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It goes without saying that Samuel L. Jackson has starred in a lot of high-profile movies over the years, and among the most notable blockbusters on his resume is 1993’s Jurassic Park, where he played Ray Arnold, the chief engineer at the eponymous location who met an offscreen demise. While Jackson’s Ray didn’t get nearly as much screen time compared to the main characters, he nonetheless provided one of Jurassic Park’s most memorable moments when he proclaimed, “Hold onto your butts!”
That has gone down as one of Samuel L. Jackson’s most famous lines, and it didn’t originate from the original Jurassic Park novel. In fact, the film’s writer, David Koepp, got it from Back to the Future filmmaker Robert Zemeckis while working on a completely different movie. Koepp shared the crazy origin of “Hold onto your butts” during his recent visit to the ReelBlend podcast, saying the following when asked if he had a favorite line he’d written:
One is a very simple line, it’s only four words, but I like the way it came to be in the movie in that people liked it. I was finishing Death Becomes Her when I was writing Jurassic Park, and we had an ending that was really disastrous at first from one of these horrible test screenings where they almost kill you. So we’d very quickly gone out to shoot a new ending for the movie, but there was little time before the movie came out, so we were in the dailies of the reshoots, and there was gonna be no opportunity to redo the reshoots. So this was it, this really had to work. And we sat down in the dailies, and as the lights were going down, Bob Zemeckis said, 'Hold onto your butts.' I happened to be working on the script at that time, and I was like, ‘Oh, I love that.’ I went back and I typed it into the script immediately, and then Sam Jackson said it. I don’t think I ever told Zemeckis that, but that’s his line.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. If David Koepp (who co-wrote Death Becomes Her with Martin Donovan) hadn’t had to hang around with Robert Zemeckis while Death Becomes Her was being altered, then he’d never heard that bizarre, yet delightful line. So when the time came for Ray Arnold to restart Jurassic Park’s security system, Samuel L. Jackson probably would have said something more generic, like “Get ready!” or “Here we go!”
I think we can all agree that “Hold onto your butts!” worked out quite nicely, and in case Robert Zemeckis wasn’t aware he was the inspiration for the line, hopefully someone will let him know all these years later. In case it’s been a while since you’ve heard Samuel L. Jackson utter those words, I have you covered.
You can also listen to ReelBlend’s full interview with David Koepp below, which includes more conversation about Jurassic Park and discussion about his new movie, You Should Have Left.
The Jurassic Park franchise will pick back up with the release of Jurassic World: Dominion on June 11, 2021. While no specific plot details for the third Jurassic World movie have been revealed yet, the movie will bring the original Jurassic Park trio back into the fray; i.e. Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm and Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler, among many other returning characters.
As for movies hitting the big screen a little sooner, you can find that information in our 2020 release schedule.