In the context of the franchise, "Jurassic Park" simply would not exist were it not for Dr. Henry Wu -- the chief genetic engineer for InGen and the man responsible developing the ability to clone and breed dinosaurs.
And without him, as the man responsible for creating the Indominous Rex, there would be no "Jurassic World" -- which, if you ask park attendees, might have been a good thing.
Actor BD Wong -- known for his roles on "Oz," "Law & Order: SVU" and more -- spoke with Spinoff Online about stepping back into the role of Dr. Henry Wu, returning to the "Jurassic Park" franchise after two decades and blowing fans' minds on Twitter.
You were there at the beginning of this franchise -- literally in the room when that velociraptor hatched from its egg in "Jurassic Park." What's it like being back again for this latest installment?
BD Wong: I think it's awesome! I didn't really think about it that much, because I go from project to project and you don't necessarily look at things globally. But, well, people still treat me like I'm some sort of war veteran or something. Like, I was there and I lived to tell the tale. Colin [Trevorrow] and Steven [Spielberg] were both super, super great to me and gentlemanly in welcoming to me onto the set. So, it felt great. It felt special in some ways. It's a unique experience.
Do you still get people that see you on the street and say, "Jurassic Park!" I imagine you probably also get "SVU!" as well.
Yeah! Well, the interesting thing is that it comes from everywhere, which tells me that I did what I wanted to do and that's to not do the same thing too long. So, that's a positive thing for me.
From your experiences both from "Jurassic Park" to now "Jurassic World," what's changed to you?
A lot of it was surprisingly similar, and I loved that. There was a real sense of consistency with a lot of it. But, I will say, clearly technology and sensibilities and the world has totally changed since that first movie, and a franchise like this can actually help you understand how the world has changed. There are things in the first movie that aren't in this movie and vice versa, and that is indicative of how the world has evolved -- no pun intended -- and I think that's interesting. I did not have as much involvement in the special effects for this movie and didn't really interact with it in this movie, whereas I did in the first movie, so that's also different for me. But other than that, there was a lot of consistency. I felt like I was in a movie that was an extension of that first movie and wasn't completely out of left field. Colin is very reverent about how he recreated the world or returns to it or refers to it [in the film], and to his credit, this movie gives you a vibe of "Jurassic Park" that the other two [sequels] don't.
You talked about Colin's reverence for the first film and that world, and looking at your character, Dr. Henry Wu, in the first film, he feels like there's nothing wrong with what they're doing -- almost as though it's their duty to do so in the name of science. In this movie, he seems to have almost the same mentality.
Yeah. I totally agree that it's logical -- that bridge between the person you see in the first movie and the person you see in this one. Even though he's grown and is much older and he's in a completely different position, it does seem to me that the person in the first movie could end up to be this person. Having said that, when I first walked onto the set, I was thinking, "Gosh, I don't know if I can relate to this guy and what he's doing." It's really intense what's going on. Where is he coming from? I think I've come around since then. I've never done anything even remotely like what he's done with his life and with his work. He's pushed the envelope to the point where he's simply doing astounding, game-changing, world-changing things. So, it does seem super logical to me that a person who is doing that would acknowledge the importance of what they're doing and think in terms of changing the world and then turn a blind-eye -- or be somewhat delusional about or justify -- any consequences that occur from it. I can see someone like that saying, "Yeah, all these bad things are happening, but we can way, way, way compensate for all that because the research being done is so monumental, it's worth it." Now, I'm not saying I agree with that. I'm just saying it's believable he would think that way.
What was it like meeting with and working with Colin, who is such a big fan of the films, and you being veteran from that franchise?
I think he did an incredible job. From a writing standpoint, from a franchise standpoint and from a directing standpoint, he did an unbelievably good job. I do remember picking up on his enthusiasm for the franchise immediately. I was skeptical anything would come of it because he had called me really early in the process and said, "This is what I want to happen. Are you game to do this?" And I said, "I would love to! That sounds great!" But I wasn't sure it would happen because things change all the time and it can evolve into something else. Months went by and he called me back and said without any hesitation, "This is what we have and I'll think you'll really like it." So, I went through the process where I had to go to the production office to read the script -- you go into this closed room and you read it, and then you have to return it when you're done -- and I said, "Wow. He did what he said he was going to do, and I really like it."
And as it went along, I was like, "This guy knows what he's talking about." His enthusiasm is palpable. Everyone who worked on that movie can tell you this: from the top down, his enthusiasm was so obvious that everybody was so into it and so happy. You don't feel like you're making a fourth movie of a franchise that's getting burnt out. You feel like you're doing something super fresh.
Vincent D'Onofrio is also in this film, and he's also from the world of "Law & Order," except where you're from "SVU," he's from "Criminal Intent." The two of you don't share any direct scenes in this movie, but did you guys get to talk at all or swap "Law & Order" stories?"
No, but we did meet, and he's such a funny guy. He's the type of guy that nods across the room to you and there is something acknowledged in that nodding. It's like, "I know who you are. We have this random shared existence." It's actually the third time I've been in the same movie with him. So, we've worked together before, oddly, and seen each other at table readings, but we don't really know each other.
The last question I have is a little random, but along with "Jurassic Park" and "Law & Order" callouts from fans, do you also get "Mulan" shout-outs since you were the voice of Captain Shang?
[Laughs] What's fun about that is that people don't always know that it's me. They get to know me from some other thing and then discover that it's me and it blows their mind in a weird way. That happens a lot. It's a really common thing on my Twitter feed that people say that their minds are blown. And it's a touchstone for me in my career because a lot of things came together on that project that I really wanted to happen. It was kind of a milestone because it was an Asian movie, an Asian animated movie, and they used Asian actors, so I'm into that movie because of all of it.
"Jurassic World," directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring BD Wong, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson and more, arrives in theaters June 12, 2015.