Laura Dern Joined Jurassic Park Thanks To A Push From Nicolas Cage

It is hard to imagine a world where Laura Dern was not a part of "Jurassic Park." Just try and imagine Ellie Sattler played by anyone other than her. Difficult, right? After all, Dr. Sattler is arguably the most recognizable character in the entire franchise outside of the dinosaurs and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). She was charming, badass, and gave us the iconic line "dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the earth" in the original 1993 film. Dern's charisma and strong performance solidified Sattler as a fan-favorite from the moment she appeared on screen.

That makes this revelation strange to envision, but there was a time when she was considering not taking the role. What a different world that would be! Thankfully, she told Entertainment Weekly during a "Jurassic Park" oral history that a not-so-surprising friend and costar eventually convinced her to give it a shot.

I'd go to the far end of the world for you, baby

Entertainment Weekly reported that director Steven Spielberg had one choice for Sattler, and that was Laura Dern. He immediately began seeking out actors for the movie after figuring out what aspects of the original Michael Crichton novel to keep, change, and eliminate. It's unclear if there was a particular role that drew him to the actress, but given her previous roles in 1985's "Smooth Talk" and 1986's "Blue Velvet," the fact that he sought her out shouldn't be a surprise. Besides, have you seen her in "Smooth Talk?"

Dern recounted to EW that her agents told her Spielberg wanted to reach out to her for a leading role. However, one thing stopped her from immediately taking the role: It was about dinosaurs. She was skeptical, eventually deciding to discuss it with her friend and "Wild at Heart" costar Nicolas Cage.

"I said to him, 'Nic, they want to put me on the phone with Steven Spielberg, but they want to talk to me about a dinosaur movie,'" said Dern.

Needless to say, Cage's response to the news was enthusiastic. Dern continued, saying he encouraged her to take it because, as he said, "no one can ever say no to a dinosaur movie."

So, what are you thinking?

Much like you shouldn't be surprised that Steven Spielberg immediately wanted Laura Dern for the role of Sattler, you shouldn't be surprised that Nicolas Cage ended up being the person who convinced her to take it on. The two were hot tickets in Hollywood thanks to the praises they received for their performances in David Lynch's 1990 film "Wild at Heart," even if the film's overall reception was mixed. Cage's enthusiasm for the offer presented to Dern is also pretty on par with the actor; his enthusiasm for dinosaurs culminated in his controversial purchase and subsequent return of a Mongolian dinosaur skull in 2015 (per BBC).

Although Cage was the one who convinced her to take the call with Spielberg, it wasn't until the actual meeting that Dern agreed to sign on. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, she revealed the very line that the director said that convinced her to take on the role.

"I talked to Steven and he goes, 'I know that you're doing your independent films,'" she said, "'but I need you to be chased by dinosaurs, in awe of dinosaurs, and have the adventure of a lifetime. Will you do this with me?'"

We all know what Dern eventually answered with, and the world is a better place for it. She will return to the role in 'Jurassic World Dominion,' which arrives in theaters on June 10, 2022.