'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Producers Frank Marshall And Pat Crowley On Going Back To The Park [Set Visit Interview]

In June 2017, I traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to visit the set of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This week, we will be running a ton of coverage from this visit, beginning with our interview with producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley.

The interview is packed with information on the making of the film, but as always, they were being very guarded about spoilers, so don't worry – reading this will not spoil anything that hasn't already been glimpsed in the trailers. This roundtable interview was conducted alongside Eric Vespe from Rooster Teeth.

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Frank Marshall: Where's Pat?  My partner in crime.

I don't know.  I think he ditched you.

Marshall: That's usual.

Yeah, so those animatronics were unbelievable.

Marshall: They're pretty cool.

Seeing that Raptor, Blue, I mean, I almost cried.  He looks incredible, like a real live tranked dinosaur in front of me.

Marshall: Yeah, it's, I mean, the obvious thing is it's so much better for the actors when they have something to act with.  Yeah.  And it's that delicate balance.  Sometimes the CG is better.  It flip-flopped.  It used to be animatronics was always better.  And now it's like this, but you like to have something you can touch.

I think it's a thing that like... at least from what I've seen on set visits and the final product, is when there's something practically here and even if they do set extension, the something there helps the set extension.

Marshall: Yeah, absolutely.

You're a magician, you know, but it hides the trick.

Marshall: Absolutely.  That's why you want as many solid pieces that take your eye, that take your eye away from what's not real and not solid.  So you're right.  Misdirection.

Misdirection.  Yeah, absolutely.  It's "you don't know where the seam is."  You might know that there's an illusion and you can't believe that something so crazy like a dinosaurs can't be real. Growing up, that's what I loved.  I loved not knowing the trick and then finding out about it.  You know, and still, even with the old animatronics stuff or finding out about the bladders in American Werewolf and how that's what made the skin pop and stuff like that.

Marshall: Yeah.  Well, Gremlins, I mean, we had all kinds of that was really fun.

Well Poltergeist is another great example where there's just every kind of practical effect in the world.

Marshall: Yeah.  On that movie, yeah.  And we built that backyard with the mud and all that.

[Patrick Crowley enters the tent]

And they turned into real skeletons. Here he is.  Hi, how's it going.

Pat Crowley: I'm Pat. How you doing?

Marshall: Notice he's much more stylish than me.  He's got the beard, he's got the pants, the hat.

Crowley I've been sitting out here all day.

So when you were developing this and Colin came in, what was the pitch for Jurassic World 2?

Marshall: Well, I mean, we knew we had to get off the island.  And he came in, I think he's been thinking about this since Jurassic World where we're gonna go in 2 and 3.  So it was just a question of how far we were gonna go in 2.  So he kind of had it all sketched out.  And basically from what I remember, he brought a treatment in.  I mean, I don't think we sat down and talked to him about it.  He was...

Crowley: Boy, it was interesting 'cause without revealing too much of it, he wanted to go much further in the second one.  And we all sort of looked at it and said, I don't think everybody's ready for that.  Pull it back a little.  It was just in terms of the length of the time of the storytelling.  He had started here and went all the way to there.  It was–

Marshall: Well, we really felt we needed to spend time to get to know Chris and Bryce again.  Where they'd been in three years.  Because as you'll see, there's a big change in her.  She's realized that she made a mistake and that it was [her] responsibility, not her fault, but she was part of what happened.  So she's now trying to make up for it.  Trying to do better and Chris is pretty much still a loner on his own.  Not wanting to deal with anything.  So we had to set that up.

It must be interesting from your perspective since you not only have to find the director's vision, but then also kind of think about it not only in the wider terms of the franchise, but also how to actually execute it in real life.  So was there a particular element that you can talk about that got you really excited about his thing? I mean, I know that there's a lot of mystery in the second half.

Marshall: But that challenge is, at least for me, what I get all excited about is how we're gonna do this.  Where are we gonna do it?  How are we gonna do it?  And how we're gonna pull it off.  And there's some locations in this one that are, we're not just...although on the last one we were just here, but we went to New Orleans, so how do we do it and do the magic trick of having people believe we're where we are, but do it for the best price?  And so it's always exciting to sit down and say, well, should we go here, should we go to Atlanta, and [it] just so happened that I knew how to get some stages at Pinewood Studios.

Yeah.  You might have been able to negotiate that.

Crowley: Or not.

Yeah, that might have backfired on you too.

Marshall: Yeah, it could have, yeah.  So it all worked out very well.

Crowley: It was very, it was interesting 'cause then Steven got into the mix.  And with Steven would sort of go, 'cause we're on Isla Nublar, which is off the coast of Costa Rica.  And it was like okay, well you need to get from there to somewhere in a relatively short period of time.  So we had kind of a conceit about the location where we were gonna end up.  And Steven goes no, it's not possible.  You can't do that.  So we were looking in, we were sending scouts out to–

Marshall: It's not possible to do it in the time.

Crowley: In the timeframe. In the amount of story time that we needed. We couldn't spend too [much], they get on a boat in order to get off and that's what we're doing here.  And so they need to get on a boat and then they gotta get somewhere.  Rather than making it a movie about traveling on a boat, which is not very exciting, you needed to get to the place.

And it couldn't have been like two months later.

Crowley: Yeah.  And Steven was going, well... I think if you wanna get to England, that's gonna take too long.  So then we were, scouts into Peru and Ecuador and just all kinds of places that we thought–

Marshall: I wanted to go to Cabo San Lucas.

Crowley: It just didn't work for the story.  So it's that you find out and you go okay, how can we make those stages at Pinewood work?  And we essentially came up with a really good idea.

Marshall: Yeah.  And I think that on this one we do have a lot more interior scenes than we've had on any of the other movies.  So it made sense to be on a soundstage.  A big soundstage.  Which Pinewood was perfect for.

jurassic world 2

But, I mean, that's kind of in the DNA already of the franchise, 'cause some of the best moments from the original movie are like the Raptors in the kitchen. Stuff like that and my understanding is that this one's a little, a lot more suspenseful.

Marshall: Well, you've seen the photo in what I call the museum.

Yeah.

Marshall: Well, that's a huge set.  So yeah, so you just take the elements and you figure out how best to use them.

Who is that in the photo?  We don't know much about that little girl.

Marshall: I don't know.  It's some little girl.

Is her name Lucy?

Crowley: She just wandered in.  And we had to come up with sets big enough because the evil dinosaurs [are] bigger than the Raptors in the kitchen.  I mean, the Raptors are like human size and they can sort of scurry around, whereas this one couldn't.  So then the scale of everything had to be bigger to be able to have those kinds of scenes.  To have them work.  So somehow there were things that were driving the design of the movie that we hadn't anticipated.

So do you guys have a like a main threat animal in this one?  'Cause the last few have been like the Spinosaur and Indominus and stuff like that.  Is that–?

Marshall: Yeah.  We have bad dinosaurs.  That of course is released before it's ready.

Not quite ready for primetime.  Well, if it was then I'm sure it would be sweet.

Marshall: Yes.  No, and to be fair, you guys, the little girl's name in the movie is Maisie. And her Grandfather, she shares a love of dinosaurs that her Grandfather has, so that was his museum.  And they're connected to Lockwood.  So it's all the stuff.

And that's John Hammond's ex-partner or...?

Marshall: Yes.  Hammond.  Yes.  And he's so yeah, so we like to play with the adults' and kids' love of dinosaurs as it exists in the world today.

Crowley: And another thing that was just driven by the story is, as Frank was saying, we're in rooms, we're in buildings with dinosaurs.  So we're closer to dinosaurs for a longer period of time than we've ever been.

Marshall: And they're in cages, but still they're really close.

Crowley: And so one of the things that happens is if you go and if you touch a dinosaur, okay, don't try to touch a digital dinosaur 'cause it doesn't work.  So you then end up with more animatronics than it's been 25 years.

Marshall: I think since Jurassic Park we've got more animatronics than any of the other movies.  Except for Jurassic Park.

Crowley: So and it's an amazing thing to work with Neal Scanlan, who has done all of the stuff for Star Wars.

[Sarcastically] How'd you get him?

Marshall: I, you know, just phone call, no, breakfast.  Breakfast.  We'll work this out.

Crowley: A late breakfast.  And–

Marshall: I gave him a bottle of wine for that one.

Crowley: I hadn't worked with him before.  You hadn't worked with him before.  But just the stuff that he brought to it. And we saw stuff like this, it would be, "so what do you think it's gonna look like?"  Well, come down to the shop.  And he would already like done renderings and sculpting and gone through the whole process.

Marshall: Yeah.  And I have to say the, just the process of the animatronics is so advanced now from what it used to be.  What they're able to do now is fantastic.  And it's so much faster to see what you're gonna have.  So that made it really cool.

So your life-size Rex isn't gonna have the shivers like the old one did?

Marshall: No.

Crowley: No.  And 'cause they were working with hydraulics.  And everything now is it's mostly servos and stuff like that.  And there's guys at joysticks.  But there are still puppeteers making it breathe and making that head turn and doing all the rest of that stuff.  These guys, they're all dressed in black and they spend a lot of time in yoga studios, 'cause they're like that for years.  It's amazing.  They're really talented.

And this film introduces a whole new cast of people. What can you tell us about them?  Because we haven't heard much.

Marshall: And you know, there's a great variety of...we have a great new cast.  We've got–

Crowley: Claire runs an organization protecting dinosaurs– The Dinosaur Protection Group, the DPG.  Okay?  And she has surrounded herself with young, environmentally conscious, hard working, unpaid people.

Marshall: Also yeah, not Internet savvy, but IT kind of savvy people who know how to raise awareness and within the right age groups and–

Crowley: Like a grassroots political movement.

Marshall: Like you would put together for a campaign.

Crowley: So there's Justice Smith, okay, and he plays a character named Franklin.  And he is the essentially the IT guy for the group.

And we hear a reluctant guy, he doesn't seem to wanna come.

Marshall: He's a reluctant adventurer.  He loves being there at his computer and his keyboard.  But he doesn't wanna go out and be Indiana Jones.  He's not interested in that.

Crowley: So he doesn't like to fly.  Or he doesn't like bugs.  He really doesn't like being outside.

So he's the perfect person to go on this adventure.

Marshall: Absolutely.

Crowley: And then there's Daniella Pineda who plays Zia.  And Zia is a paleo veterinarian.  She studied and went to university and knows, but has never actually seen a dinosaurs yet.  Since they're all on Isla Nublar, this will be her first exposure to real flesh and blood dinosaurs.

Marshall: She's pretty fiery in her defense of dinosaurs or like the rest of us and they need to be preserved.  We have to look, we have to keep him from being, becoming extinct.  Save the gorillas, you know.  Or the dolphins or whatever we're saving this month.

And Colin told me that those two are the secret sauce of this movie.  That's the words he used.

Marshall: Yeah. They keep things moving.  They're characters you haven't seen and you're unexpected, they're... court jester, whatever you wanna call, you know...

Crowley: They can add a little brevity without being too silly or whatever.

Marshall: Yeah, exactly.  They're believable but they make it fun and exciting and real.

Crowley: 'Cause then you've got Chris and Bryce and...

Marshall: There's some drama there.

Crowley: They're basically still reliving It Happened One Night, which was totally Steven's idea.  We sat down when we did the first one and Steven said, have you guys all seen It Happened One Night?  It's like yeah.  He said, let's bring some of that.

Marshall: We want a little of that Clark Gable...

Crowley: A little of that, just that jousting.

Can we talk a little bit about J.A. and how you guys one, picked him from the stuff that he had done like what was it in there that you saw?  And I'm sure when he came in, he had to show a passion for it too.  It's something that you picked up.  What was...?

Marshall: I'll tell you the story.

Yeah.  Please.

Marshall: As a matter of fact...  I called him for the first one.

Oh yeah?

Marshall: Yeah.  And 'cause I love The Impossible and I love The Orphanage and I thought oh God, he can handle action and characters and who is this guy?  And so I called him and we met.  And it turns out he was this huge Jurassic Park fan.  Sort of like Colin.  This is before Colin.  But we were like on the fast track.  And he said, I need a lot of time.  I know what I need.  I need my prep time.  I have a certain process I go through and all that.  And I just don't think I can do it.  'Cause we had that other, we had the other script.  And so I said, well and he said, I've got this other movie that I'm thinking of doing too.  So thanks, but no thanks.  And so I filed that in the back of my brain.  And then found Colin.  So when we were starting to talk about the next one, I called J.A.  And we met in England.  And they were, at the time, they were on World War Z 2, I guess it was.  Right? Yeah, and so he wasn't really available.  But we had a really great dinner.  And then you know what happened, he decided not to do that.  And they called me.  And we were still looking for a director.  And because the good news is Colin and Derek were writing the script as opposed to the last one, we didn't have a script we liked.  So the timing worked out perfectly for them to come on and for him to have the time to do his process.  And because it's the middle movie, it needs to be a little more suspenseful and scary and he just seemed to be perfect.  It seemed to be perfect timing for having him come in.

Crowley: And it's also Colin as the architect of the second one and the third one. He and J.A. hit it off.  And so J.A. then felt much more comfortable that he liked the original Jurassic World.  And he knew the direction Colin wanted to go in.  So it wasn't as if it was just some script that he had to try to adapt.  And they kind of...they shared together.  So that was a big kind of thing.

Marshall: Yeah, I think there's a lot to be said for understanding the mythology and understanding the journey that these characters are going on and being a fan of the franchise.  And that's what Steven said about Colin, he's the perfect combination of a terrific filmmaker and a fan.  And J.A. is kind of the same.

Crowley: And also for J.A. and for us as producers, it was how do you take somebody who's never had the resources to do a movie like this and introduce them to him in a way so that he can take advantage of extensive storyboarding and pre-vis and you can go on location scouts.  You can come to Hawaii twice before you shoot.  All those kinds of things.  And then working with our visual effects supervisor, visual effects producer to be able to get what you wanted.  And it's like you start out with baby steps and you start to climb the ladder and then by the time you're ready to shoot, he feels, he's still a little raw around the edges just 'cause he's never commanded that many people.  But then watch [him] work into it and make allies and build relationships and he's got his own DP, Oscar Faura, who's done all his movies.  And he's got his editor.  So particularly for a guy who English is not his first language, that's like a big comfort level.  A big comfort level to be able to have that.

Marshall: Yeah, and that's part of our job is to surround him with the right people to help him get his vision up on the screen.  And allow him to have...just knowing as a director that there are a couple people you gotta have that are like your security blanket, your DP, your editor, sometimes your production. They're like you're attached at the hip.  If you don't have those people with you, you're gonna be lost.  And so we understand that.  And we made that part of our what we wanted to do to support him.

I was gonna say, it allows him to have the brand that you liked in the first place that yielded the look, the pacing almost and that shorthand he already has with those that allow him to bring that to this and not trying to shoehorn him into another specific thing.

Marshall: Yeah.  And without referring to the current events [we recorded this interview the week after Lord and Miller were fired from Solo: A Star Wars Story], he knows that he's coming in to make a certain kind of movie.  He's not here to be the auteur of "Oh I'm just gonna go off and create some crazy movie because that's what I wanna do." That has really been great.  It's really been exciting and fun and Colin's been involved and Steven looks at the dailies and it's so fun for us, because what we hoped would happen has happened.

And can you talk a bit about how Jeff Goldblum figures into all this?

Marshall: Well yeah, I mean, Colin from the start wanted him to be the "Uh oh, danger, I told you so" kind of character.  As he does so well.

Crowley: It's not difficult.

Marshall: So when the volcano erupts and suddenly we're faced with "Are the dinosaurs gonna become extinct again, do we save them or do we not?"  That's the big question that he gets to pose again.  And then we go from there, he's very philosophical in the movie.  He doesn't come on the trip.  But he's sort of an observer of what's been happening.  And he speaks about that.

Crowley: He bookends the movie.

Marshall: Yeah, he essentially bookends the movie with I warned you and now I told you so.  And now we're gonna be in a different place.

Where is he at in his life now?  'Cause we haven't seen him in 20 years or so... since Lost World.  

Crowley: Oh his character is what he believed in before, he still believes in fervently now.

Marshall: Still very much so.  He's a scientist-philosopher rock star.

Is he still doing that?

Marshall: Yeah.  Well he's very senatorial in this one.  Yes, exactly.  He goes to those kind of hearings now and speaks about science and the world and how science can affect the world and how we have to be careful what we wish for.  Or just to be able to do something doesn't mean it's right.

I know you're probably gonna be very vague, but what can you guys tell us about the human bad guys in this?

Marshall: They're very complicated.  Again, you know–

We like complicated villains.

Marshall: Well these movies are about... there's greed and that enters into it always, but there's it's do you wanna have dinosaurs or do you not believe in us creating?  It's the whole cloning, there are two people on either side and yeah, we should have them and we can use them in real life for things and people should be able to go to the zoo and see a Tyrannosaurus Rex or you know.  And they can, there are other uses for them probably.  So...

Crowley: But it's like in the last one, he's Simon Masrani [Irfan Khan] moved things forward in terms of like genetic manipulation because he actually seemed to be relatively pure of heart.  He wanted to provide entertainment for people.  And he was then a semi-innocent villain.  Whereas now you have guys who are sort of looking at what are the financial potentials?  And then you have guys–

How can we profit from this?

Crowley: How can we profit from it?  And then you have guys who are just real tough eggs.

The Ted Levine kind of thing, right?

Marshall: He's so great in the movie.  And Ted's just one of these guys that you go, if it came down to it I wanna make sure he's on my side.

Crowley: And then you get Toby Jones.  And Toby Jones can be anyone.  He's the biggest chameleon of all.  And Rafe Spall is just a great guy.

Marshall: Yeah, Rafe's great.  And Lockwood is not a villain I wouldn't say.

Crowley: No.  He's no more of a villain than John Hammond was a villain.

Marshall: Yeah.  So it's complex I hope.

Nice. Thanks very much. Yeah, we won't keep any more of your time.

Marshall: We gotta get out of here today. We'll meet you again in a tent somewhere. Peter, good to see you guys.