An important part of being a movie fan is knowing what goes into the entertainment you’re enjoying on a regular basis. I’m not saying that you need every bit of magic from the 2022 movie release Jurassic World Dominion spoiled for you, but the dinosaurs are so much more impressive when you realize how they came to be.
That same thing can be said about the actual stunts that involved human performers risking life and limb to make such things as the Malta chase sequences look absolutely stunning. After filming my own recreation of a Dominion stunt scene, I have even more respect for the stunt performers who made it all happen. Here's how one day of stunt work gave me a glimpse of what stunt performers go through on Hollywood blockbusters. Mad respect.
The Jurassic World Dominion Scene We Recreated
Attending the Jurassic World Dominion home entertainment junket in Malta, a stunt experience was one of many among the various Jurassic interviews I would be conducting. However, as a fan of action and adventure films, being dropped into a scene where I’d fight off human and dinosaur alike sounded pretty epic. That became more apparent when it was specified the scene we journalists would be tackling was the hand-to-hand combat fight between Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the mysterious Soyona Santos (Dichen Lachman).
Starting with their close quarters fight being filmed indoors at the Malta Maritime Museum, the second part of the scene would involve running on the roof of the building. While I would have a stunt performer doubling for Soyona during the indoors shoot, the rooftop chase was purely me and my imagination. When put together, the entire experience would be a marriage of movie magic and physical prowess.
Part 1: Recreating The Rooftop Chase Sequence From Jurassic World Dominion
As a lot of actors will tell you, filming in sequence is a luxury that’s not always afforded to a production like Jurassic World Dominion. While I’d prepped with some of the fine folks at Phantom Stunts for the hand-to-hand combat portion first, the actual beginning of my stunt filming started me off with the rooftop chase sequence.
It was here where I was directed in part by Morgan Chetcuti, the Maltese stunt liaison and stunt performer from Jurassic World Dominion. On hand with other members of his Phantom Stunts team, I was quickly run through and filmed performing four separate pieces of the outdoor sequence. First, I had to jump off of a small ledge onto the ground, to simulate jumping out of a window and away from a pursuing Atrociraptor. Then, it was onto two separate running portions, where I would look off to the side and behind me at the beast pursuing me.
Last, but not least, was the final jump that simulated a fraction of Claire’s jump from one rooftop to another. This involved running from further back on the rooftop, hitting a mark, and leaping onto some crash pads. To challenge myself a little more, I threw in some dialogue throughout these moments. All of this was done under the hot summer sun of Malta, but it was worth the sweat and the repetition to reenact this portion of the Jurassic World Dominion action. Thankfully, the next piece would be in a much cooler, but still challenging environment.
Part 2: Working Through Jurassic World Dominion’s Hand-To-Hand Combat
Backtracking a little bit in my story, the original plan was to film this Jurassic World Dominion stunt experience in order. As such, the day started with a quick interview with David R. Grant, a lead stunt performer from the 2nd unit on Dominion. After talking a little about the similarities between Jurassic World and James Bond stunts, it was off to preparing for the hand-to-hand combat portion of Claire Dearing and Soyona Santos’ fight.
With the help of Peppijna Dalli and Monique Dimech, our two Phantom Stunts trainers, we all learned a series of simple moves for the hand-to-hand portion. Starting with a step/jump back to avoid being slashed with a prop knife, I then had to counter with a fake taser towards the camera and over my opponent’s shoulder. My arm would then be moved down, and it was time to duck and weave around another knife slash, before the final piece of the puzzle: pretending to be thrown against a wall, just like Claire Dearing.
After finishing my training, and filming the rooftop chase sequence first, it was back inside in a mockup of the kitchen that Bryce Dallas Howard and Dichen Lachman fought it out in. Putting those moves together with some additional pieces of Jurassic World Dominion action, I squared off against Helen Bailey, the double for Soyona Santos in my scene. Being coached by David R. Grant throughout, we would run through the fight piece by piece, with notes and direction provided where needed. It was a process that helped me respect stunt performers who have to double stars like Chris Pratt even more than I already had.
Why I Have Even More Respect For Stunt Performers Now
The main thing that David R. Grant had to remind me throughout our Jurassic World Dominion experience was to strike a very important balance. It was important to remember where the marks were, and what moves to make, but I also had to act as if I wasn’t anticipating them. This was especially important during the hand-to-hand combat sequence I had those moves memorized for, as this moment between Claire and Soyona was supposed to be a spontaneous fight for life.
While I had a lot of enthusiasm and energy for running, jumping, and fighting, it’s not my regular 9 to 5 job. Stunt performers do all of this for plenty more takes and set ups, in more harrowing conditions, and put their lives on the line to make it all look so easy. My Jurassic World 3 stunts were LEGO-scaled versions compared to the full reality, which includes a lot more moving parts and danger. In the microcosm I experienced, I gained a healthier appreciation for those who use their bodies as instruments of physically strenuous entertainment.
What The Finished Jurassic World Dominion Recreation Looks Like
After completing the Jurassic World Dominion fight scene between Bryce Dallas Howard and Dichen Lachman, I was already excited to see what the finished product would look like. All that had to be done at this point was for the editors to work their magic, and for the file to be delivered to my email. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous for what the finished product would look like, and you can take a look for yourself:
I’d like to say I did a pretty good job with the overall experience, though I’ll admit that the hand-to-hand portion could have been a bit more fluid on my part. Overall, I was impressed with the results, and it’s as much fun to watch as it was to do. I’d like to once again thank the Phantom Stunts team, as well as Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for setting up this Jurassic World Dominion experience. It’s one I won’t soon forget, even with the aid of a handy video.
Now it’s time for you to see how the professionals did it, as Jurassic World Dominion is available for rental and purchase on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. With two different cuts available, and a lot of bonus features that dig into the process of making the film, there’s a lot more to enjoy beyond the theater!
Also, if you’re a Peacock Premium subscriber, both the theatrical version and the newly restored extended cut of Dominion will be available to stream starting September 2nd. So if you want to try before you buy, you’ve got another option of enjoyment.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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