Colin Trevorrow is an American film director and screenwriter. He directed the indie film Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) and the blockbuster film Jurassic World (2015). He also co-wrote the script to that film and its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where he also serves as an executive producer. He is set to direct the third and final entry in the Jurassic World trilogy.
Q: Did you write this script with director JA Bayona very much in mind – the first section was a disaster movie, while the last portion was like a horror film?
A: The last third of the movie turned into a horror movie when I understood that I could make something that could lean into JA. It didn’t have to be in a haunted mansion. It was really the nature of the location. I am sure you could see an earlier version where dinosaurs were taken off the island on an ark and are taken to some sort of dinosaur facility that doesn’t have to have that Gothic tone to it. But the minute that we started to understand Lockwood’s relationship to Hammond and felt comfortable that we could insert a piece of backstory into Jurassic Park that wasn’t in the first novel and yet felt organic to it, then the introduction of Maisie became an idea. Once all that stuff came together it defined the location which made it that much more Bayona-esque.
Q: When you were working on the first Jurassic World, did you conceive it as a trilogy?
A: I was hoping, though I wasn’t so presumptuous to think that we would ever get to make the other films. I did want to lay some breadcrumbs in the first film so that if we were fortunate enough to make a sequel then we would have the ingredients and that it wouldn’t feel arbitrary. It would feel designed. So in Jurassic World, for example, Vincent D’Onofrio’s character, Hoskins, has a scene at the very end where he points to the indominus rex on the computer and says, ‘Imagine that a fraction of the size and able to evade military technology.’ That describes the indoraptor that Dr. Wu is making and that appears in this film. I think and hope that when people go back and watch these films together they will see how many thematic elements are layered into Jurassic World that may not have been identified before.
Q: And when you were writing this film, were you writing it as the middle part of a trilogy, or the first of two halves?
A: Yes. But not in a way that would feel like two halves because the movie itself was of two halves. Also, especially as I was bringing in such a great director, I wanted to offer him a film that was a complete story in its own right – that had its own beginning, middle and an ending. The idea that it is two halves, I think, is down to the location changes. The nature of having a massive set piece in the middle and then having the film travel and move and grow richer and deeper and then more claustrophobic and more personal and tighter, is actually a structure that Steven Spielberg has used before in Jurassic Park. The T Rex is in the middle and you end with the raptors in the kitchen. In Minority Report he did something similar, having the bigger sequence in the centre. Another one that I am a big fan of, which you wouldn’t think would connect to this film but which is a structure that I love, is Bridge of Spies where you have two stories that don’t seem connected at all, but which are drawing closer together, and then you realize that they have been telling the same story all along.
Q: I really like it when jeopardy and danger unfold in confined spaces and you really have that in Fallen Kingdom, on the island and in the mansion. Was that a conscious decision?
A: To get the characters in a place where they can’t escape is a crucial ingredient. And this is the first time actually where we had a sequence where the characters could choose to go wherever they want but there was so much danger that they had to put themselves into a confined space and get into the gyrosphere. And yet again they find themselves in danger. It is one of the things that we were very conscious of as we looked at where to go in the future – that there is a world where there are dinosaurs everywhere around every corner and people can go where they want. You would be sacrificing one of the pillars of these movies and I think it is possible to really change the kinds of experiences people are having in the films without breaking any of the pillars that these movies are built on.
Q: Why didn’t you direct this film?
A: I will never really know. I just had an instinct that this was the right choice for the franchise, as a result of how confident we were that Jurassic World was going to create a new generation of fans of the franchise. I knew before the movie came out and even before I had made plans for what I was going to do next, that I was going to be given a lot of responsibility about where it was going to go in the future. The minute I got that, my immediate instinct was to phone a friend! So I thought it would be great if we could be a little bit more old school in the way we build this franchise and have a director collaborating with another director – me being the executive producer and the writer, and the other person being the director in the way that our idols and mentors worked. So in the vein of the spirit of Indiana Jones, Bayona and I collaborated!
Q: Will JA be involved in the third movie?
A: I am directing it but believe me I will be calling JA regularly to consult because he is part of our family now. When Steven Spielberg agreed that I wasn’t going to do the second one, he asked me if I would do the third and I promised that I would. I asked him to trust me that this choice was going to pay off and he did. He was a fan of Bayona as well. And I feel very good right now because I think that the choice did pay off. JA has directed a fantastic film. But it hasn’t changed my mind that we need to bring a strong new voice into each one of these films and for the third one I am bringing in a different writer, Emily Carmichael, who is working with me. I think doing that is something that keeps things fresh.
Q: It is the 25th anniversary of the very first film. Was that one of the reasons to bring Jeff Goldblum back? Or would you liked to have brought him back before?
A: My want is to bring everyone back all of the time because I am such a fan. So I have to push against that and show restraint and really try to make sure that I am not just trotting them out to either sell more tickets or just for the sake of pleasing fans like me. I found in the first Jurassic World film, the character that made the most sense to bring back was Dr Henry Wu because he was the one who was the father of all this genetic technology and in the second film Ian Malcolm made sense because we were looking at chaos theory made real. We were looking at all the warnings he gave us in the early ’90s. A real-life figure that I thought did the same was Al Gore. He gave us a lot of warnings in the ’90s about what was going to happen if we continued to treat the planet in the way we were treating it. And now we are dealing with those consequences and I feel like Malcolm is in a somewhat similar place of like, ‘Well, it’s happened so what are we going to do now?’
Q: The film does have pertinence to the world situation today, especially with genetics, and advances in some other areas of science, AI for example, were we don’t perhaps know the full consequences of what we’re doing…
A: Knowledge of science itself is great power and there are very specific elements of science that have become very powerful – nuclear power and now genetic power – and the questions of what we can do with genetic power, the ability to edit genes now, are crisper. There are so many new things with what we are discovering that are going to come with their own set of moral questions. Right now, for example, the last male white rhinoceros recently died and that species has gone extinct because we have been cutting off their horns in order to make powder that we claim falsely will have some kind of health benefits for us. So do we have the responsibility to de-extinct them, if we could? I don’t know.
Q: One of the great things about doing what you do must be all the knowledge you acquire around your subject. Your understanding of palaeontology must be pretty good now…
A: Sure. I knew my dinosaurs from a very early age and I know them better every day as a result of my job. I think if anything I have had a creeping sense of responsibility for these movies to catch up with our current knowledge of dinosaurs and what they look like and how they evolved from that time into the modern birds that we have. In the third film I want us to lean a bit more into the palaeontology. I want us to have more of a science-thriller. And a bit of that comes from my own sense of responsibility to make sure that kids who watch these films recognize these animals were real and that the ones that are in these films are genetically modified creatures. The DNA gaps are bridged with frog DNA and other strands. I am very interested in making sure that kids are tuned into science as well as the adventure and scares.
Q: It’s interesting that some of the people who you work with at ILM have a background in palaeontology…
A: When I look at all of the franchises in the world that have connected with people, this one is unique in that it can direct people on a path to become scientists. Often great films inspire people to become filmmakers and storytellers. These films have inspired people to be scientists. We have a palaeo-veterinarian character in this film and hopefully that will encourage a new generation of veterinarians and people who recognize that it is not just pets who need to be cared for. Animals are being mistreated and need help all over the world.
Q: Do you regard the Jurassic films as monster movies because it was interesting to hear Steven talk about the fact that the indoraptor was really the first monster in the series?
A: I don’t think they are monster movies. They are animal kingdom movies. We have seen a lot of movies where suddenly lions turn on hunters or bears or tigers or wolves do, and in all of those scenarios they only do it when threatened and when mankind encroaches into their territory and their space. I find that to be the same thing with dinosaurs. In these films humans have put them in these cages and we have ripped them from the time they belong in and put them in a new time. We also tell the story from a human angle now and I felt that was the best way to do that in an entertaining way. We don’t make message movies but I do feel there is something to say. And by including the character of Maisie and what she represents, I feel like we are humanizing in a way that could to take us to a new place.
Q: As the screenwriter and executive producer, do you have any inkling as to what might appear on the DVD or Blu-ray as extras?
A: I don’t believe there are any deleted scenes. Because of the way I was writing and collaborating with JA in the way that we did, the movie was very carefully planned and designed. It is not that we don’t have any cuttings on the floor but there is nothing very complete and I guess that is a sign of us having done our homework!
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is now available on digital download and released on Blu-ray and dvd on 5th November from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment