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Jurassic World: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About The 2015 Movie

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

This summer marks the seventh anniversary of the release of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow's 2015 action-packed thrill ride of a dinosaur movie starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The movie, which reinvigorated the franchise, has since gone on to spawn a 2018 sequel, with another entry — Jurassic World: Dominion — right around the corner.

And, since everyone is all jazzed up to see those original franchise stars share the screen with the new class of characters and all those dinosaurs out on the loose, now seems like the perfect time to go back and see how Jurassic World came to be by looking at 10 of the most fascinating behind-the-scenes facts from its production. There’s a whole Barbasol can of information to digest here, so let’s get started.

Chris Pratt and raptors in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Steven Spielberg Said ‘Three Fundamental Ideas’ Had To Be Part Of Jurassic World

Even though Steven Spielberg didn’t sit in the director’s chair for Jurassic World (that role would go to Colin Trevorrow), his fingerprints are all over the movie, which he helped produce. When speaking with ScreenCrush ahead of the movie’s release, Trevorrow explained that when he and co-writer Derek Connolly were brought in, they were told there were “three very fundamental ideas” that had to be kept from the original script written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver:

The park is open, there is a raptor trainer, and the dinosaur that breaks free and threatens the park.

And although Trevorrow and Connelly kept those three basic ideas in the movie, they pretty much “started from scratch” with the script, besides keeping the idea of two brothers at the center of a lot of the chaos that unfolds.

The Jurassic World entrance

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Jurassic World Was Delayed A Full Year Because Of The Story’s ‘Epic’ And Ambitious’ Scope

Initially, Jurassic World was slated to premiere June 13, 2014 (it would eventually open June 10, 2015), but the fourth installment in the franchise was delayed in May 2013 after Colin Trevorrow signed on to co-write and direct the movie. Universal Pictures released a statement (via Deadline) at the time that basically said they wanted to give Trevorrow adequate time to make the best movie possible and were excited about his vision for the project. 

However, not long after news first broke, The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit offered some additional insight on his Twitter, saying the delay was due to the “epic and ambitious” scope of the movie, which was more than they were reportedly prepared for.

Chris Pratt on Parks and Recreation

(Image credit: NBC)

Chris Pratt Predicted His Jurassic World Involvement In 2009

With movies like Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Zero Dark Thirty, Chris Pratt transformed himself from being known as Andy Dwyer, a.k.a. the guy stuck in a pit on Parks and Recreation, to one of the most bankable action stars in recent memory. Well, Pratt himself jokingly predicted his involvement with the movie several years before he was even offered the role of Owen Grady.

In the bonus feature “Chris & Colin Take on the World” that accompanies the film’s home release, Pratt shared a video clip of himself in 2009 acting like he was receiving a call from Steven Spielberg, who was offering him a role in the movie, which was still called Jurassic Park 4 at the time. Little did he know, but five years later he would be on top of the world for real. 

Ty Simpkins in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Colin Trevorrow Directed The Whole Movie With The Mindset Of A Child

Unlike the first three installments in the franchise, Jurassic World feels more like a family-friendly movie with bright colors, enchanting visuals, and a general sense of wonder that is comparable to Steven Spielberg’s earlier work. A lot of this can be attributed to the way in which director Colin Trevorrow approached the filmmaking process from the start. 

In the Blu-ray home release bonus feature “Chris & Colin Take on the World,” the filmmaker revealed to Chris Pratt that he directed the movie from the perspective of a child. This helps explain why much of the movie focuses on the Mitchell brothers (played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) and their experience. He said this thought process also applied to the relationship between Owen and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) because he wanted their interactions to be how a kid would imagine adults talk to one another.

Jurassic World resort

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Abandoned Six Flags New Orleans Theme Park Was Used In Jurassic World

A large portion of the exterior shots featured in Jurassic World were filmed at the Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii, but the actual resort itself was constructed in New Orleans, and not just anywhere in the Big Easy. In the “Welcome to Jurassic World” Blu-ray bonus feature, it was revealed that beautiful promenades and storefronts featured throughout the movie were filmed on a set that was constructed at the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans theme park that suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and was left to rot in the years following the costly natural disaster.

The Indominus Rex claw in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Indominus Rex Was Actually Inspired By A Real Dinosaur

In Jurassic World, the Indominus Rex was created by mixing various dinosaurs, reptiles, and amphibians together in an attempt to give park visitors something like they’ve never seen before, which ultimately became true with a steep price. And while the genetically-modified dinosaur seems like the work of a mad scientist with no basis in reality, the apex predator was actually inspired by a real dinosaur. 

When speaking with Yahoo! Entertainment following the film’s release, paleontologist Jack Horner, who was Michael Crichton’s inspiration for the Alan Grant character and who worked extensively on the franchise, explained that they based the Indominus Rex’s long, grasping arms on those of the Therizinosaurus. This dinosaur, which stood about 30 feet, had long, exaggerated claws much like the beast in the final movie.

The Indominus Rex vs. the T-Rex in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

A Scene Involving The Indominus Rex And An Animatronic T-Rex Was Cut

There was originally going to be a scene in Jurassic World where the Indominus Rex came across an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex and bit its head off thinking it was another dinosaur, but it was eventually cut. In the “Chris & Colin Take on the World” bonus feature on the home release, director Colin Trevorrow broke down why it ultimately didn’t work out:

Steven [Spielberg] has a really good eye for how things will be processed, and he saw that and felt like he didn’t want anyone to think we’re saying our CGI dinosaur is biting the head off an animatronic [dinosaur] and destroying animatronics and asserting its dominance.

Trevorrow admitted that he loved the idea of a dinosaur biting the head off a robot, but never really thought about how it would have been perceived by the audience and the industry.

The gyrosphere scene in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Gyrosphere Sequence Wasn’t Shot On A Soundstage But In The Hawaiian Jungle

The gyrosphere ride sequence in Jurassic World ended up being one of the movie’s most exciting action set pieces, and a lot of that has to do with the way in which it was filmed (and not because of the Jimmy Fallon cameo). In the “Welcome to Jurassic World” Blu-ray bonus feature, director Colin Trevorrow revealed that instead of shooting the actors on a soundstage, the scene was shot on location. In fact, the crew built the loading platform shown in the movie as well as a working gyrosphere. 

The two young actors would then sit in the gyrosphere and travel through an actual jungle in Hawaii, which ultimately made the whole scene more realistic. And, the crew actually designed the vehicle so that it would be operational on the rugged terrain, a process that required them to reverse-engineer the vehicle.

JImmy Buffett in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Jimmy Buffett Had A Cameo In Jurassic World Because Of His Close Friendship With One Of The Film’s Producers

When Jurassic World was first released, all anyone could talk about was that Jimmy Buffett cameo that took place when the Pteranodons got out in the resort and started feasting on park guests (he’s the man in the bright coral shirt running away with two margaritas). But why was “Mr. Margaritaville” in one of the biggest movies of 2015 and only for a split second at that? Well, about that…

Shortly after the release of the film, Yahoo! Entertainment ran a piece about the much talked about cameo and revealed that Buffett is longtime friends with Frank Marshall, one of the film’s producers, and was able to get a small part in the chaotic scene. It also doesn’t hurt that the iconic singer’s Margaritaville restaurant was featured in the park’s Main Street, either.

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Animatronic Apatosaurus That Dies In Owen Grady’s Arms Was A Tribute To Stan Winston’s Work On Jurassic Park

One of the most touching moments in Jurassic World comes when the Apatosaurus dies in Owen Grady’s arms after being attacked by the Indominus Rex about halfway through the movie. In the Blu-ray bonus feature “The Practical Dinosaur,” the process of how Legacy Effects brought the creature to life (and then later to death) was talked about in great detail. But, one of the most revealing aspects of this short featurette is the part where producer Frank Marshall talks about how it was a brief tribute to Stan Winston and his work on the original film:

The day we had our one animatronic dinosaur on the set was a very special day; it was sort of an homage and honor to Stan Winston’s wonderful animatronics on the first Jurassic [Park].

Other members of the cast and crew also shed light on the highly-emotional scene, with director Colin Trevorrow saying there was something spiritual about the scene and that you could feel the spirit leaving the creature.

It is hard to not have a greater sense of appreciation for Jurassic World and all that went into the making of the 2015 summer blockbuster. All of this makes me want to go back and watch it again ahead of the upcoming  Jurassic World: Dominion.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.