Bryce Dallas Howard is back in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to the 2015 film that revitalized the Jurassic Park franchise on the way to becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Yet while Howard's Claire Dearing has returned, plenty has changed since Jurassic World.
Behind the scenes, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow moved to an executive producer and co-writer role, with A Monster Calls director J. A. Bayona at the helm ofFallen Kingdom (Trevorrow is on board to direct the next Jurassic World film). And as for Claire, she's now a dinosaur rights activist, looking to save the cloned dinos from certain death on Isla Nublar, which is headed towards a major volcanic incident -- while Chris Pratt's Owen Grady is content to let them go extinct, again.
In a one-on-one interview with CBR, Howard discussed how her character changed between the two films, and her excitement over Fallen Kingdom taking things out of the park and into civilization. Howard also shared her insight into the criticism over her character in the 2015 original -- most notably, Claire traversing around the jungle in high heels -- saying that she sees the shows as "a metaphor for her power," and that she actually saw more action than Chris Pratt in the fist Jurassic World.
CBR: Bryce, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom feels like a different type of Jurassic film for a few reasons. What stands out for you as things you really liked that make this movie different?
Bryce Dallas Howard: I think the biggest thing is that we're leaving the island. This is the fifth Jurassic Park movie, this has been a story that's been relatively contained for the most part, because it's had basically this one location. Now, with this extinction-level event happening on the island -- which obviously is the inciting incident for this movie -- it's either, the dinosaurs all die, or Pandora's box is opened yet again. That's ultimately where we end up.
Another place where this film is going, where Jurassic hasn't gone before, is pushing the science even further, and asking even bigger questions about what happens if this technology falls into the wrong hands. That's something that is exciting, because by the end of it, you're like, "Whoa. This is becoming truly a Jurassic World."
This is also the first time you've played a character twice -- what was that experience like for you, and at this point, how close do you personally feel to Claire? How invested are you in this character?
The way that I look at Claire is, Claire is almost like a cousin to me. [Laughs] I'm different from her, but maybe not as much as I even think. The first story was really a huge arc for her, whereas Chris' character, Owen, really was the constant. By the end of the movie, she's a completely different individual, and somebody who's reconnected to her humanity.
Going into this movie, I did a little bit of research and talked to some people who had made the choice in their life to become activists, and to really dedicate themselves to a cause. Again, and again, and again, I heard the same story -- there's a defining moment, there's kind of a before and after with that moment, and people completely change, or their perspective completely changed. That is exactly what happens to Claire.
It's cool, because in a way, it's Claire, but it's a side of Claire that's even new to her, and that for me was fun to play.
Was it surprising to you seeing that character go in that direction, becoming a dinosaur rights activist? Given how the last movie went, she could have gone the other way.
It wasn't a surprise, because when we were doing the first movie, this is kind of the direction we were headed in. By the end of the film, it's a woman who has become a hero, and that heroism goes even further -- the heroes of today are activists, much more than movie stars or sports heroes, or even politicians. Activists are the true heroes of our world. It felt natural, even though it was ultimately a very different narrative for her in this movie than the last.
You've talked about it before, but there was a good amount of criticism in how your character was depicted in the last film. Following that initial criticism three years later, what's your perspective on how the film addresses that, and portrays Claire a little bit differently this time around?
I didn't see it like that, honestly. I know there was a lot of hoo-ha around the heels. [Laughs] I was like, "What should I have done? Gone barefoot?" No thank you. Of course I'm not dressing for the office as if I'm going to end up in the jungle. Who does that? That's why it was really important to me in this movie, in that first image of Claire, you see that she's going to the office and she's wearing high heels. This woman has gone through a huge journey, but that was more of a metaphor for her power, as opposed to how folks were critiquing that.
I think with this film, it's a continuation of this same narrative that began in the first Jurassic World -- I guess it stated in Jurassic Park -- that women inherit the Earth.
On a similar note, the relationship between Owen and Claire, by nature of how the story has progressed, is different here -- it feels more like equal participants in the action. What do you like about how that dynamic has evolved?
You mean no more Chris cowering in the corner with children while I save his life? It's a little bit more even in this one. [Laughs]
I love the dynamic between Claire and Owen. It's interesting, because in the first film, Owen doesn't really show up until the second act. Claire is more the point-of-view character. While that's still the case for this one, she's someone in the second film who stays more constant, whereas Owen is the one who goes on more of a journey. In the beginning, he's like, "No, I don't want to go to the island. That's going to turn out badly! Yes, the dinosaurs should go extinct." His character, similar to Claire in the first movie, feels completely differently by the end of the movie than the conviction that he showed at the beginning. That was kind of a clear shift between the two, and certainly informed a shift in our dynamic.
I should be really crystal clear about this: In the first movie, I did more action than Chris. [Laughs] It's true, and there was a narrative spun around the heels that had nothing to do with the movie. The truth of the movie is exactly what I said. At the end, Chris is with the kids and I'm saving the day. That beat was something that we played with, and we had fun with at the end of Fallen Kingdom, but this has always been a story that first and foremost has been from the perspective of a female protagonist, and is ultimately about partnership. I think that's something that's fresh in regards to this franchise. I really like that, and I really appreciate that. And it was really fun.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is in theaters on Friday.