Steven Spielberg in a dinosaur t-shirt

Forget ILM: Jurassic Park's best on-set special effect was Steven Spielberg's own dino-roar

Contributed by
Mar 20, 2018

Just as a helicopter flew ever closer to the island of Isla Nublar with the strains of John Williams' Jurassic Park soundtrack triumphantly playing, we are flying ever closer to the 25th anniversary of that film's release. Steven Spielberg's classic tale about dinosaur cloning and life finding a way still feels fresh and new (give or take a CD-ROM reference), and Empire magazine recently sat down with the original trio of stars to celebrate 25 years of "park life."

Sam Neill (Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Ellie Sattler), and Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm) still have a wonderful chemistry and love for each other, and it was the three of them (along with Spielberg himself) who bonded the most during the original shoot. They talk about one of the first scenes they shot, which was the famous sequence that featured a cow being lowered into a den of raptors. After one take, it became clear that all of the actors were responding to different things at different times, so... enter what may have turned out to be the film's greatest on-set asset — Spielberg's personal dinosaur roaring. 

"We were all reacting differently, so we said, 'Steven, we need you help. We need a sound to respond to,' " Dern recalls, before adding, "And on take two, we're waiting and listening and it's scary...then suddenly, we hear Steven go, 'REEEERRRRGHH! REERRGHH!'" 

Though Dern says that they were all cracking up, she does mention that Sir Richard Attenborough (John Hammond) turned to Spielberg and said, "My dear boy, is that what we're going to hear for the next 10 weeks?" Apparently, yes. Yes, it was. 

Neill recounts that Spielberg's screams were "absolutely terrifying" and recalls shooting the scene when the T-rex interrupts the Gallimimus stampede on the plains. "We have to react to the dinosaurs," Neill says, "and there's Steven at the bottom of the field, going, 'GRRRRRROOARGH!" through a bullhorn and waving a stick with a 4x4 picture of a dinosaur's head." 

While that does sound like the perfect mix of whimsy and terror, Goldblum points out that he was recently on set for the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (in which he's set to reprise his iconic character) and that director J. A. Bayona used finished dinosaur roars from previous films in the franchise. Goldblum admits to kind of wishing they'd had those sounds when making the original, but also says that "the naive experience of having Steven doing that was pretty great, too." 

The interview is full of other interesting tidbits, such as the cast being trapped together in a hotel for a hurricane-mandated 48-hour break in shooting, Neill and his Jurassic Park 3 co-stars having to wait on line for the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios, and Goldblum being interested in owning a shirtless Ian Malcolm doll. While Goldblum constantly has fans asking him to recreate the "chaos theory hand scene" with them, Dern is constantly asked by children if the dinosaur excrement that she dug through was real. 

Dern also says that she has very little Jurassic Park-related memorabilia in her home (including real props from the set), because she didn't think of it at the time. She goes on to say that it's still something she forgets about, referencing her recent appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. According to her, she "didn't even think on Star Wars to take something, which is absurd." 

Reading about the unbreakable bond between these three actors just made us want to watch the original movie again, and certainly drums up excitement for the saga's next outing, this June. The new films can have all of the digitally enhanced roaring effects they want, but all we want now is a "Special Steven Spielberg Dino Roar Cut." Spielberg's roars cannot be contained. They will break free. Life will find a way. 

(via Empire)

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