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Reunions, uh, find a way. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) — the original survivors of 1993's Jurassic Park — are finally coming back together under one prehistoric roof in Jurassic World Dominion later this year. As director and co-writer Colin Trevorrow has said before, he wasn't interested in bringing back these OG characters for quick cameo fan service. They play meaty roles in the film alongside our main heroes: Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Wearing (Bryce Dallas Howard).
"Colin was really keen to make it matter," Dern told Empire for the magazine's latest issue (on sale this Thursday). “We discover what it would feel like if these three characters came back together, and how they would feel about each other. And it’s delicious.”
While Steven Spielberg is an executive producer on the Jurassic World films, it was Trevorrow who had to convince Neill, Dern, and Goldblum to reprise their roles. "At the beginning of that, [Neill] probably was looking at me with a certain amount of skepticism and side-eye,” admitted the filmmaker. “I’m not Steven Spielberg. I never will be. And so I really had to start from scratch in convincing these people that I was going to be able to guide them through the return to these characters that mean so much to them.”
Fortunately, the director had nothing to worry about. His infectious passion for the project evoked the old Spielbergian magic in the eyes of Mr. Neill. "That’s the guy he reminds me most of," the actor said. "And I don’t say that lightly – I really don’t. He’s inventive, enthusiastic, always energetic."
Goldblum, of course, brought his own unique voice to the screenplay (written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael) with an entire book full of Ian Malcolm ad-libs. He shared a single example when discussing a scene involving a brand-new character — an ambitious BioSyn employee — played by Mamoudou Athie (Archive 81).
"We’re on a computer trying to fix something or other, and somebody says, ‘Uh-oh, it’s started flashing Error 99.’ And before Mamoudou’s character comes in and explains, I was gonna slip in, very quickly, the line, ‘Error 99? Is it Barbara Feldon?’" Goldblum recalled. "Now, Barbara Feldon was an agent in Get Smart, a television series from 1962 or something, who played Agent 99. So, a lot of my ideas have to do with references that are totally irrelevant and of no interest or amusement to anybody who could possibly be watching a movie, and inappropriate to the scene. But it tickled me."
“He would always bring extra things in his book that, yes, were often references to 1940s musicals, but he’s both hilarious and very powerful,” added Trevorrow, who happily welcomed the punch-ups with open arms. “It’s not just a comedy role. It’s the power of his presence in this movie that I love the most."
Jurassic World Dominion hits the big screen Friday, June 10.