Jurassic Park Writer Explains Why Steven Spielberg Cut An Epic T-Rex Scene

T-Rex in 1993's Jurassic Park
(Image credit: (Universal))

Last week, 1993’s Jurassic Park celebrated its 27th anniversary since hitting theaters and becoming one of the most beloved franchise films of all time. Most of us would agree it turned out just about perfect, but fans of the original Michael Crichton novel may remember a certain exhilarating raft scene that does not appear in the movie.

On a new episode of CinemaBlend’s podcast ReelBlend, co-host Jake Hamilton of Fox 32 asked Jurassic Park script writer David Koepp about the raft scene that has long been rumored to have made the script, but been skipped over during production. Here’s what Koepp had to say:

I think when I got there he was showing me a bunch of boards he’d done. Some of which were more or less exactly as you see them in the movie. There was a sequence with the river and the Rex and the kids. But he thumbs past it and said ‘Oh we’re not gonna do this.’ It was cut very early on. There was so much that was going to be challenging and difficult, and had yet to be figured out technologically in that movie. That the idea of adding water to that made Mr. Jaws… it was gonna be hard enough.

It sounds like the raft scene was most definitely supposed to be in Jurassic Park until it went through Steven Spielberg's hands. The problem was the logistics of actually filming the scene. At the time, there was a lot of impressive movie magic being tackled, such as the dino animatronics. Adding in a water raft scene was evidently overambitious for the movie made on $63 million, not to mention Spielberg having already worked on plenty of water-related sequences when filming 1975's Jaws.

In the scene, Sam Neill’s Grant is with the kids, Lex and Tim, on a journey aboard a raft and are greeted by a T-Rex who chases them in the water as they nervously float along. Although it's an especially exhilarating sequence in the novel, Steven Speilberg clearly wasn’t up to the task. Even if it was missing a key set piece from the source material, I’d say Jurassic Park turned out just great without it.

David Koepp is a legendary Hollywood writer who has written the screenplays for Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He talked to ReelBlend about the unexpected way the famous Samuel L. Jackson line “Hold onto your butts” made it into the movie and why he quit working on Indiana Jones 5 to pave the way for James Mangold’s take. Listen to the full interview below:

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David Koepp’s latest project is a horror movie for Blumhouse called You Should Have Left, starring Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried. It’s hitting VOD on June 18. As far as the world bred from Isla Nublar, Jurassic World: Dominion is set to resume filming this July ahead of its summer 2021 release date after global health concerns stalled its production.

Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more movie news and exclusive interviews.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.