When Steven Spielberg passed on directing Jurassic Park III (after helming the first and second installments), he handed the reins over to filmmaker Joe Johnston, who had served as his art director on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom. The latter was in discussions for Jurassic Park IV early on, but the directing job eventually went to Colin Trevorrow instead. Trevorrow broke out last year with the film Safety Not Guaranteed, which is an indie dramedy about a cynical young magazine employee (Aubrey Plaza) who, along with one of her peers and an intern, investigates a classified ad placed by someone who’s looking for a time-travel companion.
Schmoes Knows interviewed Trevorrow at the 2013 Saturn Awards, where they asked the filmmaker about how his experience with making JP4 – at this stage of development anyway - compares to working on Safety Not Guaranteed. Trevorrow replied as follows:
“Surprisingly it’s not that different [from 'Safety Not Guaranteed]. We have a very small team who we’re working with right now. It’s incredible to have Steven [Spielberg], who’s done this for decades and has such an incredible filmic knowledge and this understanding of the language of story – in a way that for us, is very refreshing. It’s not like getting notes from a studio executive. It’s really trying to crack this and make it the best movie it can be.”
Potential Jurassic Park IV script details leaked online a couple weeks ago, and while the information is, in fact, reported to have come from an earlier draft, Trevorrow is said to have made significant changes to the screenplay since then. It seems that the story for JP4 may still take place on Isla Nublar (i.e. the island in the first movie), but what’s less certain is whether the more far-fetched elements from the early script draft – like velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus Rexes that have been domesticated at an operational Jurassic Park – have likewise been included in the most recent script cut.
There was potential for something good in that early JP4 script breakdown, which was presumably for a/the draft co-written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Hence, it’s encouraging to hear about both Trevorrow and Spielberg – who is executive producing – making efficient use of the extra year for development (following the project’s delay from a 2014 release date) – and shaping JP4 into a solid blockbuster, one which amounts to more than the nostalgia cash-grab that many fear it could be.
On that note, Trevorrow dodged a question about whether or not JP4 will, in essence, reboot the Jurassic Park franchise, but emphasized that he is well-aware of the history and cultural impact of this series:
“We don’t want to create a new scoop here [laughs], but we really want to honor what came before us. We are very aware of how much a certain generation especially cares about this movie and we talk about it all the time in conversations. It’s not about us, it’s not about our careers, it’s – how do we make something that can stand [against the first ‘Jurassic Park’]?”
Trevorrow has made similar comments in the past, about being invested in fulfilling fans’ expectations – and not wanting to tarnish their memories – while he works on a new version or installment in a beloved genre property (though, depending on how you feel about the Jurassic Park sequels, it may be too late for that). At the time, though, he was secretly referring to a Flight of the Navigator remake, which he could still direct sometime after JP4 is finished.
While it was partly due to his Navigator comments, Trevorrow was once a heavily-rumored name to direct Star Wars: Episode VII, for reasons that may also extend to him having impressed some hotshot executives and producers around Hollywood.
Safety Not Guaranteed may be a far cry from a Jurassic Park movie (in terms of content, style, budget, etc.), but it likewise shows that Trevorrow is an adept storyteller with a sincere fondness for the cinema medium. We can only hope that potential ends up being realized, starting with JP4.
Do you approve of Trevorrow directing Jurassic Park IV? Or are you reserving judgement until we get more explicit details about what exactly he has in mind for the film?
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.