J.A. Bayona Was The Original Choice To Direct The First 'Jurassic World'

J.A. Bayona makes his Jurassic debut with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but there was a time when the filmmaker could've entered the franchise a lot sooner. During our Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom set visit, producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley revealed that Bayona was the original choice for Jurassic World director before Colin Trevorrow got the job.

Colin Trevorrow is the godfather of the Jurassic World franchise. He helmed and co-wrote the first Jurassic World, co-wrote Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and is coming back to co-write and direct Jurassic World 3. But we came very close to having Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona in charge of the new series. During a Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom set visit, producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley revealed that Bayona was the first choice for Jurassic World director, but scheduling got in the way.

As Marshall tells it, when plans were being formed for Jurassic World, he called Bayona because he was a fan of Bayona's films The Impossible and The Orphanage. Bayona was a big Jurassic fan, but he said he needed more prep time than was allotted to get his film made.

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,'" says Marshall. "'So thanks, but no thanks.'"

Marshall kept Bayona in mind, and when the time came to make Fallen Kingdom without Trevorrow at the helm, Marshall reached out to Bayona again. This time, the stars aligned just right, and Bayona was able to take the gig. According to Pat Crowley, an essential ingredient to making this all work was the understanding of the story between Bayona and Trevorrow. "Colin [is] the architect of the second one and the third one," says Crowley. "And he and J.A. hit it off.  So J.A. then felt much more comfortable...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 [ideas] together.  So that was a big kind of thing."

The Right People

Once Bayona came on board the film, it was Marshall and Crowley's job to surround him with the right behind-the-scenes people to help make Fallen Kingdom a reality. For Bayona, that meant leaping into the biggest, most expensive production of his career, which included a world of untapped resources.

As Crowley and Marshall put it, it was their job as producers to make sure Bayona was comfortable in the director's chair, as well as being comfortable with such a dinosaur-sized production. "For us as producers, [the question 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...location scouts," says Crowley. " All those kinds of things.  And then working with our visual effects supervisor, visual effects producer to be able to get what [he] wanted."

In the end, it all worked out. Fallen Kingdom may have been Bayona's largest production to date, but the filmmaker clearly took to the process and delivered the best Jurassic sequel he possibly could.

"It's really been exciting, and fun," says Marshall. "Colin's been involved, and Steven [Spielberg] looks at the dailies, and it's so fun for u. Because what we hoped would happen has happened."

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens on June 22, 2018.