More than two decades after its release, 1993's Jurassic Park remains one of the iconic genre films of the 1990s. It's got scares, it's got laughs, it's got monsters, and it's got brilliant direction from Steven Spielberg. Apparently, though, one of the key elements of the film was almost very different.
In a new episode of the Nerdist podcast, recorded to promote her latest production, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, producer Kathleen Kennedy opened up about her career working with Spielberg, George Lucas and more. The whole conversation is worth hearing, as it covers everything from Spielberg's 1941 to the present, but as I was listening one particular bit of trivia stood out. While talking about the importance of "flexible" directors, Kennedy revealed that Jurassic Park almost played quite differently.
According to Kennedy's account, the cast and crew were "about halfway through the movie," and the story called for the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex to be killed off. Spielberg, who'd been paying close attention to the flow of the story, called her over and said, "The T rex is the star of the movie!" The director realized he couldn't kill his star, so Spielberg, Kennedy and production designer Rick Carter started talking about a new direction for the film's final act.
"We, literally right by the monitor, started to talk about how we were going to change the next scene, and the entire end of the film, as we were making it, so that we could keep our leading actor, the T Rex, alive," Kennedy said.
So, despite the on-the-spot nature of the realization, Kennedy, Spielberg and company made it work, and the film exists as we know it today, with the T rex returning in the movie's final moments to save our heroes from the velociraptors. The story is a welcome reminder that even the most brilliant storytellers don't see the right path on the first try, as well as a reminder of the importance of collaboration.