7 Fascinating Things You Don't Know About Jurassic Park
With Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's premiere almost upon us, Jurassic Park fan-fervor is about to explode like a volcano. While it has been nearly 25 years since the original Jurassic Park topped the box office and introduced moviegoers around the world to the wonders of CGI, fans are still finding new ways to love this classic blockbuster. So, even though the fifth installment of this ever-evolving dinosaur saga might introduce some seriously bonkers new ideas, there's never a bad time to look back at the original 1993 film and dig up some of the most interesting facts on how it all came together.
We could have had a 'Goth-rassic' Park
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg was informally promised the director's chair from Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton before the book was even published. They met while working on what would eventually be the primetime NBC show ER and hit it off. Yet publishers still instituted a bidding war, and directors like Tim Burton, Richard Donner, and James Cameron were all in contention. A week after the sale, Steven Spielberg got the gig.
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs"
During a Q&A screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg revealed that he offered star Harrison Ford the role of Dr. Alan Grant (the role eventually went to Kiwi actor Sam Neill). Ford was mum on the issue, simply stating that it would have been like "going to Mars."
The paleontologists were nearly joined by puppeteers
Up until Jurassic Park, computer-generated imagery (CGI) was in its infancy, only being used in a handful of films like James Cameron's The Abyss and Terminator 2. Originally the filmmakers were going to use an advanced form of stop-motion animation, which had been used to make dinosaurs for films like the original King Kong and One Million Years BC. After a handful of tests using CGI, using stop-motion on Jurassic Park "went extinct."
An actual dinosaur ride
Jurassic Park originally had a scene where the characters Grant, Lex, and Tim would encounter a baby triceratops that Lex would ride. Stan Winston and the team of animatronic builders even created a full-size version that actor Ariana Richards could interact with, but the scene was scrapped at the last minute to quicken the pace of the film.
Don't blink — you might miss the dinosaurs
While the entire movie feels packed with beautiful imagery and evocative scenes, a total of only 15 minutes of the two-hour movie contains dinosaurs on screen. Nine minutes of dinosaur footage contain Stan Winston's animatronics while CGI dinosaurs make up a mere six minutes of the total running time.
Some eager editing went down
After wrapping production, the sound and special effects teams had a long road ahead, but editor Michael Kahn had an initial rough cut within days of the final days of shooting. This was possibly due to the close relationship Kahn and Spielberg had developed working together since the days of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Spielberg had to bow out early
As Jurassic Park shifted gears into postproduction, Spielberg got pulled away to direct his next classic, Schindler's List. While executive producer Kathleen Kennedy oversaw the various units enlisted to finish the film, Spielberg called up his pal and Star Wars creator George Lucas to guide the final sound mix in Northern California at Skywalker Sound. Jurassic Park would go on to win both sound categories at the 66th Academy Awards.
Still can't get enough Jurassic Park? Steven Ray Morris (My Favorite Murder, The Purrrcast) hosts podcast See Jurassic Right on Acast, which is about Jurassic Park and you. Monthly episodes feature expert guests, devoted fans, personal stories, listener call-ins, and more. Follow him on Twitter @StevenRayMorris.