Colin Trevorrow visited the Empire podcast booth this week for a spoiler-filled chat about his triumphant revival of the Jurassic Park franchise. Hand-picked by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall for the job, the director and co-writer has been integral in building the story, characters and dino-mayhem within Jurassic World. He is, in other words, perfectly placed to talk through the feature's secrets, curios and Easter eggs, as well as future plans for the franchise. Beware: there are, of course, third act spoilers contained within.
1. There's A Reason Behind The New Amblin Logo
The old Amblin logo, the hallmark of Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy's production house, got a lick of paint in Jurassic World's opening credits.
"We did a new [logo] for this movie. Steven [Spielberg] had been thinking about it for a while and Frank [Marshall] really supported it, and was probably encouraged by the fact that they were working with a fan and someone who was a kid when their movies did what they did. So to me it was, 'Of course we should make a new Amblin logo!' Why do we have Marvel and Pixar and Lucasfilm and these brands that assure you you're going to get something very specific that you love, and we don't have Amblin? There's nothing in the marketplace that does what Amblin movies do."
2. Ian Malcolm Makes A Cameo
Jeff Goldblum's chaos theorist and all-round Jurassic Park cult hero makes a sneaky appearance in literary Easter egg form.
"[Dr. Malcolm] is on a book cover very early in the film when they're on the monorail. The viewer is always focused on something else, which is my favourite way to bury things. Zara is reading it on the way in and Lowery has a copy on his desk: God Created Dinosaurs."
3. Zara's Death Was A Deliberate Shocker
Arguably the film's biggest jolt comes when frazzled executive assistant Zara (Katie McGrath) gets munched by not one, but two dinos in the theme park's colossal water tank.
"It was the first time a woman was going to die in a Jurassic Park movie. We're an equal opportunities bunch of murderers! So we felt, 'Alright, let's make it the most spectacular death we can possibly imagine - let's involve multiple animals from sea and air...' I love this moment so much. We're playing on the audience's expectation and jadedness. You drop her in the water and immediately everyone goes, 'Oooh, I know what's going to happen.' But you don't. Then the 'birds' start coming in and you get distracted by that and suddenly [it] happens. I knew I'd be accused of killing the Brit! Well, Katie's Irish so she had no problem with it. But we definitely struggled over how much to allow her to earn her death, and ultimately it wasn't because she was British, it was because she was a bridezilla. She has one line about the bachelor party: 'Oh, all his friends are animals.' In the end, the earned death in these movies has become a bit standard and another thing I wanted to subvert. 'How can we surprise people? Let's have someone die who just doesn't deserve to die at all.'"
4. Trevorrow's Son Nixed The Stegoceratops
One dino-hybrid that didn't make it past the InGen drawing board was the stegoceratops: half stegosaurus, half triceratops, all get-the-heck-out-the-way. Trevorrow culled it from his script but not before Hasbro had enshrined it in toy form.
"In an earlier draft there was a scene where Chris [Pratt] and Bryce [Dallas Howard] come across another hybrid in the jungle. It informed them that Dr. Wu has been making other hybrids under her nose. Then my six-year-old son watched Return Of The Jedi, and said to me, 'Dad, if Leia is also a Jedi that means that Luke isn't unique.' It was like, 'Ha! Okay.' And for some reason I applied that to this other thing and felt like there could be only one [hybrid dinosaur]. The idea that there was more than one made it feel less like the one synthetic among all the other organics, and suddenly it seemed entirely wrong to have it in the movie. I suddenly hated the idea but the toy still exists as a kind of remnant because Hasbro toys are locked a year out."
5. Rocky And Apollo Creed Inspired The Final Battle
The climactic slug-fest pitches the Indominus Rex, velociraptors and time-weathered T-Rex (last seen roaring in the rubble of Jurassic Park's visitor centre) into a fight to extinction that Trevorrow likens to an old Western showdown or Stallone dust-up.
"I compared the T-Rex to Burt Lancaster in the way his face got tighter as he got older. He looked stronger. A little bit of Clint Eastwood there too. This is the T-Rex's Clint Eastwood moment. The movie-based reference [for the fight] was Rocky. That final fight was essentially Rocky versus Apollo Creed. We have this High Noon/Western shot looking over the hip of the T-Rex down at the other gunslinger and when we take her down pretty fast and suddenly she's on the ropes and you're like, 'Get up, Rocky. Get up.' The raptor gets to come out and be Han Solo at the end of Star Wars in the Falcon. You get these moments that are kids are so engrained in us, and to be able to channel all that into a dinosaur battle is probably the nerdiest thing I've ever done."
6. Brad Bird Is In The Movie (Sort Of)
*Jurassic World features voice cameos from two different directors. Trevorrow and Pixar/Mission: Impossible man Brad Bird both lend their honeyed tones to the film.*
"I'm the voice of Mr. DNA - I say something about the building blocks of life. We spent a week just making it sound like a movie for the temp mix, and I went into the booth and did the line real quick. We always assumed we'd hire someone else to do it. We EQ-ed it a little bit and it actually sounded like [the character], so we kept him in the film. We asked Brad Bird to come in and he's the voice of the monorail announcer. As with a lot of people who have only one line, I sent a really detailed description of who he was. 'You live in North Hollywood. You write screenplays by night and do the tour by day.'"
7. Vic Hoskins Almost Sounded Like Kingpin
Again in the audio booth, Vincent D'Onofrio submitted a line of ADR from the set of Netflix's Daredevil that was inflected with his growly Kingpin tones.
"Vincent got that [role] while he was on set and he was so excited about that. He had to do a bit of ADR for us and I asked him to do a line of dialogue. He sent back this dialogue where he was like (adopts growly voice), 'We got to go find the helicopter...' and I said, 'Dude, that's not what your character sounds like,' and he said, 'Sorry, I can only talk like Kingpin. I can't talk like Hoskins anymore.' It took a while to get him out of it!"
8. Steven Spielberg Wanted More Dinosaur Poo
Owen Grady uses gasoline to cloak himself from the sniffing Indominus - think Dutch at the end of Predator - and Steven Spielberg was keen to add another, more organic masking aroma to the pungent mix.
"The only one of note is a scene where Chris and Bryce are walking through the jungle and he has her put dinosaur shit all over her body - it's in one of the TV spots - to cover their scent from the dinosaurs. It is a very funny scene. Steven really loves people rubbing dinosaur shit on themselves! He was suggesting that the boys do it, but we thought, 'Maybe we can make it part of the romance.' It was cut from the film because we have the tension ratcheted up [at that point] and it felt out of place having the two of them engaged in romantic-comedy banter."
9. Lowery Nearly Got Lucky After All
At the height of Island-wide panic, and with flesh-craving dinosaurs thundering around his theme park munching visitors like popcorn, Jake Johnson's tech wonk Lowery picks his moment to lock lips with co-worker Lauren Lapkus. It does not end well.
"Jake Johnson's character is all of us - he's Empire readers, he's me and you. That moment wasn't in our script. We did it at the last minute and we shot it both ways, so we do have footage of him kissing her. In one of the original cuts I even put it in that he kissed her and then we didn't have Bryce kissing Chris. I knew I could only pull off one kiss in this movie. There could be only one. But it's one of those moments that feels very true to anyone who ever stepped out of their comfort zone and took a shot. It's the most personal touch in the movie for me."
10. The Sequel's Dinosaurs May Go Global...
Despite an eyewatering $500 million opening weekend and probably lots of begging emails from his producers and the studio, Colin Trevorrow is keen to hand the sequel reins over to a new director. He does plan to stay closely involved in the franchise, however, and has clear ideas for where it will go next.
"I'm intrigued by the idea of applying what happened with nuclear power to dinosaurs: it started very small and was then used for a weapon and then as power, and finally spread to the point where there's 22 different countries with that capability. The power to make a dinosaur has always been localised to InGen and Jurassic Park, but what if that goes open source and many different types of interests can make a dinosaur? There's also room in exploring a world where we have the same relationship with dinosaurs as we have with other animals on this planet. I'm not sure I'm going be the one to carry it on, certainly not from a directorial standpoint. In my personal opinion, this franchise will be better served by having different directors in the way they're doing with Star Wars. Each of those Star Wars movies will be very personal and have completely new visions. There are some pretty cool Spanish horror directors whose Jurassic Park movie I'd love to see as a fan."