‘Jurassic World’ Interview: Director Colin Trevorrow
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am
Colin Trevorrow is going to be a name you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the coming years. Though the filmmaker does have a few directing credits to his name, he got his first major recognition for his Sundance comedy hit, Safety [Not Guaranteed]. After that, he made the leap from small indie film to Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, and more. The film, which takes place 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, sees a fully functioning park complete with rides, interactive experiences, and family friendly shows. But behind the scenes, there is a villainous plan that will put the park and everyone in it, in real danger.
We were given a special phone interview with director Colin Trevorrow, where we got to talk about Jurassic World, making that jump from an indie film to a major blockbuster, the threat that social media and internet blogging leaks present to a film production, practical effects vs CG, Star Wars, and much more.
Check out the interview below.
Geeks of Doom: So congratulations on the movie. I gotta ask, what’s the world tour been like?
Colin Trevorrow: It has been an experience. We went to China. We were on a show with 200 million viewers, which was a first for me. Then we went to the UK. Then we went to Paris, where we had the premiere – it was fantastic. We went to Berlin as well. It was a blast.
Geeks of Doom: What are some of the joys and frightening things about making the jump from an indie film like Safety [Not Guaranteed] to a major blockbuster like Jurassic World?
Colin Trevorrow: The food is a lot better. That’s a gift. I think that not having your imagination limited by the affordability that I could think of, is another. Safety [Not Guaranteed] is something I am very proud of, and I love it very much. And part of I think its charm and limitations, and the fact that it was made on such a small amount, that once imagination does occur, it creates a very specific feeling that I love. This movie has no challenge because you do have unlimited resources. You could put anything you want onscreen. So the challenge here is to restrain yourself from just throwing everything into the kitchen sink.
Geeks of Doom: With nothing being able to be kept a secret nowadays thanks to the internet and social media, how terrified were you when certain plot points were leaked out?
Colin Trevorrow: It was a giant bummer when that happened, and it was a while ago now. We’ve actually been able to keep things relatively locked down obviously, when you get into toys. It was a bummer, and in the end that was a very specific situation where one particular blogger had a choice as to whether or not he was going to share all of these details of our movie before we started shooting. He made that choice. I hope in the future, certainly scenarios like that, if someone is given information that is clearly not meant to be shared that they might think about how it is going to affect the audience and they might hold on to it.
Geeks of Doom: Many are praising filmmakers making use of practical effects. With this being new territory for you, where did you draw the line on what had to be CG and what had to be practical?
Colin Trevorrow: I think a big part of it was finding practical locations, and building sets, and trying to cut down on digital environments. I think there is this kind of catch all use CG thing, because I think it has been overused and misused. Excellent CG and excellent animation can be transcendent and extraordinary, and I don’t want our desire to have everything be the way it was when we were kids, to be overlooked by the fact that we have the best animators we’ve ever worked with in the game. That said, it is really important, and it is really essential to have environments that are real, and to have effects such as fire, explosions, and destruction be real, because it will make their work feel that much more visceral, and that they actually exist.
Geeks of Doom: Various documentaries like Blackfish have exploited the unethical treatment of animals. Did that documentary sort of have an influence on your narrative, or was that just more of a coincidence?
Colin Trevorrow: It was a bit of a coincidence. Some of the ideas in that movie did form, just from a research standpoint, the mythology of our animal, and the reason why the way it was. I don’t even think it is specifically Blackfish that rather than the way animals are kept in captivity without others, without having seen any other animals of its kind, or any other kind that can end up being deranged and even homicidal. It provided a motivation for our new villain to be more than just a villain, to be nuanced and ideally somewhat sympathetic in its murderous villainy.
Geeks of Doom: So what were some of the things that Steven Spielberg helped you out with, because he said he handpicked you to direct this film?
Colin Trevorrow: He helped in every stage of the process, and it was a profoundly rewarding creative experience for me to be treated with such respect, by someone who certainly didn’t need to treat me as a peer the way that he did. We made something that is a true collaboration, and is a hybrid of instincts from two people from two different generations. I think you can feel it in the film that is something special.
Geeks of Doom: Is there a particular reason why Jurassic World feels more connected to Jurassic Park than the other sequels?
Colin Trevorrow: It is more organic than that. The first movie was about a park being constructed, something that was in beta-testing mode. This is about that park coming to life. The other films took place on other islands and had storylines that don’t necessarily intersect with that original story. It was just a very natural result of the story we chose to tell. We do have references to The Lost World and Jurassic Park III as well, but we could not fit them in beyond what made narrative sense.
Geeks Of Doom: Is the reason why you are not returning to do a Jurassic World sequel due to sheer exhaustion or just wanting to do something else?
Colin Trevorrow: No. I’m not actually exhausted. I was pretty exhilarated by this film. I had the time of my life. It’s not that at all. We finished this movie ahead of schedule and under budget, and did not do reshoots, and has been an absolute pleasure. I say that in all honesty. I am not covering up for some other story. This is something that Steven and I agreed to a long time ago, and I mentioned, actually, that in our very first meeting that it was important for me to tell different kinds of stories, and to be able to earn whatever street cred I have or will have as a filmmaker by making different kinds of films, and existing and living in different kinds of worlds. But that doesn’t mean I am not going to be involved. I do think, and this is just my honest answer, that this franchise that would be one that is best served more under the model with what Mission: Impossible has done with different directors bringing in new visions to something, that is in danger of something that has become repetitive. And this is just really me more acting as the custodians of this now to make sure that this continues on to be fresh and vital.
Geeks of Doom: Congrats on not doing any reshoots and going under budget, that is so rarely heard of.
Colin Trevorrow: Believe me, I don’t take it for granted, and I recognize the rare and unqiue situtation. It went very smoothly.
Geeks of Doom: Moving on to some other questions, would you ever consider directing the second Star Wars: Anthology film now that there is a job opening?
Colin Trevorrow: I can tell you for a fact that I am not directing that Star Wars Anthology movie. But I can’t wait to see who they choose, and I feel like the choices they have made have been pretty inspired so far. Just as a fan in general, I’m pretty excited about what’s going on in that universe.
Geeks Of Doom: So what is your next project then?
Colin Trevorrow: I am doing a movie now called Book of Henry that we are putting together for the fall, and is a story that I just wanted to tell for so long, I just think it’s a fantastic screenplay, and I have a reverence for great writing. It is a great challenge, this movie, and I want to take on this challenge. I also have another film called Intelligent Life, which is a new Amblin movie, that I am doing with Frank [Marshall] and Steven [Spielberg], and I hope that it will set a tone for potentially other filmmakers to start making those kinds of stories again. Amblin was something that was very important to me as a kid, and they made a lot of the movies that defined me as a filmmaker and me as a human being. That is something I hope to be involved in to make sure these kinds of stories keep getting told in the future. After that, we will see. It is a long life I am 38-years old.
Geeks Of Doom: Last question. There is a scene where the new kid has a near-death experience with the raptors, and Owen (Chris Pratt) ended up having to save his life. He then asked the kid if he ever wondered why there was a job opening. Was there ever an itch to have a shot on someone filling out a Jurassic World job application on a section that said Safety [Not Guaranteed]?
Colin Trevorrow: That’s funny. No. No one really notices this, but Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) does have a line where she is entering the Indominous Rex pad, where she says one of the handlers nearly lost and arm, the other threatened to quit if I could not guarantee their safety. So that was our very subtle shout out to my movie.
Jurassic World opens in theaters on June 12.
Jurassic World – Trailer #2 (Universal Pictures) HD