The future of mankind hangs in the balance as humans and dinosaurs coexist following the destruction of Isla Nublar.
Current and past favourite characters return in this new Jurassic franchise chapter, releasing this coming June.
We have a chat with Sam Neill who reprises his role as Alan Grant (Jurassic Park – 1993).
STG: What was your reaction when you first heard about the possibility of coming back to the Jurassic franchise to play the beloved paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant again?
Sam: Alan probably has trauma from running away from some of the most savage dinosaurs known to mankind, but personally, I couldn’t have been more delighted to have been asked to come back and work with my old friends in a franchise that I have always been pleased and proud to be a part of. So, they dug up my old character, who can still more or less run the hard yards if in pursuit…
STG: Speaking of digging things up, is paleontology a subject that interests you?
Sam: If I was going to dig things up, I think archeology would have been more up my alley, as I am very taken with history of all different kinds. I am also not of a scientific bent because I don’t have the math for it. So, paleontology probably wouldn’t have been for me; but I see the attraction of it, and I am always amazed by the mail I get from people that love the subject because of Alan Grant. That’s another contribution this character has made, apart from his sheer entertainment value when he is screaming and running.
STG: He is a great character. How do you see him?
Sam: I see Alan as being slightly grumpy, but generally a nice guy. He is your average Joe in a hat, because he does get to wear a good hat.
STG: He has a magical re-encounter here with Dr. Ellie Sattler. It’s wonderful to see how a relationship that goes back to the original Jurassic Park gets rekindled in this final episode of the saga.
Sam: Look, quite often there is a little bit of a love story as a sub-current running through these films, and I think it becomes more apparent in this final one. These are two characters – Ellie and Alan – that have so much in common.
STG: How was it to reunite with Laura Dern, who returns to that role?
Sam: Laura and I have always gotten along really well, and we love acting together. So, to be reunited with her in this film was an enormous pleasure. She is a very dear friend, and a fantastically adept, imaginative, alive, and present actor. To have had the privilege to have worked with her – not once, but three times – has been one of the great joys in my life.
STG: And it’s a privilege for the audience to see the three main characters of the original movie together again in Jurassic World Dominion, with Jeff Goldblum returning to the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm too, which brings that fun triangular dynamic between the three of you back.
Sam: Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm always have a bit of a love-hate relationship that’s fun to work with, for me. And I think Jeff and I have a similar relationship because although I am very fond of him, he can also drive me mad at times, as I am kind of a quiet person, and he never shuts up. I say very little, and he fills the air with “Goldblumisms.” I love his entertainment value, because when he is on, everything is turned up and life is very vivid. I just don’t get a word in!
STG: How does Alan feel about dealing with dinosaurs again, with the added challenge of having them now roam free around our world?
Sam: Poor Alan Grant… Every time he gets pulled into these things it’s, “Oh my God, what now?” That’s the big question. All I can say is that it’s going to be even more terrifying than what he has already experienced. If he survives this film, he will probably go into some kind of deep therapy to recover from the trauma, but before that he has a rough and rugged ride to deal with.
STG: And how was the ride of this shoot for you?
Sam: This was a shoot like no other, really, because when it started, the pandemic descended onto the world, and everything was closed down. At the time, none of us knew if we would get back to work; but we did, eventually, under very constrained circumstances. We all lived together for about three or four months, mostly in this one hotel, and we had no contact with the outside world apart from our mobile phones. We worked very hard and relied on each other; so, it was a good thing that we all got along because we could have driven each other completely crazy. It meant forming life-long friendships and producing a film in which I think the commitment and hard work that went into it really pays off. Jurassic World Dominion is an epic production.
STG: You have worked with some great filmmakers. What do you believe Colin Trevorrow has achieved with Jurassic World Dominion?
Sam: I just think he has done an extraordinary thing here. I have never seen action like this. It is altogether another level from anything I have experienced before. Colin is an extraordinary filmmaker, and he has done a phenomenal job with this movie. And because I consider him my friend, I am also very proud of him.
STG: How was it to shoot all the action and the interaction with these terrifying dinosaurs again?
Sam: We had around 120 sets and all these 3-dimensional creatures. So, the combination between the animatronics and the computer-generated effects gives a reality to it all that I don’t think you can achieve otherwise. It’s not green screen followed by people on computers. The creatures are there and are as alarming to the actor as it is to everyone else.
STG: The Jurassic franchise has connected with audiences all over the world. Could you ever have imagined when you worked on the original movie 30 years ago that it would get to be what it has become?
Sam: 30 years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be sitting here now talking about the 6th Jurassic film. Back then I was in Hawaii thinking, “Wow, I’m in a Steven Spielberg movie! How did that happen?” And here we are again now.
STG: What do you attribute that 3-decade success to?
Sam: I think back then Steven very much set the template for what it would become. We have always had wonderful cast, and these films work as well for children as they do for adults, which is a very rare thing. We have had fabulous bad guys too, that have added so much. And I also want to pay my respects to all the people that have been eaten by dinosaurs. A lot of people have contributed to this, because it’s people that ultimately give you access to these stories. More than anything else, these movies are just great adventures, and this last one is probably the greatest adventure of them all.
Jurassic World Dominion releases to cinemas on the 10th of June 2022.