Ty Simpkins Jurassic World Interview

The following interview was conducted by Courtney Howard:

Not only is child-actor Ty Simpkins an absolute pro, he’s managed to maintain his down-to-Earth persona picture perfectly – a tricky thing to do in show business. His projects have ranged from horror (Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2), to superhero action (Iron Man 3), to sci-fi (War of the Worlds), to independent darling (Little Children). With director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, the affable actor blends elements from all of these roles in a popcorn flick of epic proportions. He plays Grey, a super smart pre-teen going through a tumultuous time – including, of course, facing off against dinosaurs.

At the film’s recent press day in Los Angeles, we spoke to Ty about everything from Jurassic Worlds top secret nature, to being immortalized in Lego, to his next dream project – director Paul Haggis’ adaptation of The Ranger’s Apprentice.

Ty Simpkins Jurassic World Interview

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What was it like getting the call that they wanted you in this film?

When Colin [Trevorrow] said I booked it, I started jumping up and down and almost started to cry. It was really awesome.

We spoke at the press conference about the secrecy surrounding this movie – that you had to read from a script chained to a desk.

Yeah. That’s actually real. Nick [Robinson] thought I was telling a joke.

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It was code-named Ebb Tide?

The PA’s, when they had to call to get extras, they’d be all, ‘Is this Jurassic World?’ Everyone knew it was Jurassic World, but they still had to say Ebb Tide.

How did you go about building your character when your access to the script was so limited?

Eventually we did get the script – on set. He [Colin] told me who my character was in the audition and how he acted. Originally the character was supposed to be autistic and we just dropped that.

For any reason in particular?

No. We just made him odd. I had to be an intelligent kid about dinosaurs and be weird. It was pretty easy to pick up the character.

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Did you know a lot about dinosaurs when you started?

I knew some about dinosaurs, but I didn’t know as much as I know now.

Do you have a favorite?

I’ve always had a favorite: The T. rex.

What went into the stunt work – did you love doing the action stuff?

Stunts are really fun. The only stunt we didn’t want to do – they didn’t allow us to do – was jumping off the waterfall. I’m happy we didn’t have to do that because that was a twenty-three foot waterfall. Nick wanted to do that, for some reason.

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What did they use to flip you and Nick upside down in the gyrosphere?

They used a gimbal, and that was a lot of fun – except for the last part.

Did you ever get sick because it was spinning around?

No, no, no. The spinning around part was on the track and they could spin it around. I wanted it to go faster because that was really fun. It was like Teacups. The gimbal brought us up twelve feet high and flipped us upside down really fast. I couldn’t do that. Those are implementing my two least favorite things: heights and high speeds.

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You don’t make it sound appealing either. Did you have rehearsal time, or time to bond with Chris, Bryce and Nick?

Nick and I only worked a total of eight days on Oahu. We hung out all the time there – kayaking, hiking, surfing, boogie-boarding, swimming. We stayed at the same hotels so that helped. New Orleans, the second location we shot in after Hawaii, we hung out at an arcade on Main Street. Nick and I would play the video games in between shots. In the little room actors could sit in, we would talk about anything really. We said ‘What would I do if I could be the President of the Earth?’ I talked about what I would do.

Now you have to tell me what you would do.

First of all, there would be world peace. Pugs are gonna be the royal dog. If there is a pug in the family, they are the leader of the house. Everyone has to be nice to their dogs – even if they are not pugs. Any animal, really. If anyone abuses them, they will go to prison for life. Stuff like that – just make the world a better place.

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Good ideas! I would vote for you for President of the World. You have some tough scenes where you get emotional – how did you get into that headspace? And how do you come out of that?  Or is it all just in the moment?

With the part in the gyrosphere, it was sobbing instantly. I had to get worked up. Well, cry. I just thought, “cry, cry, cry, cry, cry,” in my head. Eventually I could bawl my eyes out. When it was done I could wipe my tears away and it was over. That was the same with the monorail scene.

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Did you get a chance to see your Lego figure?!

Yes! I got all the Lego sets.

What is it like to be immortalized in the pop zeitgeist with a Lego set?

It’s really cool! I have the double face – smiley and scared face. It’s really cool because I come with a gyrosphere, a dinosaur, a little Jeep and park ranger. It’s really cool I get to be part of this Jurassic Park universe.

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What’s next for you? What would be your dream project? The last time we spoke, for Iron Man 3, you had mentioned your dream project was to be in a Star Wars movie.

I knew Star Wars VII would be coming out – they just had to make another. I was trying to go for that, but I didn’t get a call because probably… British kids. But I am working on a British accent so that could help with different roles and expand different universes. There’s a book series I’ve been reading called The Ranger’s Apprentice. Paul Haggis is making the movie and I want to be a part of that. It has to do with archery, horseback riding and a lot of parkour.

Wait. But that’s more heights!

Definitely, but I think I can overcome that. I go on planes all the time.

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