From a lowly private in "Full Metal Jacket" to Hell's Kitchen's Kingpin of Crime in "Daredevil," veteran actor Vincent D'Onofrio has climbed the Hollywood ranks in terms of characters and roles he's played throughout his decades-long career -- and knocked it out of the park every time.
But this Friday, he enters a whole new park. One filled with deadly, dangerous, razor-sharp-teethed pre-historic creatures.
In "Jurassic World" -- the latest chapter in the highly successful film series that began with the Steven Spielberg-directed "Jurassic Park" in 1993 -- the dinosaur-filled theme park originally just a dream in the first film has been up and running for over two decades. However, as attendance begins to slowly wane, the corporate powers-that-be decide to up the wow factor by genetically engineering their own dinosaur, one bigger, badder and smarter than the rest.
You can probably see how this all goes horribly wrong.
In the film, D'Onofrio plays Vic Hoskins, the head of security for "Jurassic World" bioengineering division, InGen, and a man with some interesting ideas about uses for genetically modified dinosaurs. The actor spoke with SPINOFF about the role, his time on set with Chris Pratt and being punching the face.
SPINOFF ONLINE: Jurassic Park is very a revered and huge part of cinematic history. What's it like being part of this new chapter?
Vincent D'Onofrio: It feels great! It's an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime, and it was fantastic to be asked to do it. The whole journey -- reading the original script, meeting the cast, hanging out with the director, Colin [Trevorrow], -- was fantastic. It's just great!
Where you a fan of the original "Jurassic Park?"
Oh yeah. I remembering reading the book all in one sitting while on a plane and then hearing not much longer after that, that [Steven] Spielberg was going to do it. Anybody that saw that original movie when it came out in theaters, we all have something great in common because of that. There's a laundry list of images that come from that movie that were spectacular -- just spectacular -- to watch. So, there's a lot of nostalgia involved.
In that regard, when you saw the sets on this film and walked into that world, how did it make you feel as a fan of both the book and the original film?
Oh, it was so cool. The answer is exactly what you would imagine. It's so cool! What else can I say? You're seeing the jeep from one movie and flying in the helicopter from another movie, you see this statue of [John] Hammond and the logo everywhere -- it's fantastic. It's exactly what you would imagine it being like.
You share a lot of scenes with Chris Pratt, and the two of you butt heads a lot in this movie, which is interesting on a couple levels. One: you both play Marvel characters on opposite sides. Two: you've played a lot of roles including a lot of comedic ones -- Edgar in "Men in Black" being a prime example -- and Chris is known for his comedy. So, what was it like between takes with the two of you?
Chris and I had a great time. We just got along so well. We're doing "The Magnificent Seven" together right now, and we just hit it off like gangbusters. We have the same sense of humor. I mean, he's funnier that I am, obviously, but we find the same things funny, I should say. So, he had me laughing the whole time. We just got along like bros. It was really great, and we picked right back up where we left off now that we're doing "Magnificent Seven." He's such a super talented and great guy.
There's one scene in the movie where he comes out and straight up punches you in the face. I'm curious about a scene like that because you're a pretty big guy but Chris is a pretty fit guy after that intense "Guardians" workout, and sometimes actors actually get slapped or punched accidently. Did you tell him, "Okay, take the swing and please don't hit me?"
[Laughs] It's always a weird thing. I have been hit before -- for real -- in a movie by accident by a stuntman and it gave me six stitches on my forehead.
Yeah. I won't tell you when or where, but it was on the first take. The director said action and bam! I get hit with brass knuckles. So, I know what that can be like. But with someone like Chris, who is a really level-headed dude and really good on his feet, you know a guy like that will work it out with you. We knew exactly what to do. I've been selling punches -- is what they call it -- for years, so I know how to react well to a punch and he knows how to throw a punch so it was perfectly safe.
As we mentioned, you and Chris are both part both of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Did you guys talk about the Marvel stuff on set?
All the time. All the time we talked about it. I mean, not literally every second but yeah. And don't forget Ty [Simpkins] was also in [Iron Man 3], so there were three Marvel actors there. We would boast about how the Marvel actors were just one notch above everybody else. [Laughs]
Did you discuss who would win in an actual fight: Kingpin or Starlord?
[Laughs] No, but it would be so cool though if we actually ended up in the same movie and faced off. You know, there is actually an obscure comic where Kingpin is in space. When you play a character like that, fans come up to you and say, "Did you know Kingpin did this and Kingpin did that?" And you're like, "Really?" It's interesting.
Speaking of playing characters, when you get a character like the one you play in "Jurassic World," who has some ideas that are very interesting, to say the least – ideas that most people would say, "Well, that's crazy talk" – how do you get into the head of someone like that and sell what he's trying to sell?
It's exactly like that. You have to be totally committed to it. You have to believe in that opinion and think that everyone else is wrong -- and eventually that you'll turn them around. Whether it happens or not is a different story, but in my mind -- and the character's mind -- as we do in real life, we're on a mission and we're going to succeed. I hear those other words coming at me and I duck and bob to get my point across so I can get done what I need to get done.
You've certainly had experience playing a wide range of characters and in different genres: from "Criminal Intent" and "Full Metal Jacket" to "Jurassic World" and "Daredevil." How do you keep pace with all of it? How are you feeling after such a long and diverse career?
Now of these days, I'm having more fun than I ever have being an actor. Not just because of the projects I'm doing but my kids are growing up -- I still have 7-year-old, but the other two are growing up -- I've been married for 18 years and my marriage is awesome. Life is different than when I was younger. When you're younger, there's so many questions about life. What is your life going to be like? But now of these days, I know what my life is going to be like. It's a much more fun place to be. I know what I want my life to be like, and this is how I want it -- the way I'm living it. So, the kind of roles I'm getting are much more interesting than when I was younger -- other than "Full Metal Jacket," "The Whole Wide World" and "Men in Black." Those were interesting parts. The other ones were good parts, but okay parts. I was lucky to have them but not great, great roles. These days, I get very interesting roles and I'm loving that.
In regards to what's next, you know I have to ask: "Daredevil" Season Two announced, so are you excited to get back into that role?
[Laughs] Yeah, I can't go there. They told me I cannot say anything!
Fair enough! To end, the original "Jurassic Park" saw the sort of test run of the park, whereas in this film, the park has been up and running for quite some time. Watching this movie, you see the park and it admittedly looks actually kind of cool and fun. If this was an actual theme park, would you go?
Fuck no! No way! Not if it was like that! I mean, I'd go to it -- maybe -- if they had little dinosaurs, but no way would I go anywhere near anything like that. It's one of those things where you have to be a certain type of person. Like, would you go to the moon if they asked and said, "You can pack up today and go to the moon," would you go?
I think maybe?
Ah! See, I would be very skeptical about it. I would be like, "You know what? Other people can do it for a while and then maybe I'll go." I'll let the guinea pigs go first and set the course, and then, when that's all done, I might go to Jurassic World.
You're going to be reading a newspaper and see "Random Reporter Dies on Trip to Moon," and say, "Well, I told him not to do it."
"Jurassic World," directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson and BD Wong, arrives in theaters June 12, 2015.