The actress recalls one person in particular who thought she should head to Isla Nublar

By Darren Franich
March 23, 2017 at 01:00 PM EDT
Everett Collection; Inset: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
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Before Laura Dern took the role of Ellie Sattler in 1993’s Jurassic Park, she had already been a working actress since her early teens, with two David Lynch collaborations (Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart) and an Oscar nomination for Rambling Rose. “I remember, I’d just done Rambling Rose,” Dern tells EW, “And I was being offered several really interesting films, and more traditionally independent films.”

But when the offer came to star in Jurassic Park, Dern recalls one person in particular who thought she should head to Isla Nublar: Her Wild at Heart costar Nicolas Cage. They were discussing their upcoming projects, Dern explains. “I said, ‘Well,’ Steven Spielberg offered me a movie.’ And he said, ‘What. Movie.’ I started to describe it, and he says, ‘Wait. You get to do a movie where dinosaurs are your costars?! How do I get on that movie? Who can I pay to be part of that movie? Those are the costars I’ve always wanted!'”

“I remember telling Steven I had to do the movie,” Dern (who’ll be seen next in Wilsonin theaters Friday) laughs now, “Because Nic told me he’s always wanted dinosaurs to be his costars.”

For more from Laura Dern, including her memory of the time Melissa Etheridge dressed as Ellie Sattler for Halloween, be sure to check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, or buy it here — and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Dern’s role in Jurassic Park became an essential part of the blockbuster hit’s cult fandom, and led to one of the most quotable moments in that most quotable of films: “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the Earth.” Dern hopes that line still resonates. “I feel so proud to have been in what has become this iconic blockbuster, and have a feminist female in the middle of it,” the actress explains. “She’s the real deal: Kickass, goes on her own to get the power back on, fight off dinosaurs. She’s not taking the boys’ BS.” Ellie actually reappeared briefly in Jurassic Park III, and Dern’s not counting her out of future Jurassic sequels. “As I said to the people who are making the new series, ‘If you guys make a last one, you gotta let Ellie Sattler come back. She’s always the one who’s saving the day, man!”

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