Following the release of the first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Independent sat down with director JA Bayona who teased what fans can expect from the which will be released in 2018.
Following on from events of Colin Trevorrow’s immensely successful Jurassic World, the sequel will see Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the dinosaur-riddled island in a bid to save the creatures from an erupting volcano – something Bayona tells us only “hints at a short section of the movie.”
The sequel also sees the return of Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcolm in what Bayona describes as a “cameo” yet “meaningful” role.
“It’s a disaster dinosaur movie – a new genre,” Bayona quips. “There’s a lot more to show.”
Check out our full interview with Bayona below.
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How have you brought the dinosaurs to life this time around?
Colin and I would talk a lot about bringing back as many animatronics as possible which is very challenging because animatronics are normally designed for very specific shots; it’s not like you can have an animatronic that looks amazing for one shot and not use it in the next shot, so it’s limited. But at the same time, I think it makes a difference when you have an animatronic on set for the performance. It even helps for the CGI later on because you have real textures, something real. There was a video that was released – that short shot of Owen with baby Blue; you can tell seeing Chris [Pratt] that he was acting in front of something real even though that shot is CGI – but there was a puppet that looked exactly like Blue so you can tell by the performance that he’s moved by the real thing. So they’re very helpful. I think the combination is the secret for success – when you can combine CGI with animatronics in the same scene and there’s a moment where you can trick the audience so they don’t know what they’re watching. That was the best plan.
What were your inspirations going into the sequel?
From the moment I was thinking about being in charge of a Jurassic movie, my first instinct was to go back to the reaction I had watching the first Jurassic Park when I was a kid. I talked to Colin [Trevorrow] about it and we all agreed that we wanted to bring back not just the wonder that the first Jurassic World had but an element of fear and terror that the first Jurassic Park had; the first time you encounter a t-rex or that famous scene in the kitchen with the velociraptors. We wanted to bring back some more scary elements with fear and horror in this one.
I can tell from the trailer the sequel has a darker tone – and correct me if I’m wrong but the colour grading even seems bleaker than the vibrant colours of the first one. Was that intentional?
It’s a very interesting question – basically you’re only watching the volcano scene which lived under the massive shadow of a dark cloud so the colours and lights will never be as shiny in a different context.. But of course, for the moment the remaining dinosaurs are threatened by the volcano and it’s all about rescuing them. It’s going to be more dangerous.
What was the key thing for you and Colin [Trevorrow, writer] going into the sequel?
First of all, I like the story, I like how the saga moves forward so it’s not a repetition, it’s not about the park anymore – the park is already closed. There’s a rescue mission but it’s not a rescue mission to save people but to save animals, so everything felt new to me. Then the goal was to work on the set-pieces. It was all about going back to that Hitchcockian suspense that put the audience on the edge of their seats, so I was very focused in designing the set-pieces very meticulously shot by shot in order to create the biggest experience for the audience.
What can you tell us about Jeff Goldblum’s return?
He’s more like a cameo – he doesn’t have a major role in the action but it’s definitely a very meaningful one in terms of the story. He’s always somehow been the voice of the conscience in these movies, telling us where the red lines are. He plays that role in this film. For Colin and I, it was about finding connections with the old trilogy – that makes it very rich as we are expanding Jurassic World but also finding new connections with Jurassic Park.
Are there other references and callbacks to the first three films to look forward to?
It’s an illusion of the same universe. We have James Cromwell playing a character who has a relationship established with John Hammond, we have BD Wong playing Dr Wu again. it’s kind of exciting when you find your connections take the story to a whole new level.
Will we see the return of some old dinosaurs as well as new ones? I’m holding out for a return of the dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park…
[He smiles] In terms of the number of dinosaurs, it’s massive. It’s not just a question of the quantity but the variety of them. You have all the big dinosaurs you love from the other films – the triceratops, T-rex, velociraptors but you have new ones – the baryonyx you see in front of Claire [Bryce Dallas howard]. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises but you’ll have new dinsoaurs.
Considering you directed on of the scariest films of the century (The Orphanage), did you get to apply some of that horror to the sequel?
I think that was the intention from the very beginning. Colin thought about [hiring] me for the sequel because of The Orphanage which I was surprised by, and Steven [Spielberg] thought of me because of The Impossible. Separately, you know. You will find elements of both films in this new one.
How closely did you get to work with Spielberg?
It’s never close enough because I would spend my whole life talking to him. But he was great. One of the reasons I wanted to do the film was because I wanted to meet him and have the chance of working together on something. It was amazing to sit down and show him the scenes, show him the shots and have conversations about it. [He gave] constant feedback – he doesn’t stop having ideas! It was a dream come true. The expectations were high and they were overpassed.
There’s been a lot of talk about the dinosaurs being ‘weaponised’ in the sequel – what does that mean?
This is a constant debate on the internet [he laughs] I’m not going to talk about it…
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is released 7 June 2018