Pop Culture | Movies | 90s

10 Things You Didn't Know About Jurassic Park

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If there was one obsession that united all kids who grew up in the '90s, it was dinosaurs. While animated movies like We're Back and The Land Before Time series helped spark our interest, it was Jurassic Park that cemented our love of dinosaurs, and our dreams of becoming paleontologists. While you might know all about dinosaurs, chances are you've never heard these behind-the-scenes facts about the making of Jurassic Park.


1) Everyone knew the movie was going to be huge

The bidding war for the right to adapt the novel Jurassic Park started before Michael Crichton was even done writing it. Steven Spielberg got a heads up about the upcoming book because Crichton was working on it while they were in talks over the screenplay that would eventually become ER.

But Spielberg and Universal weren't the only ones interested in getting the rights to make Jurassic Park. Other contenders included Tim Burton (with Warner Bros) and Gremlins director Joe Dante (with 20th Century Fox). Despite the competition, Spielberg was pretty much guaranteed to get the job, seeing as Crichton was open about the fact he was his first choice to direct it.


2) Laura Dern had a lot of competition for her role

There were a lot of big name actresses who could have played Dr. Ellie Sattler, the role ultimately played by Laura Dern. Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), Robin Wright (The Princess Bride), Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman), Linda Hamilton (Terminator), Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City), Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality), Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love), and Julianne Moore (The Big Lebowski) were all either offered the role or had tested for it at some point.

While Julianne Moore missed out on the starring role in the first Jurassic Park, she would get cast as paleontologist Sarah Harding - the girlfriend of Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm - in the 1997 sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

3) Ian Malcolm and Dr Ellie Sattler ended up together in real life

After meeting on set, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern dated for two years, and at one point were actually engaged.

The couple split up in 1997. Goldblum would later marry Canadian gymnast Emilie Livingston in 2014, with whom he has two children. Laura Dern, meanwhile, was married to Ben Harper (yeah, that Ben Harper) until 2013.

4) There's not nearly as many dinosaurs in it as you remember

Considering it's a movie about a park full of dinosaurs, the dinosaurs themselves don't have very much screen time. Out of the 127 minute run of the film, only about 15 minutes feature any of the dinosaurs on screen.

And of those 15 minutes, only about 6 minutes are of dinosaurs created using CGI, the rest of the effects were all made using animatronics and other physical props. Considering that over 20 years later the film not only doesn't look dated, but actually really good is a testament to how careful they were in creating the dinosaurs. It's hard not to get goosebumps watching the scene where they first reveal the dinosaurs.

5) One of the most famous dinosaurs was supposed to be very different

Hands down one of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Nedry gets what's coming to him thanks to an escaped dilophosaurus.


Now the dilophosaurus was a real dinosaur, but the two most iconic features of Nedry's karmic retribution were completely made up. The real thing didn't actually spit venom, that particular detail was one that Michael Crichton made up for his book. Actual dilophosauruses also didn't have that awesome-but-also-terrifying neck frill; that was a little detail made up by Steven Spielberg.


Find out about the famous cameo you never noticed and more Jurassic Park facts on the next page!

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