attractions.
Kids ride gentle mini Triceratops in the petting zoo, crowds cheer as the aquatic Mosasaurus leaps from a performance pool to snatch a great white shark dangled as a snack, and families gaze with fascination as dinosaurs of every shape and size roam again, all displayed and safely contained for the guests’ amusement.
Overseeing every corner of Jurassic World is driven careerist Claire (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD of The Help), who finds herself unexpectedly saddled with the arrival of her nephews, Zach, 16 (NICK ROBINSON of TV’s Melissa & Joey), and Gray, 11 (TY SIMPKINS of Insidious series). Although they’ve been shipped off by their mom, Karen (JUDY GREER of Ant-Man), to spend a few days at Jurassic World, Claire has no time for the distraction of two visiting kids and loads them down with passes, sending them off to explore the park.
The park’s miraculous animals are created by Dr. Henry Wu (BD WONG of Jurassic Park), a geneticist who once worked for InGen, the company behind Hammond’s first park, and now for the larger-than-life billionaire benefactor of Jurassic World, Simon Masrani (IRRFAN KHAN of Life of Pi). Because the commercial prosperity of the park demands new innovations every year to keep guests returning, Dr. Wu is pushed beyond the bounds of ethical science, manipulating genetics to engineer a genetically modified dinosaur that never walked the Earth before, and whose abilities remain undiscovered.
The most secretive new breed developed by Dr. Wu and yet to be debuted in the park is the massive and mysterious Indominus rex. Raised in isolation after devouring its only sibling, the Indominus rex, whose genetic makeup has been classified, is reaching maturity. To help assess the creature and the security of its containment, Claire visits Owen (CHRIS PRATT of Guardians of the Galaxy), an ex-military expert in animal behavior working at a secluded research base on the periphery of the main park. Owen is years into a training study with a pack of aggressive Velociraptors, over whom he’s established an alpha relationship that balances the animals precariously between reluctant obedience and predatory revolt.
When the Indominus rex—whose capacities for savagery and intelligence are unknown—stages an escape and disappears within the depths of the jungle, every creature in Jurassic World, both dinosaur and human, is threatened. For Claire, the lives that matter most are those of her nephews, who have ventured off course in a gyrosphere vehicle that allows 360-degree visibility of the world all around them. Now, Owen and Claire join the hunt for the boys as order inside the park turns to mayhem and guests turn into prey. Dinosaurs escape into the open, the skies and the water to engage in an all-out war for survival, and no corner within the world’s greatest theme park is safe anymore. Joining Jurassic World’s director, COLIN TREVORROW (Safety Not Guaranteed)—who was handpicked by Spielberg to take the Jurassic mantle—in this vast undertaking is a phenomenal behind-the-scenes team. The crew is led by director of photography JOHN SCHWARTZMAN (Seabiscuit, The Amazing Spider-Man), production designer EDWARD VERREAUX (X-Men: The Last Stand, Monster House), editor KEVIN STITT (X-Men, Cloverfield), costume designer DANIEL ORLANDI (The Da Vinci Code, Saving Mr. Banks) and Academy Award®-winning composer MICHAEL GIACCHINO (Star Trek Into Darkness, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).
The epic action-adventure is produced by five-time Oscar® nominee FRANK MARSHALL (the Back to the Future trilogy, the Indiana Jones and Bourne franchises), PATRICK CROWLEY (the Bourne series, Eight Below), and it is based on characters created by MICHAEL CRICHTON (Jurassic Park series, television’s ER). Jurassic World’s story is by RICK JAFFA & AMANDA SILVER (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and its screenplay is by Jaffa & Silver and DEREK CONNOLLY (Safety Not Guaranteed) & Trevorrow.
The film’s executive producers are Spielberg and THOMAS TULL (Godzilla, upcoming Warcraft).
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
From Dream to Reality:
Jurassic World Is Born
A narrative successor to three-time Oscar® winner Steven Spielberg’s beloved original classic Jurassic Park, Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the fateful events on Isla Nublar. Jurassic World is the world’s first truly international theme park, one that seamlessly combines the wonders of science and history with the creature comforts and luxury that international travelers have come to expect. And it all began with an idea from the brilliant mind of Dr. Michael Crichton.
Originally released in 1993, Spielberg’s Jurassic Park provided moviegoers with a film that connected with global audiences of all ages and has since become an indelible part of their cultural collective memory. Based on Crichton’s blend of science fiction and boundless imagination, the film left audiences breathless and asking the question: “Could this actually happen?”
Spielberg explains that it was never his or his fellow filmmakers’ intention to revolutionalize moviemaking. They simply wanted to do justice to Crichton’s phenomenal tale. The director says: “It’s not up to me to decide what a benchmark is. I just keep trying to tell stories. It’s up to other people to figure out whether your stories are successfully told or not, but I know that technologically it was a benchmark for the entire industry. Here were characters that were digitally created on a computer that looked completely authentic in any form of lighting or even atmospheric condition. We even had the digital T. rex in rain.”
After the subsequent films in the series—1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park and 2001’s Jurassic Park III—Spielberg admits he simply became busy with a multitude of other projects. Fortunately for fans of the beloved series, ideas for this world were simply dormant, not forgotten. Spielberg shares: “A lot of people that I bump into whom I’d never met before would remind me by simply asking, ‘When is the next Jurassic Park coming out?’ That accumulated after a while, and I started to put some thought into it.”
The encouragement of many fans began to spark ideas in Spielberg, and he started to take meetings with storytellers he respected to figure out how a park conceptualized more than two decades ago would finally come to life. He shares what this project means: “Jurassic World is almost like seeing Jurassic Park come true. We wanted to fulfill this dream in Jurassic World: to have a truly working theme park that is devoted to this miracle of creating dinosaurs from DNA. This is the realization of Michael Crichton’s dream, which then transferred to John Hammond’s dream. This, hopefully, becomes the dream that the audiences have always wanted to see.”
On board to produce the next installment was frequent Spielberg collaborator Frank Marshall, whose more than 70 credits include some of the most successful and enduring films of all time—from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to the Back to the Future trilogy and The Color Purple to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Marshall was thrilled with the notion of venturing back through Isla Nublar’s legendary gates. He reflects: “Jurassic Park is an iconic film and people continue to love dinosaurs, so it was an exciting idea to make another one. It’s taken this long for the right idea to materialize, and Steven’s idea of having the fully realized theme park was the anchor and key to this story. It will have all been worth the wait.” Brought on to help shepherd the epic film was seasoned producer Patrick
Crowley, who has partnered with Marshall since the first film in the Bourne series. Similarly, the veteran producer sensed a readiness to revisit Jurassic Park by those who missed the classic Amblin style of filmmaking. “I don’t think audiences would have the chance to appreciate what had been done in the first and subsequent films had a next installment come out in, say, 2005,” reflects Crowley. “In the interim, a new generation of moviegoers has established this fascination and obsession with movies from the time when the first film was released. In that absence, a whole new crop of filmmakers has emerged who are truly intrigued and passionate about this kind of cinema.” While countless directors were interested in relaunching one of the most successful and popular franchises in movie history, Spielberg, Marshall and Crowley searched for some time for a creative talent who could honor the spirit and legacy of the franchise and propel it forward creatively.
They found their successor in newcomer Colin Trevorrow. A pioneer of the online short film, Trevorrow’s first feature, 2012’s critically lauded Safety Not Guaranteed, was nominated for multiple awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and won an Independent Spirit Award. His work caught the eye of Spielberg and Marshall, who felt his fresh and decisive perspective—rooted in character but delivering in speculative thematics—made him worthy of carrying the torch.
The longtime filmmaking partners felt confident that Trevorrow could deliver the magic, thrills and wonder that moviegoers expect from a Jurassic movie and simultaneously infuse it with fresh perspective in the ongoing narrative. Spielberg explains his decision: “I had seen Safety Not Guaranteed and the very last scene was what convinced me that Colin was the right person to direct Jurassic World. I flew out of my seat when I saw the last scene of that movie. Frank showed me the film, and that’s when I knew that if Colin was good in the meeting, he was going to get the job. He was completely enthusiastic, both as a filmmaker and as a fan, but also had a story to tell. He didn’t just come in and say, ‘I’d like to render my services directing the fourth installment.’”
“When we were looking for a director, it was of huge importance to Steven to find a great storyteller and we found that in Colin,” continues Marshall. “What we also discovered was that Colin was deeply steeped in Jurassic Park and would bring that sense of childlike wonder to the film.”
Having come of age in an age-group that grew up watching Amblin films, Trevorrow acknowledges that his perspective as a director is undeniably influenced by Spielberg: “A part of what drives me is the notion that I’m representing a generation of people who grew up on Steven’s films and want to see these types of stories continue to be told.”
In that spirit, Trevorrow’s objective was to deliver the perfect balance of wideeyed wonder and seat-gripping thrills that moviegoers expect from a Jurassic film, while introducing new characters and a story line full of ideas worthy of another chapter. “We know we don’t want another film of people just running from dinosaurs and screaming; that’s been done before and done very well,” he says. “I felt that what the audience wants, and I know what Steven wants, is to take this brilliant core concept and see where else we can go with it—to expand and open it up, while taking audiences back to a familiar place.”
Any skepticism regarding the young director’s ability to handle a film of this magnitude was quickly put at ease, reassures Crowley. “When I first looked at Colin’s production résumé, there wasn’t anything that was even close in scale and scope to what we were attempting,” he offers. “Still, from the beginning he exhibited real characteristics of leadership and had that inherent decisiveness required. His comments and observations were wise, certainly far beyond his experience and years, and it was clear early on that he had what it takes.”
Trevorrow and his writing partner, Derek Connolly, aimed to deliver a strong sense of character, scope and intrigue, while answering the most important questions for audiences. Reveals the director: “The questions for us were, ‘Why would there be another installment? What’s a story that we can tell and characters that we can introduce that make all of this worthwhile?’”
Connolly continues that they were very cognizant of the difficult narrative journey ahead: “The magic of Jurassic Park was in the tone of the characters and the bouts of humor, horror and science. We wanted to infuse those threads and that tone into the script.”
As writing partners, Trevorrow and Connolly’s perspectives complement each other, and their sensibilities worked perfectly to create the unique tone and pitch essential for the long-awaited next chapter in the Jurassic series. “The combination of my sense of humor and Colin’s strong sense of story helped shape our shared overall goal for the movie,” explains Connolly. “We were able to create a unique tone that, on our own, we might not possess but one that works when we come together.”
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema was not lost on Trevorrow. “For me, I can’t even pretend that I’m not a student throughout this process,” he gives. “I know that I can make a film that is going to honor what Steven did, but I know I’m essentially getting a free master class in both filmmaking and in Jurassic Park.”
The director acknowledges that he found a kindred spirit in Spielberg: “Steven and I both have a lot of enthusiasm for what we’re working on, and to have two people of different generations geeking out on the same stuff has been a thrill for me. The moments where we’re actually able to create together and build new ideas, these are the things that I couldn’t have anticipated when I was younger. As a creative person, that is something that can’t be matched.”
Trevorrow’s hope for Jurassic World is a simple one: to re-create the magic that will harken audiences back to how he felt the first time he saw the movie. “I have a very specific memory of Jurassic Park coming out on the last day of school, and there’s a feeling that goes along with that,” he shares. “When everything is behind you, everything is ahead of you and you have that moment of being alone in a movie theater and being transported to where Jurassic Park takes you.”
Strength of Character:
Casting Jurassic World
For all of the wonder of the Jurassic movies, the characters have provided personality to a story where science has made it possible for dinosaurs to walk the Earth again. Beyond the wide-eyed thrills, we are introduced to multidimensional characters with whom we share an emotional connection. Offers Crowley: “An important aspect of all of the Jurassic films is the strength of the characters. They are essentially what drives the storytelling.”
In this spirit, Trevorrow sought the ideal troupe of actors to bring these characters to life. “Considering all the things a movie like this needs to do, to be able to find people who truly embody these characters and make us love them and feel like we know them was so important,” explains Trevorrow. “When you’re dealing with dinosaurs running around and eating people, it’s really important that you care about these people.”
The hero of our story is a man who is as quick in repartee as he is in decisive action: Owen is a military veteran who respects the precarious place of humans in the natural order and now works at a behavioral facility on the outskirts of Jurassic World. He operates outside the system but needs its backing to fund his raptor research, which places him in the uncomfortable position of working for the establishment while rebelling against it.
While Owen’s first date with Claire was actually their last, he still spars with her at every opportunity, relishing the moment when she needs his help in Jurassic World.
And Claire’s never needed it more than when a crisis erupts that she can’t solve with her immediate team. Drawn into unexpected service from his outlying facility, it’s up to Owen to step up before all hell breaks loose. He is the consummate adventurer—a classic hero in the rough—one who lives by his own wits, ingenuity and raw instinct.
For the role, the filmmakers found their hero in comedic actor-turned-action star Chris Pratt, last seen as Star-Lord in the juggernaut Guardians of the Galaxy. Spielberg recounts his casting, dryly noting: “Safety wasn’t guaranteed in those days using Chris Pratt because he was on a very successful television series. Even though I thought he had the chops for this and Colin believed in him, it was a bit of a risk. Of course, when Guardians of the Galaxy came out, we all thought we were really smart even though we didn’t make it.” The filmmaker was impressed by Pratt’s on-screen test: “Chris is a wonderful actor and has a strong screen presence. He has a tremendous sense of humor and he’s a team player. He’s going to go all the way with his career.”
“Owen is strong, self-sufficient, adventurous and very capable, and audiences want to see a guy like that,” adds Crowley. “I didn’t know much more about Chris than what I had seen on television, and to see him emerge as this strong figure has been incredibly impressive. As he became Owen, we all looked at each other and knew he was that hero.”
A huge fan of Jurassic Park, Pratt, much like his director, vividly remembers seeing the original film in 1993 in his small-town theater. “I was 14 years old and was right at that age where I was impressionable. It blew my mind,” the performer notes.
“The science and imagination came together in this way that was full of suspense, beautiful imagery and great storytelling. It was like cinema was reinvented right in front of me, and it was then that I discovered how cool movies could be. I had complete Jurassic-mania and saw it twice that weekend. After that, I spent the next six months of my life running from imaginary dinosaurs.”
Pratt was drawn to Owen’s strength, character and decisiveness, and admits that he had to exercise restraint to quell his own comedic instincts during filming. “Owen is stoic, quick to act and without a single bit of goofiness, which for me is hard,” he says. “My natural instinct is to be a goofball, and it’s something I had to remind myself to quiet before every take.”
Still, right from the start, the gravitas of the project sunk in for Pratt. “The shoot began on an air base where airplanes took off during World War II,” he explains. “Bryce and I were both in our jungle-worn wardrobe with dirt on our faces, shooting on 65 mm, and you could hear the cameras rolling. We’re stepping on our marks looking at each other, and we could have been on the set of Casablanca. That’s when it became real for me and felt like a very big deal.”
The Bryce of whom Pratt speaks is none other than acclaimed actor Bryce Dallas Howard, who has showcased her diverse talents in blockbusters from the Twilight series andSpider-Man 3 to more dramatic hits, including The Help and 50/50. She was brought aboard to portray Claire, the operations manager of Jurassic World, who strives to make every guest’s visit free of worry. When things run smoothly, it’s because of Claire; when they don’t, she’s held accountable. Deftly managing the needs of thousands of guests every day with a constant eye on the bottom line, it’s her job to make sure that the park remains exciting to sophisticated parkgoers who have seen it all.
Claire watches Jurassic World from the sanitized safety of a control booth, where she monitors all activity (human and dinosaur alike) from a safe distance. Indeed, she views the dinosaurs strictly as “assets” and has lost sight of the wonder and power they exhibit. It is only when things fall apart that Claire experiences the park from a completely different perspective: as the hunted.
Beyond the allure of being a part of the beloved franchise, the actress appreciated the caliber of storytelling and the strong character she was tasked to portray. Relays Howard: “It is fantastic that Colin created this multifaceted, three-dimensional female character who goes through this very emotional journey within the greater context of a giant, effects-driven dinosaur movie. At the end of the day, it’s a good story well-told.” When we first meet Claire, her personal life has taken a backseat to her responsibilities at the park and the pressures—not to mention the questionable ethical decisions—that come along with them. “Claire is responsible for the entire park and understands that at the end of the day everything needs to add up, and there are some difficult decisions and realities within that,” shares the performer. “Her journey becomes about finding her own humanity and her ability to be open and not fixated on making everything work in order to make a profit.”
Of his leading lady, Trevorrow commends: “Bryce is one of our best actors that we have. She created a woman who starts off just on the borderline of being unlikable. She takes you on the journey, and by the time you get to the end…the ending is hers. I’m so proud of what she does at the end of this movie. If you didn’t have an actor who could make you believe everything that was happening, it just wouldn’t work; it would all feel silly. Bryce is just extraordinary.”
When the park’s newly developed dinosaur begins exhibiting potentially threatening intelligence, well beyond expectations, Claire is forced to seek outside assistance and reluctantly pays a visit to behavioral specialist Owen, with whom she shares a bit of history.
The chemistry between these two seemingly opposite, headstrong characters is undeniable. Explains Pratt: “We know that something happened between these two on a date, and Owen enjoys poking fun at her because she’s wound so tight. There’s obviously an attraction between the two of them, and that fuels this conflict that’s constantly between them in these crazy circumstances.”
Howard responds to the romantic undertones and how they propelled the story line, something new to the world of the Jurassic franchise. “One of the many great things about this story is that, in the context of the chaos that has broken out in the park, they realize that they need each other and go on this journey to save her nephews, save the park and ultimately themselves,” the actress shares. “The romantic undercurrent feels very unique for a Jurassic film, and I appreciated that.”
Although both actors had a general idea of the physical demands their roles would require, nothing could prepare Howard for the ultimate challenge of running through the muddy jungle…in heels. “I’ll never forget the first day of shooting in the jungle as I stood there looking at the terrain, which was covered in mud, vines and stones. I looked down at my high heels and all I could do was pray,” she laughs. “But now, it’s something I can add to the special skills listed on my résumé: running in the jungle in heels.”
For his part, Pratt felt that his work experience in physical comedy prepared him for the stunt-heavy action sequences, supervised under the watchful eyes of stunt coordinator CHRIS O’HARA (The Avengers) and stunt rigging coordinator RANDY BECKMAN (Ted 2). “There was a lot of running, jumping, leaping, diving, rolling, punching…a lot of action-hero moments,” Pratt provides. “On Parks and Rec, I’m diving over counters, crashing into cars, falling down stairs on roller skates—so all that stuff comes easy to me.” He pauses, slyly: “I’m secretly a stuntman trapped in an actor’s body.”
In classic Spielberg fashion, audiences first experience the magic and wonder of Jurassic World from the perspective of a child. As the story begins, Claire is visited by her sister’s boys, Gray and Zach, who have been shipped away while their parents negotiate their impending divorce. Gray is an 11-year-old boy full of limitless curiosity and energy who is wide-eyed with excitement from the minute he boards the ferry for Isla Nublar. Anxious to explore every inch of Jurassic World and acutely perceptive of details in the world around him, he is awed by seeing dinosaurs that he’d only read about in books come to life. Gray is on the adventure of his young lifetime, and his natural inquisitiveness—and some pressure from his big bother—drive him to go beyond the boundaries of what his parents would ok.
“The great thing about the manner in which the story is told is that we enter Jurassic World through the eyes of Gray,” says Marshall. “That was a key element for Colin. He wanted us to see the wonder of the park first, and to see it through the eyes of our two young characters is the perfect introduction.”
For the role of Gray, filmmakers cast young actor Ty Simpkins, familiar to audiences from his work co-starring alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 and in director James Wan’s Insidious series. Although Simpkins was very young when first viewing Jurassic Park, the young performer recalls the lasting impression it made on him: “I was three when I first saw it, and although I don’t remember watching it for the first time, I remember that I became obsessed with dinosaurs. It has always been one of my favorite movies, and I still can’t believe I am a part of this. ”
Gray’s older brother, Zach, is as disaffected by the wonders of Jurassic World as his brother is in awe of them. Roaming the unbelievable attractions with his face cast down toward his smartphone, Zach slowly starts to admit that the park is actually pretty cool. Although Zach and Gray have a chaperone assigned to them by their Aunt Claire, they must stay mindful of any prehistoric threats that await them in the lush jungle directly ahead.
For the role of the disaffected 16-year-old, Trevorrow turned to Nick Robinson, an up-and-coming actor whom he’d seen in the independent film The Kings of Summer. During casting, Robinson was brought in with potential co-star Simpkins to read various scenes, some of which hinted at the type of unusual methods that the role would require.
“We had to do a thing where we were scared of something that wasn’t there, which was good practice for what we ended up doing a lot,” says Robinson. “Ty killed that audition, and I felt like I had to follow up his masterful work there.”
Producer Crowley offers praise for the young man: “When Nick first came in, we thought of him as a Montgomery Clift-type, and there’s no doubt that in another couple of years he’ll be that heartthrob. He is a consummate actor and really underplays the role. His performance is riveting.”
When chaos erupts on Isla Nublar—and it always does—the brothers are forced to rely on each other to survive, something that breaks down the walls between them and brings them closer together.
The quick off-screen bond between Simpkins and Robinson played into their performance and mirrored that of their on-screen relationship. “Nick and Ty have a true brotherly dynamic with one another,” reveals Howard. “Nick has two younger brothers who are Ty’s age and Ty has an older brother, so they instantly became like real brothers. It was beautiful to watch, and they brought so much honesty to those characters and to that dynamic.”
When production commenced, Robinson and Simpkins looked to Trevorrow to guide them through the emotional story line of their evolving relationship, as well as the intense technical aspects required to complement the visual effects. “It was Colin’s top priority to make sure we hit all the emotional beats of the scene while also hitting our technical marks,” says Robinson, “so he could later then worry about adding the crazy dinosaur that was trying to kill us.”
The sole character of the storied franchise who is returning to the series is actor BD Wong, who reprises his role as Dr. Hammond’s lead geneticist, Dr. Wu. First introduced in Jurassic Park, Dr. Wu is the lead scientist responsible for bridging the gap between the past and present. Trevorrow explains the need for the researcher’s presence in Jurassic World: “We wanted to bring back a character from the original, and although he spent just a couple of minutes in the first film, Dr. Wu is much more fleshed out in the book and is a crucial component in the history. Having so much genetics and science in this film, it was important to have a character who’s informed of everything that’s gone on before this moment…and can pull us back into that world.”
It was Dr. Wu who ingeniously discovered the process of successfully revitalizing dinosaurs whose DNA was found in amber-trapped mosquitos. In the 22 years since the disastrous events on Isla Nublar, Dr. Wu has since continued his groundbreaking work with the support of Simon Masrani, Jurassic World’s generous—and quite complex— benefactor. Pushed by his own scientific curiosity and the demands from the park’s executors for new sensations, Wu’s latest creation has moved away from the wonders of rebirth to the uncharted realms of genetic modification.
Thrilled to revisit the role, Wong was intrigued by Dr. Wu’s progressive fall into more questionable ethical practices. Still, the actor admits that he understood his character’s mindset: “Dr. Wu feels that he deserves to be rich and famous because he is the mastermind or the locomotive that is driving that train. He is, however, a little bit naïve as to the consequences of what can happen as a result of this brilliant creative engineering and groundbreaking territory he finds himself in.”
As Jurassic World is the first truly international theme park, it was of paramount importance to Trevorrow and the producers that the cast be a reflection of that ideal. “It was important for the movie to have an international flavor to mirror that of the theme park,” gives Marshall. “We have a truly international cast and that has been really exciting.”
Entrusted with the task of fulfilling Dr. Hammond’s legacy to create a safe haven where humans and dinosaurs can coexist, larger-than-life billionaire Masrani is Jurassic World’s flashy benefactor and public showman. Despite the warnings of Owen, Masrani is more interested in dazzling his park’s guests by engineering a dinosaur with evermore-intimidating features than he is with the worrisome details of asset containment.
For the role of the charismatic entrepreneur, filmmakers looked to Irrfan Khan. A celebrated performer in his home country of India, Khan is known to international audiences for his riveting work in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.
When asked why he was interested in the role of Masrani, Khan admits that he was drawn to the billionaire’s spirit and passion: “Masrani is an entrepreneur, and he has a unique sense of morality. Jurassic World is not a place just to earn money; he nurtured John Hammond’s dream and truly wants to educate the common man through entertainment.”
Known for his work in such films as Europe’s surprise blockbuster The Intouchables and the juggernaut X-Men: Days of Future Past, French actor OMAR SY was brought aboard to join the cast in the role of Barry, Owen’s lead dinosaur handler and partner in their remarkable behavioral study. Just as wary of their subjects’ natural ferocity as he is of InGen’s twisted beliefs, Barry is the first to challenge InGen when he catches wind of the company’s nefarious plans.
Another huge fan of the franchise, Sy was thrilled to be asked to join the production and was up for what was sure to be a memorable experience. “My first day of filming was in Hawaii, where I rode through the jungle at night on an ATV. I couldn’t believe I was there,” the actor reflects. “I realized I was in Jurassic World, like a dream from my childhood come true.” The player who is perhaps most interested in the progress of Owen and Barry’s behavioral study with Velociraptors—and its potential use and application in warfare—is none other than InGen’s Hoskins, a skunkworks agent waiting for the right moment to appropriate Owen’s research. He recognizes the animals of Jurassic World not as sentient creatures, but as assets with untapped potential that would deliver serious profit.
The only thing standing in the way of his single-minded greed is the ethical will of Owen and his team. Seasoned actor VINCENT D’ONOFRIO, a performer of screens big and small, from Men in Black to TV’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent, was asked to play Hoskins.
While it might seem easy to label Hoskins the antagonist in the film, D’Onofrio doesn’t view his character in such black-and-white terms. “It’s hard to say you’re the villain in a dinosaur movie because usually the dinosaurs are the villains,” he plainly states. “Hoskins is essentially a security contractor whose perspective is that these animals are worth using instead of losing human lives. An animal is not computer-programmed and can’t be hacked. To be able to hook an apparatus on them and give them commands would be good for a multitude of uses…and a better alternative to risking human lives.”
Pratt offers yet another perspective: “The real villain is progress, and Hoskins is really an agent of progress. A lot of scientific research is funded for military application and is simply the natural order of that world.”
Marshall adds that it took an actor of D’Onofrio’s caliber not to make Hoskins a one-dimensional villain: “Hoskins represents something that is real, which is people who want to take scientific innovations and use them for darker purposes. Vincent is a wonderful actor, and it was fun to see him explore that side.”
Last but not least of the principal players is Lowery. A technical engineer whose mess of a workstation and smart-ass attitude belie a respect for the creatures he helps oversee, Lowery is Claire’s trusted lieutenant with electronic eyes on every corner of Jurassic World. To portray the role, Trevorrow turned to friend and previous collaborator JAKE JOHNSON (TV’s New Girl, Let’s Be Cops), who appeared in the director’s Safety Not Guaranteed. Trevorrow looked to Johnson to infuse Lowery with the pitch perfect amount of comedy and provide the type of levity that his Jurassic Park counterpart, the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson, delivered.
Johnson understood the value of delivering some laughs into the intense actionadventure film. He says: “Colin wanted actors for certain roles to have an option for a bit of humor and lightness. If there was a moment we could improvise and try to find a laugh, we took it.”
Alongside his fellow performers, the opportunity to be a part of the Jurassic legacy was not lost on Johnson: “Young people will see this the way we saw Jurassic Park, and for them it will be that awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping experience it was for us.
The opportunity to be a part of something like this doesn’t come around very often, and I feel very lucky.”
The Park Is Open:
Design and Locations
Operational and established as the world’s first international theme park, Jurassic World is the promise of the original park gloriously fulfilled. The park features a gleaming new Visitors’ Center that houses fully interactive scientific displays, a bustling commercial Main Street and boardwalk, an aquatic amphitheater where trained breeds perform, a soaring aviary and a petting zoo where young children can have the tactile experiences humans never thought possible. Dinosaurs of every shape, size and variety fill the numerous exhibits and attractions inside the park that are sure to amaze and delight its thousands of daily visitors. A shining monorail even connects all the attractions of the park, gliding gracefully throughout Jurassic World.
Trevorrow and his creative team set out to create a magical world that felt more tangible than fantastical. “It was important to us to create a place that could exist now, not a sci-fi imagining set in the future,” the director shares. “We wanted to create a very real, visceral park experience where you’re able to get up close with the dinosaurs and step into their world, everything John Hammond dreamed of.”
Veteran production designer Edward Verreaux was selected to bring the vision of Jurassic World to life. Beginning his career with Spielberg as an illustrator on Raiders of the Lost Ark andE.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Verreaux has served as production designer on massive blockbusters such as X-Men: The Last Stand and Rush Hour 3. His long relationship with the Jurassic franchise—he served as an illustrator for production designer Rick Carter on the original film, prior to stepping into the role himself on Jurassic Park 3—made him the perfect choice to create the template for the next installment and the modern vision.
Verreaux was enthusiastic about the opportunity to infuse the franchise with a modern aesthetic, while simultaneously honoring the legacy of the first film. “We’re getting to reinvent it for the next generation,” he says. “We’re 24 years out from having begun on Jurassic Park, so it’s a whole new ball game. We are, however, making reference to the previous films because they set the standard for the overall aesthetic of Jurassic World.”
Trevorrow was excited to have the opportunity to work with Verreaux and his creative team to help carry out his cinematic vision. “I am so privileged to be able to work with the best artists and innovators in the business who can bring these ideas to life,” the director commends. “The look of this film will leave an indelible mark and separate it from the other films to help push it forward.”
The majestic landscapes seen in Jurassic Park have become a part of moviegoers’ cultural DNA, successfully creating iconic images of massive creatures again roaming the Earth. For the production team, returning to Isla Nublar meant returning to Hawaii, where the green environment and majestic mountaintops substituted for Costa Rica. The crew discovered that the majority of the original locations were relatively untouched, affording the ability to seamlessly step back into that visual world, without extensive CGI to replicate settings.
“We knew we had to go to a green environment in order to do the jungle work, and almost all the other Jurassic films were shot in Hawaii,” explains Crowley. “Beyond that, we wanted to take people visually to places that many had not been to on their own.
There are places in Hawaii that are so dark and deep it looks like Tarzan lives there.”
For Marshall, returning to Hawaii decades later felt like stepping back in time. “It was magical to be in some of the same locations,” he says. “Being in that valley surrounded by those iconic mountaintops really brought it home that we’re in Jurassic World.”
Production began on April 14, 2014, on the island of Oahu at the Honolulu Zoo, which was magically transformed into Jurassic World’s petting zoo. Paying homage to the sacred lands on which the company would be filming while in Hawaii—and to garner some aloha spirit for the complicated shoot ahead—the crew participated in a spiritual blessing ceremony on the first day of principal photography. Crowley shares why they were adamant to participate in this ritual: “When filming Jurassic Park, there was a hurricane that destroyed all the sets, and we wanted to make every effort to make sure that didn’t happen again. The cast and crew were very respectful. It’s easy to assume that a crew of movie people who have worked all over the world would be jaded, but they really listened to the thoughtful words and took them to heart.”
With a total of 33 days of filming on the islands of Oahu and Kauai, the team set out to utilize the natural landscape to provide the appropriate scale and scope needed for Jurassic World. Returning to film at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu, Verreaux and his workers built a full-scale dinosaur paddock, which was constructed to house the park’s new genetically modified dinosaur. Kualoa Ranch also provided the backdrop for multiple exterior locations, including Owen’s bungalow, Masrani’s mountainside helipad and the majestic Gyrosphere Valley, where parkgoers can board a two-person gyrosphere and roam the land with various herds of gentle giants. Together, the various bits and pieces cut together created the full scope and magic of Jurassic World.
For its part, the gyrosphere—designed by supervising art director DOUG MEERDINK (Cloverfield) and his team, including RON MENDELL (Iron Man series)— is a spectacular, two-person orb that powers guests through, and immerses them in, the wonders of Jurassic World. Once securely inside, they may move freely throughout Gyrosphere Valley to experience the park’s stunning, unobstructed views and its onceextinct creatures…all at their own pace. As they travel through the valley, guests may use the in-sphere monitor to help identify the dinosaurs—ranging from the mighty Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus to the fascinating Parasaurolophus and Triceratops—that they see all around.
The epicenter of Isla Nublar’s $1.2 billion Jurassic World is Main Street, a bustling commercial stretch that offers various shopping, dining and entertainment options for parkgoers to enjoy. For those seeking mementos and keepsakes from their trip, Jurassic Traders has every toy and piece of merchandise the curious tourist could ever want. Up for a movie while on site? Guests can take in the spectacular sights and sounds of the film Pterosauria, which is now showing at Main Street’s IMAX theater.
It was important to Trevorrow and the producers that Jurassic World felt like a real destination, replete with actual stores one might find at a destination location such as Universal Studios Hollywood. To make it all happen, on Main Street and the boardwalk, guests staying at the Hilton Isla Nublar have a multitude of dining options that include sushi at Nobu, American cuisine at Winston’s (a clever nod to the legendary specialeffects wizard Stan Winston) or tacos and margaritas at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. For a little post-dining fun, parkgoers can kick up their heels at the nightclub or enjoy a taste of home as they grab a cappuccino at Isla Nublar’s Starbucks.
Verreaux and his team were put to the task of conceptualizing and creating a living and breathing theme park in a short period of time, an extraordinary undertaking.
“Ed was so important in pulling all of the concept and design for this theme park together,” lauds Crowley. “Unlike parks like Universal and Six Flags, which are developed over years, Ed had a couple of months to pull Jurassic World together. His team truly impressed us all.”
Bringing the elaborate vision of Main Street to life was no easy task, as filmmakers wanted to build as much as possible practically without sacrificing the scale and scope. After an extensive search for a locale that met the many criteria that came along with the massive build, the production team began construction at an abandoned Six Flags theme park outside of New Orleans. Although unable to use the infrastructure of the theme park due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the team utilized the massive parking lot—roughly the size of six football fields—and built from scratch. While the shooting crew filmed in Hawaii, a construction crew of up to 400 craftspersons was hard at work prepping the enormous sets in New Orleans. Throughout the build, and as the company’s arrival approached, Verreaux provided the filmmakers with progress reports. He recounts: “Main Street was being built while everyone was filming in Hawaii, so Colin didn’t get to see it until days prior to filming there. I sent him pictures and flew back and forth to show him all of the colors and fabrics to make sure that he was in agreement with the direction that we were going.”
During the final weeks leading up to filming on Main Street, various departments were hard at work dressing, prepping, lighting and rigging the set for the extensive sequences. The production crew arrived from Hawaii on a Saturday and began filming on Main Street the following Monday. Trevorrow recalls his initial reaction upon walking onto the set: “The first time I stepped onto Main Street I definitely got emotional. I was not alone in taking a moment to breathe it all in because we rarely get to see a world of this size brought to life in this way. When you walked on the set, it truly felt real.”
Marshall echoes those sentiments. “When we first saw it fully dressed with 800 extras enjoying everything Main Street had to offer, as if it was a real theme park, it was pretty amazing.”
For his part, Crowley was flabbergasted by the final product and the endless attention to detail. He comments: “We had it all: park rangers and employees who worked in the various stores and restaurants—all wore custom-made Jurassic World uniforms—and props and various merchandise that would be found at a theme park of this caliber. From the dinosaur strollers, plush toys and hand puppets, everyone did a tremendous job at making you feel that you were at a real working theme park.” The process of conceptualizing, building and finally filming on Main Street was not lost on Verreaux. “With something of this scale, there is a long design curve and a million decisions to make. You read the script, have discussions with the director, develop with concepts and illustrations, develop the set and build it. The company then takes it, dresses and lights it and then all of a sudden there are 800 extras walking around looking like real tourists. They, of course, hadn’t seen the set prior, so they’re thinking, ‘Oh my god, look at this!’ and we’re getting the proper responses from them. All those moments and responses are really gratifying.”
Although the daily rainfall and the formidable mud that followed were a significant challenge in Hawaii, the team was particularly wary of filming in New Orleans in June. “During those first few weeks in New Orleans, we were shooting all exteriors on Main Street—with very few cover sets—which was nerve-wracking,” recalls Crowley. “When it rains here, it pours for hours on end…with extensive lightning. When the weather in Louisiana is bad, it’s biblical.”
While the team was hit with several significant rain and lightning storms that left Main Street flooded and dark, the weather ended up, for the most part, cooperating and the company moved onto filming at the raptor research arena. Set on the outskirts of Isla Nublar far from the gloss of the theme park, the arena houses Owen and his team while they conduct behavioral research with Velociraptors. A massive circular structure, the inside arena is a large open area where the raptors reside, while the animal handlers safely observe from the extensive overhead walkways. Heavily fortified chambers surround the perimeter, thus allowing Owen and his team to engage in close interaction with the highly dangerous, and extremely predatory, animals.
Also a practical build, the arena was crafted to completion by requiring minimal green screen and not utilizing faux set walls. When working at the arena, Pratt was blown away by the lengths the design team went into the integrity of the structure…without typical Hollywood trickery. “The raptor arena was built of steel and cement and was huge; it was no joke,” lauds the performer. “There is no doubt that it could, in practice, house dangerous animals for many years without breaking down. It was phenomenal.”
For the numerous and massive interior sets, the filmmakers needed a singular location with ample space, security and infrastructure, all of which they found at Big Easy Studios in New Orleans. Residing on a portion of NASA’s Michoud Assembly campus, which was left vacant after the cancellation of the space program, Big Easy’s expansive structures were converted to stages capable of housing a production of this size.
The six stages occupied by Jurassic World were in varying stages of construction—a virtual revolving door of sets were built, filmed or struck simultaneously.
Some of the sets built at Big Easy included the interior of the new Visitors’ Center, Dr. Wu’s genetics lab and the control room, all massive in their own right. Considering the ambitious nature of the project, the NASA campus turned out to serve as the perfect locale. “It seemed fitting that we’d make this film inside the hangars where they built the first rocket that took people to the moon,” Crowley dryly observes.
At the center of Main Street sits the Samsung Innovation Center, a towering structure that serves as an aesthetic beacon of the theme park. This new Visitors’ Center is a celebration of science and technology, where parkgoers can learn more about the revived prehistoric creatures that inhabit the island (as well as find a guest appearance by our old friend, Mr. DNA). The “edutainment” is varied: Activities include multiple kiosks with evolutionary facts that include high-tech elements where, with the touch of a button, a rotating, lifesize hologram appears, as well as a place where children can dig for dinosaur bones and unearth the next big discovery. The Visitors’ Center is a dazzling meld of technology, science and education, truly John Hammond’s vision realized.
Proudly watching over the spectacle stands a larger-than-life statue of Dr. Hammond, an homage to the man whose dreams made it all possible. “When you walk into the Visitors’ Center, you’ll see him on the far side of the rotunda looking off into the future, very hopefully,” explains Verreaux. “If you look closely, you’ll see that in his hand, he’s holding his cane…and in that cane is a piece of amber with a mosquito inside. We wanted to have something that brought people back to the memory of John Hammond, the creative genius behind all of this.”
The statue summons guests to continue their journey of discovery into the genetics lab, which offers a glimpse inside the inner workings of Dr. Wu’s mind and introduces us to his team of geneticists. In any of the lab’s five sections—which consist of 1) extraction, 2) sequencing, 3) assembly, 4) a hatchery and 5) a nursery—visitors can observe scientists and lab technicians through giant glass observational panels. At any given moment, one can witness DNA being extracted from amber-trapped mosquitos from around the world or get a peek inside the hatchery as a new dinosaur is welcomed to a time its ancestors could not have comprehended. Modern-day miracles happen every day at Jurassic World. Built in its entirety, the genetics lab reflects the sleek sophistication of InGen and the seemingly limitless technology utilized (and funding that is required).
In the control room, a removed and protected area restricted to the public, Claire and her team—including Lowery—watch over the park from within the highly secured, sanitized walls. The room is command central, and from there, each and every dinosaur creation and park guest alike is tracked and observed from a giant wall of monitors that capture real-time activity. Ever corner of the park is monitored.
The Control Room was designed to be as fully immersive as possible for the performers, who were allowed to use actual playback that was recorded throughout production, and which played back on the multitude of monitors. “In a lot of films, they put the image on in post, but they were actually playing everything back inside the control room during filming,” explains Johnson. “Colin wanted us to be able to watch things they’d actually shot to have the real image to react to.”
With the extensive array of moving parts necessitated by a production of this scale, collaboration between departments was paramount. Production designer Verreaux explains: “This is the kind of project that doesn’t happen in a vacuum and doesn’t happen just within any one department. Because of the scope and scale of this film, it requires the involvement and the collaboration of everybody on the project to pull something like this off. Everyone gave it their all.”
Roam the Earth Again:
Science Meets Imagination
Young and old alike are drawn to the mysteries and wonder of the prehistoric creatures that ruled the Earth for 160 million years before they vanished and left only small traces of their existence behind. Crichton’s work, and the subsequent films, captured our collective intrigue and brilliantly blurred the line between science and fiction.
Jurassic Park was considered a cautionary tale of the dangers associated with scientific manipulation, a consistent theme of Crichton’s work. Although his writing is typically classified as science fiction, his core ideas were rooted in science. Reflects Trevorrow: “What fascinates me about Crichton’s work in general is his ability to take pretty complex new ideas in technology and science and not only make them relatable and feel human, but integrate them into the world that we live in now.”
In Jurassic World, the story begins more than two decades after the disastrous events on Isla Nublar threatened to quash Hammond’s dream forever. With more than 20,000 visitors a day, Jurassic World has changed the way humans view dinosaurs. Still, once believed only possible in our collective imagination, the novelty of their existence has faded, and the presence of dinosaurs back on Earth has become an accepted part of life.
The notion of dinosaur fatigue fascinated Trevorrow and spoke to society’s malaise, ever increasing in the age of burgeoning technology as we become less connected to the natural world. “In the film, the existence of dinosaurs and man on the same planet is not a new idea anymore, so we start in a place where teenagers going to Jurassic World are texting on their phones and not paying attention,” offers the director. “What we love about this is that we can throw you back into that fear and danger and remind you why you should be afraid and why you should pay attention.” Fan-favorite dinosaurs make a welcomed return in the film, although some display unexpected new traits. These dinosaurs, some of which have never been seen before in a Jurassic film, roam, swim and fly. During the writing process, Trevorrow was mindful of which species Jurassic fans wanted to return. “As someone who is a fan of these films, I don’t think I could wake up in the morning without bringing back certain dinosaurs, and not just for the sake of having them there. It’s important to me that dinosaurs like the T. rex are given the weight and the heroic qualities that they had in the first film. In my eyes, the T. rex was the hero of that movie; this was something that matters to me and was hugely important to include.”
Although attendance at the park continues to thrive, parkgoers have become increasingly harder to thrill. Worried about the bottom line, the corporate forces strive to snap people out of their ennui by creating a new “attraction” in the hopes of making Jurassic World cutting-edge once again. This pressure pushes the boundaries of ethics and science in the name of commercialism and leads Dr. Wu and his team of geneticists into ethically questionable territory…and genetic splicing and modification.
And her genus and species is called Indominus rex.
A modified dinosaur with genetic makeup that includes DNA from the T. rex, Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, Rugops, Giganotosaurus and a few additional undisclosed sources, the colossal Indominus rex—currently at 40 feet in length—is the smartest, biggest and baddest creature Jurassic World has seen to date. Dr. Wu and his team have created a magnificent creature and have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding her full capabilities…that is, until she cleverly escapes captivity, begins to kill for sport and puts all those on Isla Nublar—human and otherwise—at risk.
Like Dr. Wu, the filmmakers were put to the task of creating a new breed of dinosaur that would excite audiences while maintaining a level of scientific integrity.
Recalling the development process, Crowley says: “It was an interesting canvas to work with. We had a researcher who was working with us and went through tons of scientific journals to see some of the new experiments, the kinds of creations you could make if you started changing DNA sequences.”
To ensure the scientific legitimacy behind the new dinosaur, as well as the various and sundry breeds appearing in the movie, the filmmakers once again enlisted the expertise of renowned paleontologist JACK HORNER, a professor at Montana State University and curator of paleontology at The Museum of the Rockies. When initially writing “Jurassic Park,” Crichton turned to Horner’s own tome, “Digging Dinosaurs,” for insight into the paleontological perspectives of the creatures about which he was writing.
Still on the forefront, Horner’s current work explores groundbreaking genetic engineering methods that actually blend chicken DNA with dinosaur genetic material.
Having a long-standing relationship with the Jurassic Park franchise, Horner understood the importance of showing scientific plausibility…without sacrificing the thrills of limitless imagination. “What I find interesting is the thing that people worry about the most is the size of the dinosaurs. But that is the last thing to be concerned with, as far as authenticity goes,” Horner offers. “We have a skewed idea of the size of dinosaurs, skewed by the ones that we have found rather than the population of them. Dinosaurs grew through most of their life, so we’re always going to find a bigger T. rex.”
When imagining the genetic makeup and subsequent characteristics of the Indominus rex, Horner was quick to point out the benefits of dinosaurs’ varied lineage. “We can play with science a bit,” he gives. “Dinosaurs are wood reptiles and are closely related to crocodilians. They gave rise to birds, so we can always cheat to the bird side or the reptile side. There’s a lot of room to play with.”
Trevorrow was immensely grateful to have Horner bring his expertise to the project. “There is real science and real paleontology in these movies, and this was very important for me with this one as well,” underscores the director. “Jack Horner has lent a scientific authority to these stories from the very beginning, and there have been times where we’ll try something for the sheer entertainment factor and he’ll remind us that it is actually impossible. It’s important that this be based on reality, so his contributions are immeasurable.”
Serving as an additional consultant on the film is Academy Award®-winning visual effects supervisor PHIL TIPPETT, also a cherished member of the Jurassic Park family. Founder of Tippet Studio, his varied career in visual effects has spanned more than 30 years. When Spielberg learned of Tippet’s expertise in dinosaur movement and behavior and stop-motion technology, the filmmaker selected him to supervise the dinosaur animation for Jurassic Park. The work earned him—as well as colleagues Dennis Muren, Stan Winston and Michael Lantieri—an Oscar® for Best Visual Effects.
For Jurassic World, Tippett was brought on to supervise the development, characteristics and movements of the dinosaurs, most specifically for the Velociraptors, arguably superstars of the series. “Colin was primarily interested in my input on key scenes involving the Velociraptors [here Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo] that required a lot of attention to performance and behavior,” Tippett states. “Raptors were fantastic creatures that probably had a certain level of intelligence like that of a crow. My focus was to imbue them with personalities and flesh them out as the scary and brilliant creatures that they were.”
Pushing the Limits:
Creating the Stunning VFX and SFX
When asked to imagine what a dinosaur looks like, how it would move or what it might feel like to have one breathe on you as you stand stiffly in horror—hoping to remain undetected—we harken to Jurassic Park. The groundbreaking visual effects featured in the film set a bar and provided some of the most lasting iconic sights and sounds in modern cinema. Continuing the legacy of stunning VFX, industry leader Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) returns to bring even greater visual spectacle and wonder to a franchise that set new standards in the field. Jurassic World will be the first Jurassic film released in 3D and IMAX in its first run, fully enveloping moviegoers in the visual and audio experience of a theme park populated with roaming and rampaging dinosaurs. For more than 30 years, ILM, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., has set the standard for visual effects, and in the process, pioneered new frontiers in the use of computer graphics and digital imaging in feature films. At the forefront of the digital revolution, ILM—out of sheer inspiration and imagination—continues to break new ground in visual effects and collaborate with filmmakers to create that which simply could not exist.
Leading the illustrious team are associate producer/VFX production supervisor CHRISTOPHER RAIMO and ILM’s visual effects supervisor TIM ALEXANDER.
With the bar set extremely high, Alexander and his team strove to push the envelope and execute the process with absolute precision. “Technology has come a long way in the 12 years since the last Jurassic film, and we want to make sure everything is done right,”
Alexander states. “With every step along the way—including the modeler who does the geometry for a dinosaur, the painter putting on the color and texture and the rigger who makes it move and does all the muscle simulations—we have to go through many hands within the process. We are careful each step of the way to implement everything extremely well.”
To create a world seamlessly inhabited by dinosaurs and humans alike, the VFX team worked closely with Trevorrow and cinematographer John Schwartzman throughout production. Together, they crafted shots that would accommodate the scale of the dinosaurs, some of which are as massive as 20 feet tall and 45 feet long.
The VFX team collected data about the various environments throughout the film where the virtual creatures would interact with the practical world. “The process was amazing because we were able to get so much in camera and didn’t have to create full virtual environments,” explains Alexander. “So it was a matter of making sure we could fit the dinosaurs into these locations. We captured a lot of data about the environments to make virtual versions of them for interaction. If a dinosaur comes through and hits a tree, we have to make that tree move and add the details associated with that.”
To capture lighting references associated with the hero dinosaurs, the visual effects team used stand-in maquettes throughout the filming process. Explains ILM animation supervisor GLENN MCINTOSH: “Maquettes were used to capture all the beautiful details—the colors, the texture of the scales, details of the eyes—to help in recreating the character in the computer and bring it to life.”
True-to-scale lifelike maquettes were created for select Velociraptors that appear in the film, some of which have heads as big as saltwater crocodiles. Indeed, these maquettes—which provided eyeline references for the performers—were sized to match a raptor body up to 14 feet long. During night shoots in the jungle, the crew had its share
of fun with the maquettes. “It was fun to sneak around and come up behind people and slowly turn the head to look at them when they weren’t expecting it,” laughs McIntosh.
To create the maquettes, filmmakers turned to Legacy Effects, the proud home of talented artists, imaginative engineers and intricate puppeteers that was founded by Jurassic Park alumnus and industry legend Stan Winston.
The genius behind the iconic and ferocious T. rex, quick and nimble Velociraptors and gentle long-necked Brachiosaurus seen in the original, Winston provided audiences with iconic and indelible images of how dinosaurs looked and moved. Although advancements made in computer-generated VFX and CGI essentially replaced the need for animatronics during filming, Trevorrow pushed for the use of an animatronic dinosaur in the film to honor the spirit of the artists and craftspersons who paved the way.
While searching for Claire’s nephews in the lush valley of Isla Nublar, Owen and Claire stumble upon a fallen Apatosaurus and quietly sit alongside the gentle giant as it takes its last breath. For the powerful scene capturing an intimate moment shared between human and dinosaur, Trevorrow felt the animatronic dinosaur would help the actors experience the intensity of the moment as organically as possible. “Animatronics are not necessarily the go-to answer these days when looking to create a monster or a creature, as it is a lot easier to have people run around the jungle and be chased by computer-generated effects,” says the director. “But I knew that we would be able to accomplish something here that is so rare in film today, which is to create something tactile that you can touch and that you can feel breathe. That is priceless and I don’t see how we could have made a Jurassic Park movie without it.”
The inclusion of an animatronic was a tribute to the artistry of Winston and his immeasurable contribution to the Jurassic legacy and the world of filmmaking. “Colin pushed to have a working animatronic in the film because Jurassic was built on the wonderful inventiveness of Stan Winston and his people, and he wanted to pay homage to that,” commends Crowley.
Serving as the production’s animatronic supervisor, Jurassic alumnus JOHN ROSENGRANT led Legacy Effect’s team of digital designers, concept artists, 3D sculptors, moldmakers, machinists, fabricators, engineers and puppeteers who gave life to the Apatosaurus, an extensive process that took close to three months to complete.
The lifesize head utilized a hard skull surrounded by soft tissues that are able to fold and bend, as well as built-in bladders to simulate breathing. With Rosengrant and a team of four puppeteers operating her, the Apatosaurus had the ability to lift and turn her head, breathe through her nose and mouth, and had eye movements that included blinking and twitching, all choreographed and simultaneously operated during the scene. Explains
Rosengrant: “It’s like a concert where all the members of the band make sure they’re hitting their notes on time and in rhythm. We each have our individual manipulations that, when put together, bring it to life; it’s the sum components that create it.” The results were magical and not lost on even the most seasoned of crew members. Crowley recalls: “There was this confluence of people—all who had been involved in the previous films—and to see this wonderful dinosaur, struck a chord. When you witnessed its eyes blinking and breath come out of its nostrils right in front of you, it brought home just how much we care about animals and the quality of work that people in our business can do.”
For our heroes, the experience of working with a “live” dinosaur was momentous. “It was remarkable to have this creature there to interact with, and we all become children when seeing something like that,” says Howard. “It’s a live medium and art form that makes you feel giddy and full of awe. I’m so grateful to have experienced that.”
Concludes Pratt: “When I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, there’s a fallen dinosaur here.’ Then it started breathing and moving around and had so many different motions of the mouth, the tongue, the eyes and the neck that it came to life. It gave me goosebumps.” ****
Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present—in association with Legendary Pictures—A Colin Trevorrow film: Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong and Irrfan Khan. The film’s music is by Michael Giacchino, and the Jurassic Park theme is by John Williams. The costume designer is Daniel Orlandi. Jurassic World is edited by Kevin Stitt, ACE, and its production designer is Edward Verreaux. The director of photography is John Schwartzman, ASC, and the executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull. The film is produced by Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, and it is based on characters created by Michael Crichton. Jurassic World’s story is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and its screenplay is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Derek
Connolly & Colin Trevorrow. The film is directed by Colin Trevorrow. TM &© 2014 Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment, Inc. www.jurassicworld.com