'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Star Daniella Pineda On Saving Dinosaurs And Spilling Coffee On Frank Marshall [Set Visit Interview]

In June 2017, I traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to visit the set of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This week, we have been running a ton of coverage from this visit. It began with interviews with producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley, director J.A. Bayona, and stars Bryce Dallas, Chris Pratt. and Justice Smith. Now, we're bringing it to a conclusion with Daniella Pineda.

This roundtable interview was conducted alongside Eric Vespe from Rooster Teeth.

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Yeah, we heard of how much of a coward [Justice Smith's] character is and that made me really happy, especially when I found out that J.A. keeps screwing with him on set too.

Oh yeah.  He's definitely the little baby minnow both on and off camera.  Uh huh.

Now he told us that you're, the relationship between you two is like very brother-sister and he is always trying to catch up to you and you're never like letting him.  You're always giving him shit and never letting him like dish it back.

Yeah.  Both on camera and off-camera.  We do have very much a brother-sister relationship.  And the nice thing about having that real relationship with him is like on camera it with our characters, it just makes sense.  And yeah, normally it's you'd have like a, I don't know if this is a cinematic pattern, but like a wimpy girl and a strong guy and our dynamic is just completely the opposite.  It's the younger, terrified male and the alpha female.

Yeah, perfect.

Yeah.

Did you guys have a past together or was it you just met, is the back story of the characters they just met in that Dinosaur Preservation Group?

We assume that Zia and Franklin have both met at the Dinosaur Protection Group.  But because of their on screen friendship it's assumed that they have spent a ton of time together and know each other well and are as close as sisterly-brotherly co-workers can be.

Yeah.

Yeah.

They told us that he was like the IT guy but you're kind of more of a vet and that's why you go on the trip.

Yes.  I'm a paleo vet and I'm more the, he's more the IT one and I'm more the biology science mind.  And my character has, aside from being a paleo vet, there are other additions to my character that are very new to the Jurassic franchise.  And it many of us have come to the conclusion that my character is one of the most original, when you find out why, one of the most original characters to be introduced to the movie.  Complex in that there's so many different identities attached to her.  And yet more closer to real life.  So I'll put it this way, as far as identity goes, I check all the boxes.  Yeah.

Now one thing that was really interesting to me that they said and I'm not sure, I think it was Frank that mentioned it, but it was he was saying that your character is like the one that knows the most about dinosaurs but hadn't seen one until the adventure.

Yeah.

So your character had never gotten the chance to go to even like a Jurassic World or before?

It's like an astrophysicist, you know everything about space and gas and stars and distance and time and yet you don't have the privilege to actually go to space.  And I think my character is sort of the same thing.  It's like she is the foremost intellectual of dinosaurs amongst all of them.  And yet has not had the privilege to come to Isla Nublar and actually be with the dinosaurs.

So that must then give you a like in an instant, just a character based chunk of meat the first time that you do get to see a dinosaur.  Because then you have all that back story where you know how much this would mean.

Yes.

Is there a moment, do you get a moment like that in the movie?

I will say there is sort of a Laura Dern in the Jeep head being moved to the direction of where the goodies are.  Yeah.

Nice.  And then of course then you're kind of in the shit with the dinosaurs.

Right.  Then I'm like with the dinosaurs.

Then it becomes a less hypothetical and like more like oh yeah, these are real animals and dangerous.

Totally.  But I think the nice thing about my character is she knows exactly what she's getting into.  And even though she hasn't had firsthand experience with the animals, she knows what's up.  Yeah.

Were you a big fan of the franchise growing up?

Yes.  So it was one of the few VHS's that I had that broke, 'cause I played it so much.  I had like four.  It was like Ace Ventura, Jurassic Park and a couple others.  True Lies. Jurassic Park was one of those movies that I was just so obsessed with.  And I remember being so jealous of the child actors.  And this was well before I ever even thought about being an actor.  Acting didn't happen until adulthood.  But I remember being so jealous of those kids.  Like wow, what a fun job.  You get to scream in a Jeep while a T. Rex is trying to claw at you in between glass.  Like how cool is that?  So yeah, I've always been a fan.  And actually which is it's so funny to think that I went to go see Jurassic World having no idea that I would even get to touch these movies.  But Jurassic World was one of the few movies that I was like oh I have to go out in theaters and see that.  I'm not really into big blockbuster movies personally.  Yeah, they just normally don't do it for me.  But Jurassic World was one of those films that I was like oh I have to go with my friends.  We gotta go see this.  Yeah.

And how'd you come to this film?  Did you see that there was a audition for this or was it like just a random...?  Like when we were talking to...

Justice.

Justice.

Yes, what fancy answer did he give?

Well no, he said it was like a secret project with a different name and he was like acting opposite a bear.

Really?  Maybe lions.

Oh yeah, Grizzly bear was his. So you were lions?

Lions, yeah.  And it was funny because actually on the day I remember we had this one scene and I referred to the animal as a lion.  And Chris and Bryce looked at me like what are you talking about?  I was like, oh my God, it was when the, it was in the audition.  Like so ingrained in my brain.

And it was actually the same thing, but–

It was the same scene, but with lions.  And it had just been so embedded in my head to say lions.

So what happens then?  You get like does your agent like set it up for you or do you know you're going in to Kennedy-Marshall?  Like what's the...?

Oh.  Remind me to tell you a very funny story about Frank Marshall.

Okay. We wanna hear that.

It involves a cup of coffee.

Oh perfect.

Well I got the audition like I do any other audition, which is usually just an email from my agent he's like hey, can you put this on tape?  And I saw it and it was sort of like yeah, oaky.  Like that's never gonna happen.  So I wasn't stressed.  I didn't really care too much about it, because I really, truly just didn't think that I would ever get it.  Because it's like you're not only competing with the United States, you're competing with Australia and Europe and like the whole world, so the chances of you getting something like this are like one in 200 million or something.

But you knew it was Jurassic or did you just know it was a big project?

No, I knew it was the next Jurassic World, yeah.  It's so funny too, they're so, it's a secret but–

But they still had you read lions.

Yeah.  They were like it's Ancient Futures, but it's also Jurassic World.  But it's Ancient Futures.  Okay.  So I auditioned, I put myself on tape, didn't think about it.  And then the very next phone call that I got regarding the project was that hey, not only are they interested, but you're gonna get a test offer.  And I was like, what?  I remember having a conversation with my lawyer like all right, when we're putting together the deal and he's like so in the off chance that this puts you into mega stardom and I was like what is he talking about?  Like I had no, like all of that was so new.  And then JA made me audition like seven times.  And at first I was a little freaked out.  At first, I was like man, why doesn't he just hire me?  Just cast me, you know?  And I didn't realize that not only did JA have to convince the studio of what I could do, because let's face like I'm a nobody.  But also he was able to play director a great deal before we got started.  So he gave me a lot of notes.  I tried a lot of different things.  And he wanted to see–

And they tried to do variations.

Yeah.  He wanted someone who could do comedy and who could do drama and who could improvise a bit and...

Were you ever auditioning against someone or...?

The only time I ever auditioned with anyone was Belen, J.A. and Pat Crowley.  Just the three of them.  I never met anyone until I got to London.  As far as actors go.  Yeah.

Did you get to do a scene with Jeff Goldblum?

I can't say.

I'm beginning to think his appearance is just a brain in a jar somewhere, 'cause everybody keeps like being so–

Weird about it?

Well yeah. Frank told us he's the guy that was right.

Yeah.

He told us he bookends the movie.  But that he doesn't go on the adventure.

I will say as long as it took Jeff to shoot is as long as it took for all the crew to get a picture with him.  Which is really funny.  Like everybody was like hey Jeff, sorry, but can I get a picture?

And can you make me a sandwich.

Yeah, exactly.

I just want him to cook for me.  Every time I see the pictures of him and his food truck or whatever.

I just wanna like hang a coat on him and look up at him just proudly and longingly.

What is the crazy Frank Marshall coffee story?

Oh yeah.  So the I think I wanna say this was oh my God, this may have been the first or second day I was on set.  So I'd already had a heart attack at the table read.  'Cause people get fired at the table read and I was like oh shit.  I was having like just total aneurysm.  And then yeah, it was either the first or second day.  And so far I'm having a winning streak with Frank Marshall.  We're talking and he's giving me a history of like how Nike got introduced to Back to the Future and all of these sort of like weird, cinematic, esoteric facts that like only Frank Marshall could like cook up and talk about and make interesting.  And anyway, so he walks up to me and I didn't notice I, there's a chair next to me.  I had set this fresh, hot coffee down.  And I went to go get something in my bag and Frank walks up to me and he's like, you know, Daniella, I've been meaning to tell you and then he turns around and sits on the coffee and it fucking like compresses and explodes.  And he's like ohh...  And I'm like... I just sprayed hot coffee all over one of the most powerful producers' ass.  I'm gonna get fired.  And I–

You stood up and said, who did that?

Yeah.

Whose coffee is that?

And Pat Crowley was there just like...  And I and then right at that moment a P.A. came up to me and was like, hi, Daniella, we need you on set.  And it all happened so fast.  So I had to leave Frank Marshall who's I don't, to this day, I don't know whether he got any third degree burns from that coffee.  And then I went to Belen and I was like who's the nicest human being, I was like, Belen, please don't fire me.  And she was like it's okay, it's too expensive.

That is so funny.

Yeah.  Pretty terrifying.

And so like the next time you saw him after that, did you just like not make eye contact or not bring it up or what's the...?

ou know, luckily enough time had passed where I was then able to sort of make a joke about it.  But lots of time passed.  Yeah.  I was avoiding him like the plague.

When coming to this character, did you have any suggestions of like the way you'd wanna take her that wasn't necessarily on the page?

Yeah, you know, when it came to my character it took a village.  This wasn't someone who was just cut and paste and that's what it was.  Like she was sort of formulated over time.  And Chris gave additions to who she was and Bryce had ideas and I had ideas.  And J.A. is a mega, mega creative type.  He's not just like a blockbuster director.  That's not his base.  So he's because he's very much an artist, he made me cut my own hair, which was very different.  Largest budget movie I've ever done and I'm cutting my own hair, which is pretty cool.  Eventually hair and makeup fixed it, thank God.  'Cause I have no skill.

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Did you have long hair before?

Yeah, I chopped all my hair off.  Yeah.  But there was just so many, it was such a privilege to be able to work with so many people and not have this finite idea instantly, but just make this character over time.  And even like very up to very recently there were new things thrown and added to my character.  Yeah.

Well can you talk a little bit about working with Justice and like and how, I mean, we've already touched on kind of what the dynamic is, but like working with him like as an actor.  From what I understand it's like the chemistry between you two is like a pretty big, important part of the movie.  I think Colin actually told Peter that like you two are the secret sauce of the movie.

Yeah.

So can you talk a little bit about developing that and how that fits in the overall tone of what's going on?

It's cool, because we, Justice and I, had scenes in the movie, big scenes where it's about us.  And we just had so much fun and like from the moment I met him at the table read, it's so funny like we saw each other and it was like you.  And even Chris asked us, he was like, did you guys know each other before this?  I was like never met him.  But like just it was like oh you're my little brother.  I understand this now.  And so what's so fun about Justice is he's so, he's game for anything.  So I wouldn't tell him what I was going to do to him.  I saw what JA was doing and any opportunity to fuck with Justice I'm definitely gonna do it.  And he loves it.  So...

Does he really though?

He really does.

Like deep in his heart, do you not see like the sadness he's in?

Yeah.  Sometimes it's just like, oh my character's such a wuss. We, because I was messing with him and because it's like that in real life, like it was, it didn't feel like I was working with Justice.  In fact, we got in trouble a couple of times.  Well no, I take that back.  Justice got me in trouble by goofing off and because we're so closely associated on set now, we basically got like a slap on the hand.  Like you guys need to buck up and focus.  Because it's so easy to joke around.  But yeah, working with Justice was just like just a lot of fun.  And he gets comedy and he gets timing and we both have the same want for every scene, which is we just wanna make it as funny as we can.  That's really important to both of us, so that's what made this whole movie like a dream come true.  Like I got to check all my boxes and do everything that I wanted to do.  As far as like look like a badass and be taken seriously and do drama, but also like goof around.  And hopefully those goofy moments will make the movie.

Can you talk about how J.A. plays music on set sometimes?

Yeah.  That was the first time that I've ever encountered that on set.  And actually I recently watched some clips of Stanley Kubrick on the set of The Shining and he would also play music for, you know...

He'd play classical music, yeah.

Yeah.  And it's really, really effective.  He's like he gets to communicate exactly what he wants without really saying anything.  And I made a couple of requests.  It's a little bit like a DJ situation sometimes where you can say, J.A., for this scene, for me, can you play this song?  And if it's appropriate, he'll play it.

Do you remember specifically what you asked him to play?

What I did?  Yes.  It was the end credits, "Unchained Melody" from Ghost.  Yeah.

Oh.  Hey, iconic.

Yeah.  It's he plays sound effects, which I posted on Instagram, but he plays sound effects from previous movies.  From previous Jurassic Park movies.  Yeah.

And so like just as an actor how does that help you...?  Like I just wanna understand like when that happens, is it just something where you're able to let go and not be conscious of trying to reach an emotional level?  'Cause he was telling me that specifically he did three different things with Bryce.  And that he did one where it was like happy music.  He did one where it was scary music and one that it was sad music.  And it was just on her face.  And having a reaction.  And just by virtue of playing that and having her do it like that changed her performance each time.

Totally.  It almost feels like a cheat.  It almost feels like there's the music is making your job 75 percent easier.  Because music strikes such an emotion that you don't have to find it within yourself, you're just hearing it.  So actually it's such an effective tool.  Like I really, really, I really like it.  I just wish now for the scenes where I have lines and sound won't matter, I could play a song.  And I listen to music before a scene, so yeah, it's very effective.

Well, we just got told to wrap it up.  So I'd like to say thank you.

Oh yeah, absolutely.  Thanks, guys.  It's cool you got to talk to J.A.  Who else did you get to talk to?

We got Bryce, Chris, Justice and yeah, just lots of departments. We got to visit the creature shop. We got to pet Blue, which was really cool.

Oh cool.  That's dope.  You know that thing costs as much as a Bentley to make?

No shit. Which one?

The full body one.  Yeah.

Well, it's worth it. That was so sad.  Like I wanted, I almost wanted to cry because it was laying there.

I know.  Yeah, there's it made acting with Blue like also very easy because the thing was so real.  It just felt like you were really with like your wounded dog at the vet.  You're just like...fuck.

He's hurt, help him.

Yeah.  I'm so sad.

She's, 'cause it's a girl.  I get corrected on that.

Yeah.

And I knew better.

Not that it, not that, I don't know how much it changes a dinosaur's behavior.  Female.  It looks like you'll die either way.