It’s only fitting that Jurassic Park is a franchise that was rescued from extinction. For a while there, it seemed like the series was seeing diminishing returns. The Spielberg-helmed sequel, Lost World, was nowhere near as entertaining as the first movie and the third installment was more or less forgettable. It looked like this series about ancient dinos had finally gone extinct.
However, Jurassic World brought everything back to life faster than John Hammond’s laboratory ever could. It was led by Chris Pratt, who was fresh off the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. He loaned some much-needed energy and charm to the franchise, even as the franchise returned to its roots.
The sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, has made its way to theaters and it's worth our own return to the roots of the franchise. Even after all these years, there are still many secrets behind the first movie that even the most hardcore fans don’t know. Every new secret you unearth means that you get a fuller picture of this awesome movie, just like Dr. Grant digging for fossils.
Some of these behind the scenes details include times that the cast nearly got killed due to malfunctioning machinery. Other secrets let you know the real story about how your favorite scenes came to life, while some secrets give you tantalizing glimpses of the movie that we almost had.
Ready to uncover some fossils and put the big picture together? You don’t need to call Dr. Grant. All you have to do is keep scrolling to check out 15 Things You Never Knew About The Original Jurassic Park Movie!
15 T-REX CAME THROUGH GLASS
Everybody remembers the classic scene where the two children, Lex and Tim Murphy, are in an overturned jeep, while the T-Rex starts coming through the glass. It’s a genuinely terrifying scene, but it turns out that the kids were screaming because things were getting too real!
Even the most iconic scenes can be caused by accidents.
As the actor playing Tim (Joseph Mazzello) recalls, the original stunt did not call for the T-Rex to break the glass. Instead, it was simply meant to get close to the glass and give the kids (and audience) a good view of the giant creature. Unfortunately, the T-Rex accidentally went down too far, causing the glass to start cracking. Those child actors’ screams were very genuine. They didn’t know what was going on!
14 HIRED BY A SCREAM
Speaking of screams, it turns out that this was how Ariana Richards (who played the young girl Lex Murphy) ended up getting the job. When she went in for her audition for the film, a part of it was to demonstrate her scream. Later on, Spielberg would review all of the candidates and that’s when things got weird.
While the director was reviewing the audition tapes, which meant he had to listen to scream after scream from various child actors, none of these disturbed the rest of his household. When he listened to Ariana Richards screaming, his wife came out of the bedroom concerned that something had happened to one of their children. Based on her ability to make people genuinely scared, Richards got the gig.
13 IMPROVISED HERO
The character of Dr. Ian Malcolm ended up being a surprise hit in the movie, due largely to the charm of actor Jeff Goldblum. He seemed to make the most out of each of his scenes, even when that meant going off script. In a couple of cases, it led to two of the movie’s most memorable scenes!
A little improvisation never hurt a film. In this case, Ian Malcolm became an unsuspected hero.
The first was when he used flares to distract the T-Rex to save the children. The script simply called for him to run away and abandon them, but Goldblum wanted to be more heroic. He also improvised the scene where Malcolm unbuttoned his shirt and struck a pose, a moment which has now been immortalized in Funko Pop form. It turns out Jeff Goldblum really does make every scene better!
12 FAKE FACTS
For better or for worse, the insane success of the first Jurassic Park movie made the public more aware of dinosaurs than ever before. The movie brought names like “velociraptor” into our common vocabulary and helped generally raise scientific awareness of dinos. Unfortunately, a lot of that science is just outright wrong!
Raptors were generally only half a meter high and they should have had feathers (more on that later). Also, they should not have had giant talons on each foot. If that’s not bad enough, the dilophosaurus was also way too short and they completely made up its ability to spit poison. It turns out that a big blockbuster movie is a pretty bad way of learning actual science. Sorry, Mr. DNA!
11 GIFT OF RAPTORS
One of the reasons that Steven Spielberg is such a legendary director is the relationship that he has with his cast. He’s not afraid to go big in showing his appreciation for them and, for this movie, he went all out and got each of the main cast members a signed, life-size model of a velociraptor as a wrap (or should that be “rap”) gift!
Who wouldn't want a life-size raptor model?
It didn’t take the cast too long to find weird things to do with the gifts. Ariana Richards likes to post it near the front door of her house to freak out new guests, while Laura Dern kept it close to her son’s crib (until he started freaking out). Ironically, Goldblum was one of the more normal ones. He simply placed his in a special spot in his home like a trophy.
10 IT WAS ALMOST STOP-MOTION
Part of what made Jurassic Park such a legendary movie was how it blended CGI and practical effects. Even though there is far less CGI in the movie than most people remember, this was still the film that sold the world on CGI’s ability to bring new worlds to life. However, can you believe the movie almost had no CGI at all?
The movie was originally going to use stop-motion animation and it would be overseen by stop-motion legend Phil Tippett. However, some ILM animators in charge of adding motion blur went ahead and put together a reel of CGI animation. Obviously, Spielberg was hooked and he abandoned the stop-motion idea. A shocked Tippett reportedly exclaimed “I’ve just become extinct,” which was such a good line that Spielberg adapted it for the movie!
9 IT ALMOST STARRED HARRISON FORD
Sam Neill’s performance as Dr. Alan Grant was nothing short of iconic. It’s difficult at this point to imagine the role going to anyone else. However, the role could have gone to someone entirely different. Someone who, in fact, had a long history of working with Steven Spielberg. Who are we talking about? Harrison Ford, of course!
It would be interesting to see if Ford's iconic "I have a bad feeling about this" line would have made an appearance in the film.
The director revealed this to the world in a pretty entertaining way. Back in 2011, he and Ford were both at a 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark and taking questions from fans. Ford made a joke that Spielberg never bothered to cast him as anything other than Indiana Jones, and the director pointed out that Ford was the very first person he offered the role of Alan Grant!
8 SAM NEILL INJURED HIMSELF
As we said earlier, Jurassic Park is known for its groundbreaking use of CGI. However, there were a lot more practical effects than digital ones, which is why the movie holds up so well. Sometimes those effects come at a cost. Like when Sam Neill managed to injure himself during a stunt. It all started with those flares.
The flares played a pretty prominent role in the movie, and they were used to great effect by both Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm. However, in an early take of the scene where Sam Neill uses a flare to distract a T-rex, he spilled burning phosphorous on himself. If that’s not bad enough, it got under his watch and burned his arm!
7 THEY WEREN’T JURASSIC
It’s no surprise that “Jurassic” is another word that this movie turned into a household name. It is meant to refer to the specific period of time in which these particular species that Dr. Hammond recreated actually lived. However, we’ve got some bad news. The entire name of the movie is wrong! If they were being honest, it would have been called “Cretaceous Park” instead.
A few inaccuracies never hurt anyone, even if the period of the movie's title was off by 79 million years.
There are fifteen species of dinosaurs featured in the movie. The vast majority of them come from the Cretaceous period, instead of the Jurassic period. This includes some of the most famous dinosaurs, such as the T-Rex and the Velociraptor. There were still some Jurassic critters in the movie, like the Dilophosaurus and the Stegosaurus. For the most part, the Jurassic name is just outright wrong!
6 GEORGE LUCAS HELPED OUT
When Jurassic Park first came out, many people assumed George Lucas was taking a break. After all, Return of the Jedi had come out ten years before and this was still years before he started working on the prequels. However, here’s a secret worthy of digging out of a fossil. George Lucas helped complete Jurassic Park!
This was a really busy period of time for Steven Spielberg and he ran into a problem. It was taking so long to oversee post-production on Jurassic Park that he couldn’t start shooting Schindler’s List. So George Lucas came in, along with future Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, to oversee post-production and free Spielberg up for his next jaw-dropping film.
5 ATTENBOROUGH SLEPT THROUGH A HURRICANE
Younger fans may not realize just how major it was that Spielberg got Richard Attenborough to play John Hammond. The famous actor had retired, but he came out of retirement to star in this legendary movie. However, one day a hurricane threatened the entire cast and crew, and they got to find out that Attenborough was a legend in his own right, as he continued to sleep through it! Talk about extreme napping and thankully Richard Attenborough was okay.
Most of Jurassic Park was shot in Hawaii. During filming, Hurricane Iniki struck the islands of Hawaii. It was one of the biggest hurricanes to hit the area. The hurricane ended up destroying several of the sets, so it’s a good thing that Spielberg and the cast and crew safely took shelter in a hotel basement. However, Attenborough did not take shelter. That's because he was sleeping and continued to sleep through the storm. He later explained to a confused Spielberg, “Dear boy, I survived the blitz!”
4 GOLDBLUM LOUDLY READ THE SCRIPT
Jeff Goldblum ended up stealing every scene he was in. Part of this is due to his natural charisma, but part of it may just be that he’s a good study. He read the script backwards and forwards, until he knew it by heart. While that’s the process many actors follow, his exact method of learning the script weirded some of the cast out.
Young Ariana Richards recalls that Goldblum did not like to quietly read the script. Instead, he would simultaneously read the script out loud and speed read, giving him the appearance of someone having a bit of a panic. Whatever his method, it worked. Goldblum has the most memorable line delivery of the entire cast!
3 CLASSIC BAND, CLASSIC SCENE
In a movie full of iconic moments, there is one scene more iconic than any other. The scene in the question is the one where the glass of water in the Jeep is rippling as the T-Rex gets closer and closer. Many have wondered how Spielberg was inspired to shoot such a suspenseful scene. It all started quite unexpectedly with the band Earth, Wind, & Fire. Inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places. For Spielberg, it was listening to his favorite band in his car.
Spielberg is a big fan of the band and had cranked their music really loud in his car one day. When he noticed the bass making the rearview mirror shake, he thought it would be cool if an approaching T-Rex caused the car to vibrate. The idea eventually morphed into the glass of water, but Spielberg honored his musical inspiration by using a guitar string beneath the cup to cause the ripples.
2 DR. GRANT WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE FEATHERS
Because Jurassic Park came out back in 1993, a lot of their knowledge about dinosaurs was more theoretical. This is why Dr. Alan Grant hedges his bets a bit when he says that “maybe” dinosaurs have more in common with modern birds than with reptiles. He’s referring to the theory of feathered dinosaurs and it turns out that history proved him right!
As early as three years after the movie came out, different scientists started discovering various breeds of dinosaurs that definitively had feathers. While not all dinosaurs had feathers (the T-Rex, for instance, did not), the feathers represented an evolutionary shift for the dinos, which is one of the reasons that Dr. Grant smiles as he sees the birds at the end of the movie. Keep smiling, Doc. Your theories have been validated!
1 THE T-REX WAS ALIVE...KIND OF
The T-Rex was the scariest creature to the characters in the movie. It was large, powerful, and completely terrifying. Even after all these years and all these sequels, it remains the most iconic part of Jurassic Park.
The T-Rex ended up being terrifying to the cast and crew because it had a tendency to come to life!
Practical effects powered the T-Rex, including a complex hydraulics system. Several scenes were shot in the rain, meaning that it absorbed lots of water and started acting up. This meant that it would come to life and start moving at weird times, like when they were eating lunch. That must have been a terrifying lunch for the cast and crew. Imagine a robotic T-Rex coming to life, while you're trying to enjoy your sandwich.Kathleen Kennedy recalls hearing people screaming when they thought the movie monster had taken on a life of its own!
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