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Bad Robot Co-Founder Once "Scammed" His Way onto Set of The Lost World: Jurassic Park
The co-founders of Bad Robot had dealings with Steven Spielberg long before they officially broke into the industry.
In the summer of 2011, Bad Robot and Amblin Entertainment linked arms for the release of Super 8, writer-director J.J. Abrams' heartfelt throwback to the classic films of Steven Spielberg, who served as an executive producer on the movie.
But you probably knew that already, right? What you may not be aware of is that the two key individuals behind the Bad Robot production banner enjoyed previous dealings with Spielberg long before they officially broke into the industry. As a teenager, for instance, J.J. Abrams was tasked with restoring Spielberg's old 8mm home movies alongside his childhood friend, Matt Reeves.
But maybe you've heard that story, too? Well, here's one we guarantee is not common knowledge: Bad Robot co-founder Bryan Burk once crossed paths with Spielberg in the late '90s by finagling his way onto the set of Jurassic Park: The Lost World (now streaming on Peacock), which used Burbank as a stand-in for the daddy T. rex's nighttime rampage through the streets of San Diego.
Bad Robot co-founder once "scammed" his way onto set of Jurassic Park sequel
"I think I was in development and hoping to become a producer. They were shooting Lost World in Burbank and I happened to be there and saw them shooting it on a street," he told SYFY WIRE on a Zoom call back in 2021 while reflecting on the making of Super 8 for the movie's 10th anniversary. "Somehow, I scammed my way in. I’d never met Steven before and I was just the biggest fan in the world and somehow or another, I ended up in video village."
However, he managed it, Burk now had a front-row seat to the moment where a fully-grown T. rex slams its head against the city bus. Of course, there was no dinosaur present at the time, just a cadre of VFX specialists overseen by Dennis Muren — all of whom were setting up the shot to the director's specifications.
"The shot’s ready to go and it’s a big crane arm and as the bus is coming down, the camera cranes up and then the dinosaurs slams into it," added Burk, who had been bracing himself to be discovered and kicked off the set at any moment. And yet, his presence continued to go unnoticed. "I remember Steven looking at the shot for the first time and then I hear him say, ‘Yeah, I like the shot, but instead of the camera going up, why don’t we have the camera come down, so that the dinosaur’s looming larger in the shot?’"
"Keep in mind: there’s a gazillion people around and they’re hemorrhaging money," the producer continued. "They’re shutting off streets and all they need is this one shot and they have to implode the bus. Steven looked at it, in the middle of this craziness, and he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s a good shot, but instead of the camera going up, what if we bring the camera down, so it’s looking down and the dinosaur’s looking larger against the bus?’ That small change made the shot 10 times more fantastic. At that moment, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why he’s Steven Spielberg.’ It’s the way he’s constantly able to see things and either give big adjustments, which, obviously, he does, but in this case, it’s just those small little adjustments that suddenly take it from good to fantastic."
The Lost World: Jurassic Park is now streaming on Peacock alongside Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, and the brand-new LEGO Jurassic Park: The Unofficial Retelling. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion can be purchased from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.