HOLLYWOOD – In our new series ‘The Making of…’ we go behind the scenes, using previously unseen letters, diaries and documents, of a major motion picture landmark of cinema. This week Jurassic Park!
Michael Crichton was working as a doctor in a hospital when he first came up with the idea of theme park with a unique selling point open to the public, but which goes disastrously, murderously when the attractions go haywire and turn against the public. Westworld became a cult classic in 1973. In 1976 the sequel Futureworld was less successful and Crichton was pleased that he had not been involved. However, he wrote to his friend Steven Spielberg in 1981 about other ideas he had:
Following on from Westworld I’ve been tinkering with a few more ideas. What do you think? Chivalrous Land: a medieval themed park where the knights go mad and start jousting the visitors to death. Mermaid World: An underwater theme park where the mermaids go crazy and start killing the guests. Dickensian Land: A Charles Dickens themed fun park where chimney sweeps go crazy and being attacking the guests. Or Gangster Park! Or Zombie Land. Or Dinosaur Land. Tell me what you think.
I like the last one, but change the title.
Hawaiian island of Kauaʻi was used for location shooting but a large Typhoon hit the island the first week of filming. The dinosaurs that Steven Spielberg insisted on using for authenticity proved difficult to control and when one of the handlers was eaten Spielberg came under criticism for editing the footage of the incident into the prologue of the film. Spielberg wrote to close friend Tom Stoppard during the filming and giving an insight into the hectic schedule.
The problem is that we have to do everything backwards. I wanted to use kids for the roles of Lex and Tim, but they cost too much money. Luckily Sam Neil knows this New Zealand guy Peter Jackson, and he’s got me a couple of Hobbits to play the kids. They take direction and with a filter and lots of make up can pass for children. The main action sequence is going to be the Brontosaurus attack. I just have to talk with the science people who have expressed concerns and then we’ll be good to go.
Turns out the Brontosaurus doesn’t exist, and if it did it’d be vegetarian, so what to do now? I suppose we’ll go with the T. Rex which I was trying to avoid. It’s such a cliché. I know, maybe I can put a Marc Bolan song over it as a ‘joke’.
John Williams received the following note from Spielberg before he began scoring the picture.
Here I think we really need an old fashioned matinee score. Something bombastic and awe inspiring. I don’t know I was thinking. Bom-Bah-Bom-Bah-dii-dee-diii-diidddy-deee La-la-la-di-diddy dee, Bom-Bah-Bom-Bah-dii-dee-diii-diidddy-deee La-la-ladee, diddy dee. What do you think?
For more of The Making of CLICK HERE.