13 Jurassic Park secrets and behind-the-scenes facts you never knew
Yes, Jurassic Park was released all the way back in 1993, which means that your childhood favourite just turned 25. A quarter of a century may have passed, but the franchise it spawned shows no signs of slowing down thanks to the recent release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
With dinosaurs in the air (literally), we’ve uncovered some of the more surprising behind-the-scenes moments from the original film and secrets that you may not have known.
1. It stayed unbelievably true to the source material
When writing the passage where the park’s first guests listened to an audio guide in their jeep, author Michael Crichton envisaged veteran stage and screen performer Richard Kiley as the voice on the tape loop.
Steven Spielberg wanted to stick to the source material as much as possible, so actually hired Kiley for the film adaptation, and it’s his voice that viewers can hear playing through the jeeps’ speakers.
2. The jeep attack scene happened by accident
Remember the terrifying moment when the T-Rex attacks Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joe Mazzello) in the jeep with only a piece of Plexiglas to protect them?
It turns out that this scene wasn’t supposed to go down that way, as Mazzello told Entertainment Weekly back in April 2013.
“We were in that car, and I think the T-Rex was only supposed to go down so far, and the Plexiglas was the only thing between the dinosaur and us,” he reminisced.
The pair were so startled by the incident that their screams were genuine – shrieks that were so loud that Spielberg elected to keep them in the final cut.
3. Jeff Goldblum almost missed out on his legendary role
We may never have had the chance to see Jeff Goldblum’s renowned portrayal of Dr Ian Malcolm – or get that famous open-shirt scene – if Spielberg had opted for casting director Janet Hirshenon’s other choice for the role.
Jim Carrey was, in fact, frontrunner for the part after he had performed well during the audition phase, but Hirshenon eventually pushed for Goldblum – a decision that gave us his “life finds a way”.
4. The man behind the iconic logo
Jurassic Park‘s logo is known by cinemagoers all over the globe, but just who is the person behind the famous image?
That man is Chip Kidd, who designed the logo for the front cover of Michael Crichton’s original novel after he was “particularly taken” with a T-Rex skeleton that he found inside a book he purchased from New York’s Museum of Natural History.
Film distributors Universal fell in love with the design and ended up buying the rights to it. The man himself told an audience during his 2012 TED talk that he was still as “thrilled” as ever that they selected his design.
5. The reason for Malcolm and Hammond’s monochrome clothing
Ian Malcolm and John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) – found themselves at loggerheads during some scenes of Jurassic Park over Ingen’s research.
It’s interesting to note, then, that the pair wore opposite-coloured clothes during the film’s two-hour runtime – Malcolm dressed all in black and Hammond dressed in white.
The story goes that Spielberg and Crichton saw the duo as representations of themselves, with Spielberg’s positive and idealistic approach resembling Hammond – hence the white garments – and Crichton’s cynical and scientific side defined by Malcolm and his dress code.
6. Spielberg’s fat pay cheque
Spielberg wasn’t sure that Jurassic Park would be a success, but he need not have worried as the dinosaur blockbuster became the highest-grossing film of all-time (for the time…)
He earned his fair slice of the pie too, earning a whopping $250m thanks to a back-end deal that saw him scoop up a sizeable portion of cash from profits and total gross of merchandise sales.
Reportedly, no other director had made as much money from one movie as Spielberg did, though James Cameron has probably since overtaken that record with his alleged $350m Avatar paycheque.
7. The computer programme ahead of its time
During one scene, Lex performs a reboot of the computer system’s Unix Interface after the sneaky Dennis Nedry cuts the park’s power earlier in the film.
The program on the monitor may look fake, but it is actually a real-life 3D browser that was made by now defunct manufacturer Silicon Graphics. Named Fusion – or FSN for short – it was ahead of its time for 1993, but goes to show just how advanced technology has become since Jurassic Park was initially released with those dated graphics.
8. Even animatronic dinosaurs can be dangerous
It’s very rare that an actor, stunt person or crew member dies on-set in a freak accident, but sometimes such tragedies do occur. One such incident almost happened during the building of the animatronic T-Rex but, luckily for one team member, tragedy was avoided.
Adam Scott was inside the robotic dinosaur gluing skin to its frame when the power – keeping the hydraulics in place – turned off in the studio, resulting in the T-Rex moving into its powered-down position.
Miraculously, Scott’s position inside ensured that any metal sheets or pistons narrowly missed him, and he escaped without any serious injuries after his colleagues managed to literally prise the T-Rex’s jaws open.
9. Rain, rain, go away
It’s no secret that during filming a devastating hurricane hit Kaua’i Island, Hawaii, and forced the cast and crew to take shelter for a few days until it subsided.
The elements didn’t just interrupt filming, but also played a key part in the crew struggling to get their animatronic T-Rex to work as the rain kept causing the robot to malfunction.
The precipitation also soaked the animatronic’s ‘skin’ and caused the T-Rex’s head to droop and shake due to the additional weight – a nightmare for those operating it during key scenes such as the iconic sequence with the attack on the jeeps.
10. The joke that made the final cut
Mr DNA – the animated character that explained how dinosaurs were genetically engineered in a child-friendly way – was another part of Jurassic Park that almost never saw the light of day.
Screenwriter David Koepp told Entertainment Weekly that the character originally started out as a joke between himself and Spielberg, but eventually seemed like the most logical way to discuss dinosaur DNA extraction from mosquitoes.
He quipped: “I remember Steven and I were wrestling with that very issue, about the DNA, and one of us said, ‘What are we supposed to do? Have a little animated character called Mr DNA?’ And the other one said, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what we’re going to do!'”
11. Toilet humour is no joke for Laura Dern
Laura Dern, who played Dr Ellie Sattler, undergoes a transformation from scientist to all-action hero throughout her Jurassic Park arc, and has been lauded for her badass portrayal of the character ever since.
Unfortunately for Dern, she is still only seen by many kids as the “the girl who put her hand in the dinosaur poo” – according to quotes carried by Moviefone – as Sattler looked to get to the bottom of one sick Triceratops’ illness.
Children apparently refuse to shake her hand to this day too, as they don’t believe she’s ever washed it. That’s the first and last time Dern has put her hand in poop, then – and with good reason.
12. Feathers are still a no-go
Feathered dinosaurs have been a topic of hot conversation in the scientific world, with plenty of archaeologists now believing that some were covered in plumage.
Back in 1993, such evidence wasn’t yet popularly accepted and resulted in Spielberg rejecting suggestions that he blanket Jurassic Park’s reptiles in feathers.
That was in spite of on-set dinosaur expert Dr ‘Jack’ Horner – the real-life inspiration behind Dr Alan Grant – pushing Spielberg to do so. The director felt that scaly dinosaurs would be scarier than their feathery counterparts.
13. The coolest Easter egg in Jurassic Park
The other main dinosaur stars of Jurassic Park – the velociraptors – are present during the geekiest Easter egg moment in the entire flick.
During one climactic scene when the cast try to escape via a ceiling duct, one velociraptor stands in front of a projection of a repeating sequence of the letters A, C, T and G.
The letters stand for the amino acids adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine – the four base proteins that make up DNA.
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