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Trivia / Jurassic Park (1993)

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This page is for trivia about the first Jurassic Park film specifically. For trivia about the franchise as a whole, go here.

  • Ability over Appearance: Alan Grant is described in the novel as a bearded, barrel-chested man. Which doesn't sound like Sam Neill at all.
  • Accidentally Correct Writing: Some of the dinosaurs have changed from female to male, which Grant theorizes to be the result of having amphibian DNA. Sex change have since been observed in birds, which are dinosaurs’ direct evolutionary descendants.
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  • Accidentally Correct Zoology: The velociraptors are nothing like and much larger than real-life Velociraptor, and are based on Deinonychus instead (at the time of the book's writing, it was briefly hypothesized that the two were species of the same genus). However, after filming had started an even larger species than the movie raptors called Utahraptor was discovered. In the years since then, another dromaeosaur has been found matching Jurassic Park's raptors for size, and it lived in roughly the same time and place as the raptor Grant was digging up. It's called Dakotaraptor. Both are still not complete matches, since Utahraptor and Dakotaraptor had feathers (the arm bones of Dakotaraptor even have quill knobs to prove it) unlike the raptors in the book and movie. Also, Utahraptor turned out to be more bizarre-looking than JP's raptors.
  • Actor-Inspired Heroism:
    • Shaped more by the director than the actor, but John Hammond went from being a Manipulative Bastard who wants his park open and making money no matter what problems there may be to a kindly, grandfatherly Author Avatar as played by Richard Attenborough.
    • Malcolm distracting the dinosaur with a flare was included at Jeff Goldblum's suggestion, as he felt a heroic action was better than going by the script, where like Gennaro, Malcolm would get scared and run away.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: There's a RiffTrax for the first movie featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic. This also doubles as a Shout-Out to Weird Al's "MacArthur Park" Filk Song parody, "Jurassic Park".
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Samuel L. Jackson and Wayne Knight signed on to the film because they liked the idea of playing characters who get eaten alive by dinosaurs. Unfortunately though, both actors were disappointed that their characters' deaths were not shown in the finished film. Knight's character Nedry's death doesn't happen directly on-camera, and the scene where Jackson's character Arnold gets killed never got filmed (see What Could Have Been).
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  • Career Resurrection: This movie gave a much-needed boost to Michael Crichton's flagging career. After the global success of this movie, Crichton became a hot commodity in Hollywood, with many of his novels adapted into movies.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Cameron Thor initially auditioned for the role of Ian Malcolm, before trying out for the role of Dodgson.
  • Colbert Bump: A demand for Chilean sea bass (the dish served during the lunch scene) rose after the movie premiered. It was so big that the Patagonian toothfish that made up the dish nearly went extinct and a campaign was needed to stem the demand.
  • Creator Chosen Casting:
    I waited for the credits to roll and wrote his name down.
  • The Danza: Jophery, the worker who gets pulled into the raptor pen at the beginning, is played by Jophery C. Brown.
  • Deleted Scene: See here.
    • There was originally going to be a scene explaining that all the dinosaurs on the island had short, painful lives, due to how they were made.
  • Development Gag: One exchange between Grant and Malcolm ("We're out of a job", "Don't you mean extinct?") was first said by Phil Tippett and Spielberg when the latter showed him ILM's demo of computer-generated dinos that would make his Go-Motion expertise unnecessary.
  • Dueling Dubs:
    • The film has been dubbed in Hindi twice. The first dub was produced by Sound & Vision India. In 2006, a second dub was produced by Treasure Tower International for STAR Gold.
    • There are three Brazilian Portuguese dubs: Alamo (home video, TV, and Netflix), Herbert Richers (Rede Globo), and Delart (3D theatrical re-release/Blu-Ray). Delart's dub kept much of the Herbert Richers cast.
  • Dueling Movies: With Carnosaur and Raptor. Everyone remembers them... right?!
    Roger Ebert: (on The Critic, to Gene Siskel) You liked Carnosaur 2!
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • Laura Dern was crying for real and was genuinely frightened in the scene in which Ellie (Dern) encounters the raptor in the maintenance shed scene.
    • Likewise she was also crying real Tears of Joy when she saw the Triceratops for the first time as the actors hadn't had a chance to see the huge animatrontic before interacting with it
    • According to rumors, the T. rex robot was not supposed to smash through the roof window of the jeep, merely bump into it. The reaction from the kids as they raise their hands to block the window was apparently genuine.
  • Fake American: Grant is played by (Northern Irish-born) Kiwi actor Sam Neill.
  • Fake Scot: John Hammond is played by Cambridgeshire-born Richard Attenborough.
  • I Am Not Spock: Even though Joseph Mazzello has acted well into his adult years, including major roles in popular works like The Pacific, The Social Network, and Bohemian Rhapsody, he's still known by the press and public as "the kid from Jurassic Park".
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  • Meme Acknowledgment: Phil Tippet is fully aware of the meme as a "Dinosaur Supervisor" and getting backlash for having dinosaurs escape, especially the raptors in the kitchen. He ran with it, and posted "I have one job" on his Facebook account involving Jurassic World.
  • One-Take Wonder: Jeff Goldblum claimed that his reaction to seeing a Brachiosaurus for the first time was captured in one take ("you crazy son-of-a-bitch, you did it"), with Steven Spielberg dictating to him off-camera what expression he wanted.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • The chief engineer of Jurassic Park was one of Samuel L. Jackson's earlier roles before he became known as the Memetic Badass he is today from films like Pulp Fiction and The Avengers (2012). It can be a little odd for a viewer used to his other roles to see Mr. Muthafuckin Snakes play a nerdy computer programmer (although he certainly has the hard-assed demeanor typical of those later roles).
    • Sam Neill's Dr. Alan Grant is probably the coolest headed member of the cast, in stark contrast with Neill's other roles, who tend to be varying levels of crazy, such as his role as Jonathan Trent only a year later.
  • Production Nickname:
    • The T. rex was nicknamed "Roberta" by Phil Tippett. Still, the fandom prefers "Rexy", which Muldoon uses in the novel.
    • The two raptors during the kitchen sequence were nicknamed "Randy" and "Kim" according to the storyboards made for the scene. "Randy" was the raptor who got locked in the freezer, while "Kim" was the one who followed Lex and Tim to the control room.
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  • Romance on the Set: Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern began a romantic relationship and were engaged for two years before breaking up.
  • Science Marches On: Ironically enough. Jurassic Park was a standard-bearer of the Dinosaur Renaissance in the public consciousness, and much press was made that it would be the most scientifically up-to-date dinosaurs on film. And it certainly was...for 1993. However, a considerable number of discoveries, such as the fact that dromaeosaurs such as Velociraptor (and many other dinosaurs, including — perhaps — T. rex) either had feathers or feather precursors, has left the film nearly as dated as the swamp-dwelling lumbering reptiles Jurassic Park's dinosaurs supplanted.
  • Star-Making Role: The second of two for Jeff Goldblum. He wasn't exactly unknown before this film, having had roles in hits like The Big Chill and his first example of the trope, The Fly (1986). However, this is the one that made him a household name, especially overseas.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • It's a little strange seeing Timmy and Lex flip out at the sight of the CD-ROM inside the Jeeps.
      Lex: Wow! An interactive CD-ROM!
    • The bizarre 3D interface was a real file-browsing tool made for a custom UNIX distro that shipped with Silicon Graphics workstations.
    • When Nedry's seemingly talking on a videoconference call, he's actually just talking to some QuickTime movies. Moviegoers these days are more likely to detect and understand the scrollbars on the bottom of the screen.
    • It's now very striking that no one in the movie has a cell phone. Admittedly, it wouldn't change the plot too much since cell service would presumably disappear after the island lost power. Really, the part that seems dated is that when the characters say, "the phones are out," they're talking about landlines.
  • Throw It In:
    • The shot of waves breaking over a pier in the storm is actual footage of Hurricane Iniki making landfall in Hawaii that Spielberg filmed outside the crew's hotel.
    • While ILM's artists jumped off plastic tubes to give footage reference for the Gallimimus leaping over a fallen tree, one ended crashing to the ground. As a result, one of the dinos falls on the scene too, as the animators felt that "If it happened to Ty, it would likely have happened in the wild."
    • During filming of the scene of Lex falling through the ceiling while fleeing a raptor the stunt woman accidentally looked up at the camera for a split-second. ILM were able to replace her face with that of Ariana Richards, allowing them to keep the shot in the movie and adding to the tension of the moment.
    • When Gennaro runs into the bathroom, and backs up and lands on the toilet, Martin Ferraro actually did land on the toilet which Spielberg kept in due to its authenticity.
  • Troubled Production: While production went mostly right, even with all the complex effects, a hurricane destroyed all sets (as listed above, the storm in the film includes footage of that) which led to some scenes being left unfilmed. Of note is the puppet of the T. rex, which soaked up water from the rain in its first scene, stressing the internal mechanism until it started shaking, and the crew would need to literally towel off all the excess water before resuming filming.
  • Uncredited Role: Malia Scotch Marmo did some re-writes on the final script, but remains uncredited.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to fly to Hawaii to film Arnold's death scene, but a hurricane destroyed the set, and the scene had to be scrapped. He regrets this because he was physically chased by them and killed, and he really wanted to do it. Watch this clip explaining how his death scene would have played out.
    • Richard Donner, Tim Burton and Joe Dante were all considered to direct when studios had a bidding war for the material (Donner would have made the film for Columbia Pictures, Burton at Warner Bros. and Dante at 20th Century Fox). James Cameron also stated the rights were bought hours before his bid. In the end, Universal and Spielberg won out since Spielberg was Crichton's first choice to direct (and the studio used the upcoming Schindler's List, which Spielberg had been lobbying to direct, as incentive). But imagine how dark Burton's and Dante's versions would have been. (Cameron stated his version would be much more violent, but agreed that wouldn't exactly be better as "Dinosaurs are for 8-year-olds. We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs and they should not have been excluded for that"). Cameron's version would have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger as Grant, Bill Paxton as Malcolm, and Charlton Heston as Hammond.
    • Kevin Costner, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Kurt Russell and Robin Williams were all considered for Alan Grant.
    • Christina Applegate, Juliette Binoche, Sandra Bullock, Jamie Lee Curtis, Joan Cusack, Geena Davis, Sherilyn Fenn, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Heather Graham, Jennifer Grey, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ally Sheedy, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, and Renée Zellweger, were considered for Ellie Sattler. Sandra Bullock, Melanie Griffith, Teri Hatcher, Helen Hunt, Elizabeth Hurley, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, and Debra Winger tested for the role. (Moore got to be in the sequel).
    • Bruce Campbell, Jim Carrey, Ted Danson, Johnny Depp, Steve Guttenberg. Michael Keaton and Michael J. Fox were considered for Ian Malcolm. (Carrey was apparently a very close second choice.)
    • Sean Connery turned down the role of John Hammond. Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, and Jon Pertwee were also considered.
    • Christina Ricci auditioned for Lex. Claire Danes was also considered.
    • Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for Tim.
    • Brian Cox was interviewed for Robert Muldoon. Bob Hoskins, Jeffrey Jones, and Geoffrey Rush were also considered.
    • James Woods was considered for Donald Gennaro.
    • Danny Glover was considered for Ray Arnold.
    • Charlie Sheen was considered for Dennis Nedry.
    • The original plan was to create the dinosaurs using massive animatronics like in the Kongfrontation ride, but that was too expensive. Then Spielberg opted to primarily use Phil Tippett's "go motion" (stop motion with added motion blur) along with Stan Winston animatronics for when physically present and ILM digital effects for distant shots. Tippet had already done tests when ILM made a demo showing that computer-generated dinosaurs were feasible and convincible enough, and this signed the death knell of stop motion as a special effect in live-action films. (Tippet remained as a supervisor, and his crew even developed "Dinosaur Input Devices" models which allowed to animate the digital characters like stop motion puppets)
    • The raptors were initially going to be properly identified as Deinonychus, as shown in concept art by Mark "Crash" McCreery and Mark Hallett, but were re-identified as Velociraptor later in production.
    • Speaking on stage at a London screening, David Koepp said of working on the film:
      The problem I encountered, and I still encounter today when I work with Steven, is his movies are so influential, you have a tendency to create something you think he'll like. I kind of wanted to just type for him. You have to let that go. He doesn't need acolytes, he needs collaborators. The opening scene in my first draft was at a hospital in Costa Rica where somebody's flown in on a helicopter and said it's a terrible construction accident. I wrote a really good scene where this ER doctor looks at this guy, a person's who's been ripped to shreds and says "This is not a construction accident". He said "I love your opening I can't do it though, because I feel like I already did it." I said "What? When?" He said, "Yeah, it's in Jaws". I said "Oh yeah, right! I love that!"' That's a peril. You've got to write stuff you think is great, then he brings his stuff to it, rather than you trying to think ahead and write what you think he would want.
      • The scene described would have been a direct adaptation of the novel's prologue; the film instead opens on the accident responsible for the hospital visit.
    • The crew actually considered including feathered dinosaurs under the paleontologists' suggestions, but it was decided not to due to controversy and technological difficulties.
    • Hammond was originally going to be killed off, just like his book counterpart. How he was going to be killed varied - in Crichton's first version of the script, Hammond is in the wrecked visitor center when he is startled by the twitch of a dead velociraptor, falls into the collapsed scaffolding behind him, and then gets swarmed by compies. In Crichton's last draft, Hammond pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save his grandkids from a velociraptor in the Visitor’s Center; distracting the dinosaur away from them by turning on the park’s tour introduction video and getting mauled to death offscreen, his own recorded voice ironically welcoming visitors to Jurassic Park over his dying screams. In the next version of the script (which was not written by Crichton), Hammond is escaping from the park with an egg incubator only to hear screams for help while in the control room. Opening the door, he finds a raptor outside, drops the incubator, and is attacked by the raptor, Later, Grant finds Hammond on the verge of death, who tells Grant that he was looking forward to working with him, then dies as a baby triceratops hatches from one of the incubator eggs. In other versions, Hammond just got left on the island to die, either on purpose or by accident. Then David Koepp joined the project and scrapped the whole idea of Hammond dying.