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How Jurassic Park and a letter from Amblin turned one 'punk kid' into an actor

Contributed by
Jun 12, 2018

It’s safe to say that 25 years ago, seeing dinosaurs come alive right before our eyes in Jurassic Park had a profound effect on many of us. But you’d be hard-pressed to be as impacted by the film as Andrew Briedis.

In honor of the film’s silver anniversary, Briedis, an actor turned writer (he’s got one 2017 credit for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and another uncredited appearance as the “Boy with Bike” in 2000’s Almost Famous) and a former backup dancer for Beyoncé (according to his Twitter bio) tweeted out a heartwarming little thread about how Jurassic Park and Steven Spielberg changed the trajectory of his life, so much so that he felt compelled to tattoo this to the back of his impressively toned calf...

See, back in 1993, when Briedis was but a wee one, he was “kinda a punk kid who cried a lot and hated trying new things.” He had just quit sports, and his mom was at her wits end trying to find an activity where young Andrew could displace all his punkish energy. One of her suggestions was youth theater, which uppity Andrew rejected with a hardy “f*** no.” 

Then he saw Jurassic Park, and his visceral reaction to the film wasn’t so much about how cool dinosaurs are, but more so about why the heck wasn’t he in this movie? He instinctively knew he had the chops, and couldn’t quite grasp how Joseph Mazzello (Tim, the little kid) could be in the film instead of him. 

After seeing Jurassic Park nine times over the course of that summer, and staying 'till the end credits to envision his name popping up every time, those feelings only grew more distasteful. Finally, his mom, “ever the doer,” said to him, "Well if you want to be in Jurassic Park that badly, why don't you just write Steven Spielberg and ask him to be in the next one?" And then, pre-Google, she somehow found the address for Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg’s production company.

So Briedis writes Spielberg a letter “in terrible child handwriting,” and explains that he’d love to be in a Jurassic sequel, and that acting is "in his blood" since his great uncle was in films back in the ‘30s, and also happened to be Cary Grant’s BFF.

No, Spielberg didn’t write the kiddo back, but a few weeks later, Amblin’s head of PR did, and explained how the casting process works.

Immediately upon reading the letter, Biedis told his mom that youth theater sounded like a great idea, and he’d like to try out for that play now. And that’s how he got into theater, “Because someone important took the time to help a kid.”

Twenty-five years later, acting led to writing, and Briedis found himself at the season finale of SNL, where he got to see his first writing credit scroll across the screen. And guess who was in the audience: Steven Spielberg. 

Briedis attributes some of that success to this first big lesson his mother taught him: “If you want something bad enough, go straight to the source. Don't waste your time wondering. Dream bigger than you can imagine.”

Like dino-sized big.