Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
Jurassic World is finally hitting theaters today, and as promised, here is my final interview with director Colin Trevorrow about the movie. As many of you know, I have talked to Colin two other times during the production of the film, once about the information leaks and fan backlash to some of those details and another time in an extensive interview when I visited the set of the film. My latest interview with Colin was conducted at the junket on the Universal back lot last week after having seen the movie.
In the interview, Colin talks about the Flight of the Navigator remake, how the voice cameos in the movie came about, the ideas of commercialization and sequels in the movie, how Steven Spielberg helped change the edit of the movie, the fan reaction to the trailers and the struggle to preserve surprises, how he met his writing partner Derek Connolly while working at Saturday Night Live, featherless dinosaurs in an age when science thinks different, and would he be interested in directing a Star Wars movie.
After the jump, you can read the whole interview (a couple of excerpts have run earlier in the week) which is virtually spoiler free (I have removed one question and answer which I will run next week after everyone has seen the film).
Peter Sciretta: (referring to the Jurassic World security command center backdrop in the room where we conducted the interview) This is really cool.
Colin Trevorrow: You remember this stuff. You were there. That’s all the same graphics, same footage that we had up on the wall.
Peter Sciretta: That is cool. Very cool. I think this is like the third or fourth time I’ve talked to you about this movie.
Colin Trevorrow: It’s been a long two and a half years as we’ve been through so much together.
Peter Sciretta: First off, before I talk Jurassic World, I hate to be annoying blogger person that sounds like he’s trying to get a scoop or whatever but I’m a huge fan of Flight of the Navigator. So I have to ask you what’s going on with that?
Colin Trevorrow: You know, I haven’t thought about it for quite… Derek and I did a draft of that and it was just one of those things that I don’t know if they’re still developing it. I know they were thinking of doing it for a while and I wonder if the priorities of Disney have just changed or evolved. You know, that was pre, Marvel expanding universe, pre Star Wars. There’s a lot of things that have changed over there. So I don’t know what’s going on with that one. I know that I probably only if at all I only have one more make a movie from my childhood card to play. So I may hold it.
Peter Sciretta: What was your unique take on that since it sounds like it’s maybe not happening?
Colin Trevorrow: It was about brothers. I remember what the themes of it were. It was, maybe we didn’t change it enough. I found actually that movie to be, that movie didn’t make a lot of money. It’s something that we loved ’cause we saw it at a certain time, but I found a lot of the elements in that movie to be pretty great. And we made it a little that we got off the planet a little bit and we made it different in scope. And in the end, it was about those brothers. But I honestly it was so much has happened since then that I’d have to go back and look at what we did.
Peter Sciretta: Yeah, you’ve been on this for a while.
Colin Trevorrow: Yeah.
Peter Sciretta: I noticed in the credits that there’s a few cameos, or at least voice cameos. [Note: this is not something most people could possibly notice when watching the film]
Colin Trevorrow: Yeah.
Peter Sciretta: I was wondering if you could tell us about those and how those came about?
Colin Trevorrow: Brad [Bird] is one of them and he’s been a great mentor and friend. And he actually invited me to the set of Tomorrowland. And allowed me just to kind of watch him for a couple days. And he gave me great confidence that I at least understood what a day to day experience on a giant blockbuster movie is for a director and we both mixed up at Skywalker Ranch. And he was up there ahead of me and they were doing some pre-dubbing stuff. And I asked if he would be the guy. And I remember writing him a detailed character description of who that guy was. He worked on the tram and he lives in North Hollywood and writes screenplays at night. Yeah, I had this whole thing that I laid out as like just put that into the character. And he did it. And the other one that you’re probably referring to is me as Mr. DNA. Which again was something that happened very organically. We were–
[This is where my iPhone stopped recording for the first time in the history of me using the device to record interviews. I was able to notice this before the next question but do not have a transcript of the rest of this answer, so I’ll just tell you what he said: He recorded the voice for Mr. DNA as a scratch track, much like how animators do that for animated features. The sound guy put a few effects on his voice and it ended up sounding so close to the original that they decided not to rerecord with an actor. So while it wasn’t planned, the director has a voice cameo in the movie as Mr. DNA]
Peter Sciretta: The movie is a sequel and a reboot but it also is a commentary on sequels and reboots and over commercialization. Can you talk about that and did the studio ever push back on some of this meta commentary?
Colin Trevorrow: Yes. You know, we had a lot of different themes that we wanted to address in this movie. And I really needed it to be about something for it to have a reason to exist. And how we got it past Universal I think suggests that they were policing our ideas in a way that they just weren’t. Universal was extremely supportive throughout this whole process for us to make the kind of movie we wanted to make. And in the end I think we all, you know, there’s a bit of a cynical exception and I guess it’s probably based on true stories that have come out of these filmmaking processes that there’s some kind of giant boardroom that’s making creative decisions and sending them down. And that never happened. I’m not sure if I can recall a single studio note that I got on this whole movie. And part of it was because Steven [Spielberg] has final cut. And I answer directly to him. And he and I had a creative relationship on this film that was extremely positive and one that resulted in a movie that I think takes certain creative risks that may or may not have been possible if that wasn’t the dynamic.
Peter Sciretta: On set you told us the story about how Steven suggested the idea for the water sequence, about how the bleachers hydraulically drop down below the tank to allow the audience to watch the dino eat the shark. I thought that was such a cool like little plus that he put on that sequence.
Colin Trevorrow: The yes and in improv terms. Yeah.
Peter Sciretta: Yeah. And I was wondering in post-production what was your experience with him? Like did he, do you have any stories of like how he affected the film?
Colin Trevorrow: In post-production, it was really most about, mostly about cuts and my first director’s cut was 2 hours and 10 minutes. And the movie now is, 2 hours. Maybe 1:57 if you’re not counting the credits. And so that’s a very small amount of editing to go on over of course from assembly. And it was really him holding my feet to the fire and pointing out that I didn’t necessarily need every little bit of travel between one place or another. I remember there was a moment when we have a cut in the movie where it goes from a big dinosaur footprint after that scene with Bryce on the waterfall to the helmet with the scar and as the kid picks up the helmet. And it’s a good cut. And in between that there used to be a moment that’ll be on the DVD of the boys traveling together and so, you know, you don’t need this. You don’t need this. And it was like maybe 15 seconds long, 20 seconds long. And I said, no, but we won’t know how they got there. And he said, no, logic is the enemy of storytelling. And I thought was like oh God, no, that’s wrong. Like logic is crucial in storytelling. And as I thought about it more I realized what he was saying is that the audience is highly intelligent. And they will fill in those gaps and they will connect, you know, A to C without you necessarily including B. And, you know, that is that kind of thinking is what made it the movie that it is. I think it moves very well. And I think it has a propulsive intensity to it while also being very character focused and very performance based. And that I think is rare in a movie like this.
Peter Sciretta: Definitely. You mentioned deleted scenes. On set, Jake Johnson hinted that his character might have an encounter with a dinosaur.
Colin Trevorrow: I think he was just joking.
Peter Sciretta: Was he just making that up?
Colin Trevorrow: Yeah.
Peter Sciretta: That wasn’t a deleted thing?
Colin Trevorrow: No, that was never intended. He was always confined to that room unfortunately.