The film that sparked one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, 1993’s Jurassic Park is a thriller that sticks with us to this day. Spielberg brought a realism to dinosaurs that hadn’t been seen before. Here are 10 things you might not have known about the film…
1) Spielberg had the studio acquire the rights before the book was published
Author Michael Crichton had several novels under his belt by the time he started working on Jurassic Park. He was working on a screenplay with Steven Spielberg for a drama set in a hospital (a screenplay that would later go on to become ER) when Spielberg asked him, ‘so what’s your next novel about?’ When Crichton told him about the plot for his upcoming novel, Jurassic Park, Spielberg absolutely fell in love with the idea, and knew he had to have it. He got onto Universal, and ensured they acquired the rights as soon as possible. By May 1990, they had secured the rights – and the novel hadn’t even gone into print yet.
2) The team who built the Terminator exoskeleton worked on the dinosaurs
Stan Winston, who created the famous exoskeleton in The Terminator, was brought in to work on the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park. After it became obvious that full-scale animatronics would be way too expensive to construct, they settled mostly on creating just parts of dinosaurs – a head, or legs – whatever the camera was focusing on in the scene.
3) Sean Connery was considered for John Hammond
Spielberg had worked with Sean Connery for 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and that’s one of the reasons the treasured Scottish actor was considered for the role of Jurassic Park’s eccentric founder, John Hammond. But he didn’t take the role and, instead, Spielberg coaxed Richard Attenborough out of retirement to play the part. Attenborough hadn’t acted for 15 years before Jurassic Park was made.
4) Attenborough slept through the biggest hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history
Whilst filming Jurassic Park on location, Hurricane Iniki hit the Hawaiian island where the cast and crew were staying. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the island since records began, and Richard Attenborough was alleged to have slept through the storm undisturbed. When asked how he’d managed to snooze through such veracious and violent winds and rains, he simply replied that it was nothing after surviving the Blitz in WWII.
5) The dinosaur noises were a cocktail of animal sounds
The sound effects team mixed together a lot of noises from non-extinct animals to arrive at the dinosaur roars and sounds we know and love today. Tiger roars, alligator snarls, and the tooting of baby elephants all played a part in finding the perfect vocals for a T rex.
6) Palaeontologists were consulted a lot during the film
The teams in charge of designing what the dinosaurs looked like, and how they’d move and react to situations in the film, had frequent correspondence with leading paleontologists. They wanted to ensure that every part of the dinosaurs they were constructing looked as true to life as possible – from the size, to the skin, to the claws and teeth. However, the studio weren’t keen on how a T rex’s teeth looked in real life – they were curved, and not very threatening. So, for dramatic effect, they suggested switching to the sharpened, pointed teeth that are synonymous with Hollywood monsters, and that’s exactly what Spielberg did.
7) Joseph Mazzelo originally auditioned for Hook
No stranger to Spielberg productions, Joseph Mazzelo, who plays John Hammond’s grandson Tim in Jurassic Park, had auditioned for a role in 1991’s Hook, but was turned down on account of being too young for the part. Spielberg instead invited him back for the role in Jurassic Park. You may have seen Joseph much more recently in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. He plays bassist John Deacon.
8) The rippling cup effect was created by strumming a guitar string
One of the most iconic scenes in the film is where the car has stopped in the power outage, and a cup of water on the dashboard starts to ripple with a dinosaur’s approaching foot steps. This rippling cup has been parodied countless times in films and on TV shows since.But what was really making the cup ripple like that, on set? A special effects supervisor was underneath the cup, plucking a guitar.
9) George Lucas finished up the film
After filming all the scenes for Jurassic Park, Spielberg didn’t have time to oversee all the post production responsibilities, because he had to rush off to start work on Schindler’s List. Spielberg had actually wanted to make Schindler’s List before Jurassic Park, but the studio insisted he had to make the dinosaur blockbuster first. That meant another director had to step in to finish up on Jurassic Park. Who did Spielberg trust with this role?
10) Jeff Goldbum made his character more heroic
In the scene where the T-rex is coming towards the car, the original script had Dr Ian Malcolm run away from it, scared; abandoning the children. Jeff Goldblum approached Spielberg with the idea that – instead of running away – he should light up the flares and get the T-rex to chase him instead, as it would be much for thrilling to watch, and it would make Ian Malcolm more heroic and likeable.
Jurassic Park Gift Guide
Love Jurassic Park, or know someone that does? Why not treat yourself or a friend to one of the goodies from our Jurassic Park gift guide?
Check it out: Jurassic Park Gift Ideas