Jurassic Park without Ian Malcolm? Jeff Goldblum says it almost happened

Contributed by
Apr 2, 2018

It’s hard to imagine what this world would be like without some basic, essential things that we’ve sort of come to take for granted: refrigeration, pain-relieving anesthesia, omni-present internet, and Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, warning people about the dangers of playing God in Jurassic Park.

Yet Malcolm — and Goldblum along with him — was almost left out of the original 1993 movie, Goldblum recently revealed in a far-ranging discussion with the folks at Vanity Fair. Apparently, some members of the creative team had director Steven Spielberg’s ear for a hot minute during development, voicing the opinion that a different, Malcolm-free version of the screenplay would make more sense.

According to Goldblum, Spielberg told him early in the production process: “'You know, there's a sort of movement afoot with our little committee here, as we're rewriting another version of the script, to have that part removed from the script. So since we've had this meeting, there's this little wrinkle that may…render this moot.' ...I felt moved to advocate for my inclusion!”

In a near-departure from Michael Crichton’s story, the film version of Jurassic Park almost consolidated into a single character the two roles of Ian Malcolm and Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill. Goldblum said he always thought that was a bad idea, since the two characters reflect two distinctly different types of caution about their new, dinosaur-rich surroundings.

“The people want to make that character…sort of melded into the Sam Neill character,” Goldblum recalls Spielberg telling him. “I don't think Sam Neill was doing it yet, but the Alan Grant character — and I said, ‘No no no! — I think keep that character!’”

As we all know, life finds a way. Not only did Goldblum go on to establish Ian Malcolm’s oh-so-memorable (and meme-able) character in the first Jurassic Park; he went on to reprise the role for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and will appear once more in the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Malcolm’s ongoing (but probably futile) effort to get everybody to see reason will continue this summer, when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom stomps into theaters on June 22.