The man directing all the epic dino carnage in Jurassic World only has one other movie in his credits. But World executive producer Steven Spielberg had faith that Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guranteed) could pull off the giant summer blockbuster. EW sat down with Trevorrow in March at his Jurassic World production offices, just as he was putting the finishing touches on the film.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The big question: Why a new Jurassic Park movie now?
COLIN TREVORROW: I think that since 1993 we have seen that we will repeat our mistakes if there’s money on the table.
Do you mean in Hollywood or life in general?
Everything. It’s totally acceptable to suggest that this movie is about why Jurassic Park 4 exists in the first place. Whether it’s a good idea or not to make a sequel to this movie, it’s happening one way or another. The mere fact that it existed made Derek [Connolly, Trevorrow’s co-writer] and I think about why and wonder if we could apply that to a dinosaur theme park. It’s not the danger of playing God, it’s these animals are real and they exist and they’re on our planet and we’re sharing this space with them.
I didn’t go seeking this movie out, and I certainly didn’t want to make the leap in budget and scope — at least not right away. But it felt compelling enough and obviously special enough that it was worth skipping ahead a couple movies and telling the story now.
Do you remember your first meeting with Steven Spielberg?
Yeah, the first conversation was all about why make a Jurassic Park movie? Why should this movie exist? It was a very fundamental filmmaking and story conversation. What we came up with was just this idea if a real park was going to exist and if there was going to be a character that Chris Pratt ultimately played who was going to have a relationship with animals, how could we take that relationship and allow it to bring this franchise into the future — because it can’t just be people running away from dinosaurs on an island forever. There had been earlier versions of the script that went to crazytown. My offer to him was “Let me do something that I feel comfortable with. Let me dial this back to a point that it feels like it exists on our planet right now.” This movie has a lot of elements in it that set up a broader world in which dinosaurs co-exist with humans. The goal of this is going into the future and continuing to entertain people — it felt like a worthwhile mission to me to bridge that gap.
Has this experience been daunting? This must be 100 times the budget of Safety not Guaranteed?
250 times. It has been a fantastic experience. I don’t imagine that they will all go this well or be this easy or this pleasant. Not that it wasn’t a challenge. But making independent film is hard and telling a story is hard regardless of what scale you’re telling it on. I found this story to tell itself quite easily and naturally. It just flowed. There has not been a lot of struggle. We finished this movie ahead of schedule, under budget; we’ve had no reshoots. I think part of that is, in my lack of experience, there was a lot of planning that went into this. I had this designed down to every shot going in while leaving room for spontaneity in the filmmaking and the performances. I imagine as I get older and lazier I can see things going wrong but I learned a lesson here which is to be over prepared.
What’s post-production been like?
It’s been long by definition but certainly it could have been longer. You really get to direct the movie three times when it comes to the action sequences and the set pieces. I designed these in storyboard form and then I pre-vis down to a point where I could very clearly know what we were doing. We were able to shoot it and now I’m able to go in with a magic pen and draw where these dinosaurs are going to go.
What’s been Steven’s connection to this?
He happened to be here today because he’s going to shoot The BFG and so this was the last time we’ll probably be in the cutting room together. I think today is the fourth time he’s seen the movie. So it’s been very collaborative and he’s sort of forced me to look inward and challenge myself to strip out things I love.
You told me on set it’s almost a little old-fashioned in terms of the tone.
Old-fashioned hopefully in a good way. It’s very classically designed and classically presented and that’s a little bit of a nod to the history of these movies. Jurassic Park was able to get a way with big, dynamic filmmaking that might be out of place in another kind of story. So when you have the opportunity to build big shots like that, I take them.
How do you make a sequel? How would people ever come back to Jurassic World?
Maybe they won’t. I felt like it was my responsibility to at least tee up where we could go and in doing that I felt like I don’t want to make it yet another island movie or another theme park movie. I felt by introducing a couple key ideas and some of them are introduced by Dr. Wu, played by B.D. Wong, and even the simple idea that these people at Jurassic World won’t always be the only people that can clone a dinosaur. We never imagined what happens when this technology goes open source. I think the minute that you add an idea like that into something like this it can open up the minds of every young person who loved these movies. I think there’s a lot room to grow.