The movie Jurassic Park was born in the emergency room. Well, almost. The year is 1989. The novelist Michael Crichton develops with Steven Spielberg a scenario that will eventually lead to the production of a future cult series taking place inside the emergency department of a Chicago hospital. Ready to publish his new book, Jurassic Park, the novelist talks to the director. Upon discovering the story, he immediately sees the cinematic potential of such a story. Without waiting, he contacted Universal. The studio buys the rights to the novel before it is even published. Despite this, the filmmaker is keen to direct Schindler’s List, a script he has been working on for a very long time. Sensing that a big-budget production centered on dinosaurs was more commercially promising, Universal forced him to work on Jurassic Park first before tackling Schindler’s List.
To write the script, the studio offered Michael Crichton an extension to team up with David Koepp. In the end, the script only exploits between 10 and 20% of the book. Many scenes had to be discarded because they were too ambitious.
Post-production begins in Stan Winston’s studio. He became famous for his impressive work on The Thing, Terminator and Predator, and has worked on many dinosaurs including the iconic T-Rex. Gigantic animatronics are created while Phil Tippet, the legendary special effects director of Star Wars, Oscar winner for Return of the Jedi, refines his go-motion technique to make the creatures’ movements more realistic. On the Industrial Light and Magic side, Dennis Muren, also working on Star Wars, E.T. and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, is already preparing for post-production. A strong team that also benefited from the expertise of Michael Lantieri, another special effects cador whose resume includes collaborations with Robert Zemeckis on Back to the Future II and III and Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Since the release ofAbyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, ILM has developed digital imaging techniques that the filmmaker intends to use to bring his dinosaurs to life. Jurassic Park mixes extremely innovative technologies with animatronics and other staging tricks inherited from films like King Kong or Jason and the Argonauts. The legendary John Williams was hired to compose the music.
For the main role, that of professor Alan Grant, Steven Spielberg wants Sam Neill but has to consider replacing him because of a scheduling problem. Richard Dreyfuss and Kurt Russell, then Harrison Ford and William Hurt, are considered but finally, the director decides to postpone the shooting of one month to allow Sam Neill to interpret the character. He is quickly joined by Laura Dern, David Lynch’s Lula in Sailor & Lula and Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg’s ex-fly, while his role was coveted, without success, by a certain Jim Carrey. Richard Attenborough, for his part, agrees to come out of retirement to play the whimsical owner of the dinosaur park. The whole team landed on Kauai on August 24, 1992. The choice of Hawaii was simple. The one of Kauai, considered the most spectacular island of the archipelago, is even more obvious. A unique place, with phenomenal cliffs seemingly drawn by a creature with sharp claws, once visited by King Kong in the 1976 version. If this panorama is exploited on screen, when the characters arrive at Isla Nublar, where the park is located, it is on the side of the Jurassic Kahili Ranch, a private plot located in the lands, that the majority of the scenes are shot. The discovery of the herd by Sam Neill and Laura Dern, for example, took place on the banks of the Puu Ka Ele reservoir. The park gates, of which only the posts remain today, were built at the foot of Mount Waialeale. The T-Rex enclosure and the place where Alan Grant finds the dinosaur eggs are located in the same area. The scene in which the characters are trapped by a herd of Gallimimus is filmed at the Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu.
Renowned for his efficiency, Steven Spielberg wastes no time in Hawaii and follows the sequences. One day, however, Hurricane Iniki blows away most of the scenery. The director was then forced to take up residence at Warner Studios in Burbank, where the interior scenes were already being shot. The place where the T-Rex chases cars is still clearly visible today, during studio visits. Universal’s facilities, also in Los Angeles, are also operated. When it was released, Jurassic Park enchanted the crowds and single-handedly rekindled the public’s interest in the awe-inspiring and frightening creatures of the dinosaur world.
Twenty-five months of preproduction were needed to prepare for the filming of Jurassic Park.
It began on August 24, 1992 on the island of Kauai. Adapted from Michael Crichton’s book of the same name, the film cost $63 million and initially grossed $914,691,112 despite mixed reviews. Its new 3D version, released in 2013, pushed that number up to $1,029,154,982.
The cries of three animals were mixed to create the terrifying roar of the T-Rex of a tiger, an alligator and the baby elephant.
Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
The oldest inhabited island of Hawaii, Kauai is famous worldwide for its spectacular cliffs covered with vegetation. A panorama widely exploited by cinema and television.
The Nā Pali, the world’s only jagged cliffs, the highest of which reach 1,219 meters above sea level, stretch from Ke’e Beach to Polihale State Park.
Only accessible by sea or air, as well as through narrow hiking trails, the site has been inhabited since 1200 AD. If the cliffs are famous for appearing in Jurassic Park, they are also in the credits of the series Lost.
Camping is strictly regulated, as is access. It is also a gateway to the beautiful Hono O Nā Pali State Nature Reserve.
The Fantrippers Buying Board
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By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.