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“I Want to Make a Kick-Ass Jurassic Park Movie”: Colin Trevorrow’s State of Mind When He Was Still Writing the Jurassic World Script

Posted on the 13 June 2015 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

When Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow was offered the chance to direct what was still being called Jurassic Park 4, he was not allowed to read the script before he made his decision. It was March 2013, and the project had been stuck in development hell since it was first officially announced in June 2002. Steven Spielberg and producer Frank Marshall already had Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver on board with a script, hiring them based off of their work on Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Universal had a release date, June 13, 2014, and filming needed to start by June 2013. Trevorrow took a leap of faith and agreed to direct, telling SlashFilm, “They were still working on a draft and then I saw it and it was a very tough moment in my life because I realize I didn’t understand how to direct that screenplay and tell that story.” As he recently recalled in a conversation with DenOfGeek, “I went back and I said, ‘I’m sorry, if I direct this screenplay, it’s going to be a bad movie. I’m gonna do a bad job, because I just don’t get it.’” Spielberg took it in stride, telling Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly (who had never seen any of the Jurassic movies), “Oh really? Well then, you write a better one. We’ve been trying to do this for 14 years now! Show me what you can do!”


2005 concept art for a Jurassic Park 4 featuring human/dino hybrids

What they did was a page one re-write of the script, taking “three key ideas that Steven had himself, that there’s a park that’s fully functional, there is a man who has a relationship with the raptors and he’s trying to train them, and then there’s a dinosaur that escapes and threatens everyone in the park.” Many of these ideas had already been used in prior Jurassic Park 4 scripts over the years, including an infamous, truly insane draft from John Sayles about efforts to weaponize velociraptors (check out ScreenPlayIsles for a complete summary), and a lot of those ideas had already leaked online, often met with snarky jokes. Trevorrow and Connolly’s re-write was so extensive that Spielberg exercised his abnormal influence to push back the release date a full year, giving the pair more time to perfect their script.


Trevorrow with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It was complete luck that they cast Pratt well before Guardians of the Galaxy made him a star

It was during this extended period of development that Trevorrow was interviewed in August 2013 not by the media but by a group of super fans who were only up to the second episode of their new Jurassic Park podcast, Jurassic Cast. Now that Jurassic World is finally here, it’s interesting to look back at Trevorrow’s state of mind when everything was still coming together, back before he’d even re-named the film Jurassic World.

Trying to please fans, new and old…

It’s an important to make a movie for the fans, but I also have to remember that there’s a lot of people who just couldn’t care less and need me to make a solid case for why the hell there’s a Jurassic Park 4 in the first place. I want to make a movie for them, too. They’re kids now who don’t have the same history with it that you or I do. For us, to a certain extent I feel like it’s about re-capturing that feeling when you were a kid in 1993, and for them I’m trying to create that feeling 20-30 years from now when they’re adults with jobs and they’re missing the way movies used to feel. So, that’s a big responsibility, and I feel like all I can do is make something that’s honest and put a little bit of my soul into it. I think that happens naturally because believe it or not, this not a paycheck gig for me. It’s not the movie I’m making so I can make the movies I really want to make. No, I really want to make a kick-ass Jurassic Park movie.

Any nerves from making such a huge leap from his first film being a small indie to his second movie being a new Jurassic Park

I always wanted to tell big stories because that’s where my brain goes. I grew up in a very specific time [in film history] that I imagine all of us did where we had pretty fantastic things happen to real people, and those weren’t always big productions or tentpoles. My first movie, Safety Not Guaranteed, cost less than a million bucks, and yet I feel like we were telling a big story in that movie – a guy had a time machine! For me, it’s not really about scale, but whether or not you have characters you would want to share an adventure with. That’s what Star Wars had. And Goonies had. And Jurassic Park definitely had it. When I was kid, I was a little older when I saw Jurassic Park, but I wanted to be there with those people no matter how big it got. That was our goal with Safety, and that’s definitely our goal with Jurassic Park 4.

Seeing movies through his son’s eyes

I get to see dinosaurs through my son’s eyes. I have a four-year-old kid right now, and what’s amazing about him is that unlike adults he genuinely believes he could get eaten by a dinosaur if he goes the wrong way in the forest. I don’t have that anymore. I think that was one of the great things about Jaws. That fear was real because you could go out and get eaten by a shark tomorrow if you make the wrong choice, and you’re not going to get eaten by T-Rex.

His original experience with the first Jurassic Park

I was 16 when I saw Jurassic Park.  I actually snuck out of the house and rolled the car down the hill and went to the Grand Lake Theater, which is the theater in Oakland, California, where I grew up, and it’s this big old theater movie house. A friend of mine was working concessions, and we got to watch it the night before with all the employees at midnight. It was incredible, but I was 16, already thinking about girls. I wasn’t quite in that place where that was going to blow my mind the way it would if I was younger.”

He did get in trouble for sneaking out. His parents grounded him for the first and only time in his life, forbidding him from going to see the movies, which they knew was the worst punishment they could dole out for their movie-loving, non-party going son.

The movie that did blow his mind when he was a kid was…

I was 9 when I saw Back to the Future. I was already deep into Star Wars at that point, but it came out when I was 1. So, I didn’t get to have that theatrical experience of Star Wars of guys much older than me. Back to the Future was crucial and important, not just because it was an amazing movie, but it was the first time I thought, “Oh, they really can just make anything up, and they can create their own rules and break those roles.”

A plea for patience

I would definitely encourage everyone to remember that feeling you had when Jurassic Park first came out. They didn’t show anything in the trailers. You really had no idea what you were going to see. And The Lost World, my memory of that is that we barely even knew it was happening-it just showed up, and there was a Lost World movie. I know that time [in film history] is gone, and I’m not going to be one of those guys who pretend they can bring it back by keeping all of the secrets because you can’t really, not anymore. We’re two years out, and I just want to cherish this time when no one knows what the hell we’re doing.”

At the time of the interview, there were plenty of plot rumors on the internet, most of which were based off of the more extreme elements of discarded drafts predating Trevorrow’s involvement.  So, he concluded the interview by further re-stating his plea for patience.

I know where that comes from. I know why everyone wants to know. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is information gets out there which is either partially true or untrue, and everyone thinks they know what’s going on and I would just ask everyone to understand that. Don’t believe everything you read. There are more insiders on the internet than there are in real life. Beyond that, none of this is spoilery, I would just say that Steven has been very closely involved in this, and he cares about the franchise very much. He does not want the movie to happen unless there is a script which deserves to be shot. In the end, the one thing no one is going to be able to say is that we didn’t give a shit or that we phoned it in because that is not true.

Nine months after he said that, JoBlo somehow got the real inside scoop and spoiled the basic plot of Jurassic World over a year before its release, which Trevorrow confirmed and clarified in an exclusive interview with SlashFilm.

Source: Jurassic Cast

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