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Mindhole Blowers: 20 Facts You Might Not Know About Jurassic Park

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | April 3, 2013 | Comments ()


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1. Before Michael Crichton had even finished the novel upon which the movie was based, a bidding war began, and among the directors in contention was Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhand), Joe Dante (Gremlins) and Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon). Crichton's first choice, Spielberg, won the bidding war.

2. Spielberg first learned of the existence of the Jurassic Park novel from Michael Crichton while the two were discussing a screenplay that would ultimately result in the NBC hospital drama, ER.

3. Spielberg's Schindler's List was greenlit only on the condition that Spielberg agree to direct Jurassic Park first. Spielberg did so, but left post-production work to George Lucas, while Spielberg left to begin work on Schindler's.

4. After its release, Jurassic Park's $900 million international box-office made it the highest-grossing film of all time up to that point (and until Titanic came along).

5. Both William Hurt and Harrison Ford were offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant, which Sam Neill would eventually land. Richard Dreyfuss was also considered.

6. Michael Crichton was paid $500,000 to adapt his book into a screenplay, although much of his screenplay was tossed by Malia Scotch Marmo (Hook) and David Koepp (Mission Impossible, Spider-Man), who rewrote the script.

7. Many of you may recognize the kid who played Tim Murphy (Joseph Mazzello) from The Pacific and, more recently, Justified. He had originally auditioned for Spielberg's Hook but was turned down because he was too young.

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8. Meanwhile, as we wrote last week (20 Former Child Stars Who Quit the Business), Ariana Richards -- who played Lex Murphy -- has essentially quit the business. (Anna Chumskly (My Girl) and Christina Ricci also auditioned for that role).

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9. The iconic rippling water scene was inspired by the mirror shaking in Spielberg's car while he was listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire. The effect was created by placing the glass of water on a vibrating guitar.

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10. When NBC aired Jurassic Park on television for the first time in 1995, the 65 million viewers made it the most-seen-movie on television since 1987's Trading Places.

11. The impressive special effects in Jurassic Park provided some of the inspiration for Peter Jackson to explore developing the Lord of the Rings trilogy and for George Lucas to begin work on the Star Wars prequels (sorry!).

12. Richard Kiley first played the narrator of the prerecorded park tour in the audiobook, and was subsequently hired to play the same role in the film.

13. Juliette Binoche and Robin Wright were first offered the role of Dr. Ellie Sattler, which would go to Laura Dern. Jodie Foster, Joan Cusack, Julia Roberts, Linda Hamilton, and Sarah Jessica Parker -- among others -- were also considered for the role. Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, and Helen Hunt all tested for the role.

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14. Richard Attenborough made his first movie appearance in 15 years to play John Hammond, although that role was also offered to Sean Connery.

15. Notice the book in the gift shop. It was a book about the making of the film.

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16. Jurassic Park is 127 minutes long; only 15 of those minutes actually contain footage of dinosaurs.

17. In both The Fly and Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum's characters explains that they only wear black and grey to avoid wasting time thinking about what to wear.

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18. Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern became romantically attached during filming. They dated for two years.

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19. The sounds made by the Dilophosaurus were a combination of howler monkeys, hawks, rattlesnakes, and swans; the Veliceratpr sounds were made by a combination of elephant seal pups, dolphins and walruses; the Tyrannosaurus' roars were a combination of dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant sounds; and the sounds made by the Brachiosaurs were a combination of whale and donkey sounds.

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20. Ian Malcolm's line, "Do you mean we're extinct," is actually what the go-motion animator Phill Tippet said after seeing the new CG technology that would replace his models.

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  • Micah 李 文 Jung

    and the velicraptors are not the true raptors. Its another dino and they used Velicoraptors with the feathers but the design is from another dino basically

  • GingerAndProud

    Obj, I loveloveloveLOVE Jurrasic Park! One of the best 127 mins in my life!

  • Spotted Feather

    Um...Malcolm doesn't mention his clothes in Jurassic Park. Don't know where you got that from.

  • Hilde

    Quite a late response, but number 10 is not true either. According to the documentairy that came with the DVD, the rippling water effect wasn't created by putting a glass of water on a guitar, but by strumming the guitar strings which were spanned under the vehicle!

  • #9 - No, not quite. The ripple effect in the water on the dash was created by attaching a guitar string underneath the dash, and someone was on the ground underneath plucking the string to cause the vibration...so, just a guitar string, not an entire vibrating guitar. :)

  • R S Costello

    15 - isn't that whole scene basically just an advert? If I remember Intro to Genre correctly (loooong time ago, lol) every single item they showed in the gift shop was actual merchandise fans could go and buy. Clever Jurassic Park. Product placement done right.

  • BillyBoy80

    Clever Girl.

  • Matt

    Number 3 is correct... Steven Spielberg was barely involved in post production due to Schindler's List... but the post production wasn't left to George Lucas. Also, is it sad that I knew most of these facts already?

  • MarkGoyette

    Phil Tippet, Dinosaur Supervisor? Phil you had one job, this is not armature hour, there are Dinosaurs in the kitchen... In the God damned kitchen.

  • Adam M

    When does he explain his choice of clothing in Jurassic Park? If he did, I must have missed it, but I just don't recall him ever explaining that in the film itself.

  • ImTheNana

    I don't remember if it was in the movie, but it was definitely in the book:

    “Ellie said, “Isn't it a little warm for black?”

    “You're extremely pretty, Dr. Sattler,” he said. “I could look at your legs all day. But no, as a matter of fact, black is an excellent color for heat. If you remember your black-body radiation, black is actually best in heat. Efficient radiation. In any case, I wear only two colors, black and gray.”

    Ellie was staring at him, her mouth open. “ These colors are appropriate for any occasion,” Malcolm continued, “and they go well together, should I mistakenly put on a pair of gray socks with my black trousers.”

  • Gerry

    There are several cute stories Spielberg cites when asked about the rippling water. If you watch Tarkovsky's Stalker the film starts off with bottles and glasses sitting on a table in a wrecked down house. You hear a rumbling during on a close up of the glass causing the water to ripple/shake.

    Indiana Jones the last crusade has various parallels to Stalker as well. Guess Steven is not to keen on admitting he stole from film genius Andrej Tarkowsky. The average moviegoer has probably never seen any of his brilliant movies.

  • SthrnBrn

    Reading what other actors were considered for the parts, I realized almost any of them would have worked. There are no iconic parts in this movie, but rather the story is the star. And only fifteen minutes of dinosaur footage just proves that Spielberg can create more with less better than anyone.

  • GODDAMMIT LEX, JUST TURN OFF THE FUCKING LAMP.

  • king

    shit the last one is so sad. "do you mean were extinct?"

  • LifeOnEarth

    I'm pretty sure that book is about the making of the park, not the movie.

  • MrGoyaOhBoya

    In the context of the movie, yes. But that exact book existed in real life and it concerned the making of the movie.

  • DeltaJuliet

    I think I'll be taking my 9 year old to see it this weekend. He loves watching it home....how cool for him to see it on the big screen in 3D.

  • aardvark

    The shot of the ripples in the water still gives me goosebumps.

  • Quite possibly one of the scariest visuals ever.

  • I thought Joe Mazzello did such an amazing job as Eugene Sledge in the Pacific. I didn't realize he was the kid in Jurassic Park! Mind definitely blown.

  • DeltaJuliet

    Mine too! I just had to call my husband at work to share that little tidbit with him.

  • Aaron Schulz

    That scene in the kitchen where the kids are being stalked by raptors is still like the most suspenseful bit in a movie ever.

  • Slash

    Actually, the line is "Don't you mean 'extinct'?"

    Also, if you haven't read the book, you should. It's quite good. But the movie is fucking awesome and I really want to see the 3D version. The first time I've ever wanted to see a 3D movie.

  • TenaciousJP

    The bottom pic of #17 is wrong... that's not Jeff Goldblum, it's Jemaine Clement.

    ....right?

  • Cazadora

    Imperfect memory here, but I vaguely recall that NBC ponied up quite a bit of cash to buy out the pay window. So they got it two years earlier than usual and it paid off when they aired it Sunday night of the Thanksgiving weekend.

  • Zen

    Phil Tippett is credited as the Dinosaur Supervisor. You had one job, Phil.

    Also, Stan Winston took care of the live-action dinosaurs and his studio did most of the special effects. The man was an effects god.

  • Some Guy

    One of the few people in the business who has left an indelible impression with their life, and seemingly insurmountable void with their untimely death. Hollywood has yet to recover.

    It still amazes me that the last thing he left us with was the new Iron Man armor.

  • He'd probably hate "Face Off."

  • donknight70

    I think Stan Winston would've loved Face-Off. J. Anthony Kosar, season four's winner, interned at Stan Winston Studios.

  • Jezzer

    I read somewhere that Laura Dern took the role because Nicolas Cage told her she would be insane to pass up the chance to not only be in a dinosaur movie, but what was shaping up to be the biggest dinosaur movie of all time.

    Meanwhile, Roger Corman was casting Dern's mother, Diane Ladd, in his movie, Carnosaur. It was based on a novel that actually pre-dated Jurassic Park, but the film was created and released as a quickie to capitalize on the JP publicity.

  • Admittedly, Carnosaur wasn't the worst way to wait until Jurassic Park finally hit VHS. There was also Prehysteria!.

  • $27019454

    Coupla things: Much as I appreciate Sam Niel, I would have LOVED to see W. Hurt in that role. More edgy, nerdy, and a little bit creepy (in a good way). And that voice. Also, Laura Dern was the weakest link in this movie. She runs like she has three legs and 12 elbows and she is from the Winona Ryder school of acting (completely self-conscious and acty-acty). I fully expect to be shot down for that remark. Pehew! Pehew! I beat you to it.

    Also: Jeff Goldblum. My, my, yes.

  • I dunno, I love me some William Hurt, but I think his Grant would have been too dry. Much more like the book, actually. He can definitely get wry, but Neil's Grant has a certain energy to his world weariness that I love. He was like Indiana Jones without being so obvious, which is exactly what a 10 year old like Tim would look for in a father figure.

  • SottoVoce

    Sam Neil's been a favorite of mine since he played Damien Thorn in the third Omen movie. I wouldn't have liked Hurt as Grant.

  • kirbyjay

    Agreed. Overact much?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Imagine Joan Cusack in that role. I adore her, but she would've annoyed me to no end. In comparison, Laura Dern is kind of forgettable.

  • Cree83

    Laura Dern is a better character actor, I think. I kind of like her playing crazy weirdos, like in Citizen Ruth. Straight dramatic roles though maybe aren't her forte.

  • InternetMagpie

    To be fair, half the movie she ran the way she did 'cause she hurt her ankle in the utility shed.

  • $27019454

    Who said life was fair, I'Magpie?

  • InternetMagpie

    Certainly not poor Mr. Arnold.

  • Fact #21: All the Jeff Goldblum parts are primo fap material.

  • Ian O'Brien

    I don't think it is physically possible to hate a movie more than I hate this one. The way they destroyed a great book to make this over rated crap still annoys me.

  • Are you broken?

    You're broken. My sympathies.

  • hickoryduck

    I've read the book, it was boring as hell.

  • emmelemm

    But if you've never read the book, the movie is at least a visual spectacle of unprecedented awesomeness that really still has yet to be topped.

  • linnyloo

    I will say that the film effects have held up astoundingly well, and it's got some really incredible sequences and tight pacing. I'm still impressed when I see it on the small screen, and am actually considering watching it again on the big one (even though I loathe 3-D). By comparison, the bloom quickly fell off of Titanic -- good god, those animated people in the zooming shots of the ship are clunky!

  • Jezzer

    "Jurassic Park" was a great book? It was dry as a science text, with cardboard characters, wooden dialogue, and leaden pacing. Crichton managed to make the idea of modern day dinosaurs as dull as dirt.

  • Micah 李 文 Jung

    Well it had more detail then the movie. Parts of the book were good but how the heck did Malcolm LIVE!

  • Word. Crichton was the George Lucas of novelists. The movie is exactly what it's supposed to be.

  • Captain D

    There is a typo in your post. Where it says "Crichton" you should insert "Jezzer's imagination"

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I'm with Jezzer here. The book was notgood. By the end, I found myself skipping the long winded chaos theory parts because they ceased saying anything new, or even saying the old stuff in an interesting way.

  • Max Power

    Here's what you said: "By the end, I found myself skipping the long winded chaos theory parts because they ceased saying anything new, or even saying the old stuff in an interesting way."
    Here's what I heard: "Ehh, reading's hard. Too many words n' stuff."

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Since this thread is apparently rising from the dead, I'll reply.

    Yeah... No. Your sentence bears no resemblance to what I said.

    I noted that I stopped reading the chaos theory parts because there was no longer a) new information or insight, or b) an interesting take or description of the concept previously presented.

    This happens to a lot of authors, most especially academics and Thomas Friedman.

    In fiction, there are entire books where I pretty much know the plot down to every twist and turn, but I enjoy reading it because it's well written and presents if not a new, at least an entertaining way to look at a well worn plot.

    Sometimes, books aren't particularly entertaining, but the substance of what is written is new and non-obvious. Those are good to read as well.

    The latter parts of Jurassic Park where it regurgitates chaos theory just don't get it done for me in either way.

  • Well, think of it like the LOTR: Return of the King novel... THAT was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. Pretty much any of the LOTR books that aren't The Hobbit, really.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    No wonder Crichton's screenplay was scrapped.

  • Micah 李 文 Jung

    well if you read the book it was more detailed and the characters were more fleshed out

  • Jezzer

    Feel free to share any well-written passages or lively dialogue you particularly liked.

  • InternetMagpie

    "He stood, a barrel-chested, bearded man of forty."

    That line has ALWAYS stuck with me. I think of it whenever I see a barrel-chested, bearded man.

  • Captain D

    Rob Payne covered it completely. The book was not intended to be studied in literature classes. It's about people trying to not get eaten by dinosaurs.

  • Jezzer

    Then shouldn't it have been entertaining? It was written like a science textbook with "AIYEE! DINOSAURS!" scrawled in the margins. Crichton has a tin ear for dialogue and basic prose.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    "Objects in mirror may be larger than they appear" Still such a great visual gag.

  • Flor

    I'm pretty sure it was "objects in the mirror are CLOSER than they appear".

  • MrsAtaxxia

    Ahh! I think you're right. Its been a while since I've seen that gaping maw.

  • Johnny Winn

    Has it been awhile since you've looked in a side view mirror? They all say that. lol :-P

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Who wouldn't fall for Jeff Goldblum?

  • Bert_McGurt

    An ex of mine was unsuccessfully hit on by Jeff Goldblum at the Y a few years ago. So at least one person?

  • Jakesalterego

    Number 20 is wrong. The line is "Don't you mean extinct"? It's when Alan Grant says "I think we're out of a job" when they're entering the visitor's centre.

  • Bob Papadazzio

    #9 is wrong too. They ran a guitar string through the car, not placed the cup on a guitar.

  • InternetMagpie

    Thank you for pointing that out so I didn't have to.

  • Seconded.

  • Nino

    Thirded

  • PerpetualIntern

    16. Jurassic Park is 127 minutes long; only 15 of those minutes actually contain footage of dinosaurs.

    Longest 15 minutes of my 11-year-old life.

  • Rebecca Cristian

    just before I saw the paycheck which had said $6495, I did not believe ...that...my neighbours mother woz like they say actually bringing in money in there spare time online.. there uncle has done this 4 less than 13 months and as of now cleard the dept on their villa and bought themselves a Lotus Elise. I went here, Big31.Com

  • Micah 李 文 Jung

    Yeah but what about Taxes agents etc etc? then how much is it?

  • psykins

    I am SO PSYCHED to see this in IMAX 3D! It's my bday on Friday, too - a sign :D

  • Apro74

    It's my birthday as well! I'm also going to see it on Friday. Are we the same person?

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