UPDATE: Universal Pictures announced late Thursday afternoon that Colin Trevorrow would direct “Jurassic Park 4,” ending months of speculation about who would helm the third sequel to 1993’s blockbuster “Jurassic Park.”
Trevorrow is a relative Hollywood newcomer, having directed only one other film previously, 2012’s “Safety Not Guaranteed,” for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. That film featured a science fiction-esque time travel plot, which bodes well for how Trevorrow might handle the genetically-engineered dinosaurs at the heart of the “Jurassic Park” franchise.
Below, you can check out what else we currently know about the upcoming sequel, including the now debunked rumors that Steven Spielberg would direct.
EARLIER: Ever since Steven Spielberg announced plans for “Jurassic Park 4” at Comic-Con in 2011, the lack of concrete details about the film led some to speculate that the project was extinct. But with a release date finally announced earlier this year — the movie will roar into theaters June 13, 2014 — the third sequel to the 1993 blockbuster about genetically engineered dinosaurs is set to become a reality.
Even with that release date looming, there’s still very little information about the movie that’s been confirmed, including the basic plot and who’s signed on to star in the film. Producer Frank Marshall teased fans earlier this week with a cryptic Twitter update, stating, “All’s well on JP4, updates soon.”
For those who can’t wait any longer for news about the long-gestating sequel, we’ve gathered all the facts we currently know about “Jurassic Park 4,” including where and when it’s rumored to be shooting, and what kind of effects audiences can expect.
Script and Plot
Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who penned the script for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” were brought on last year to write the “Jurassic Park 4” screenplay, though what that screenplay might entail is anyone’s guess. When Spielberg announced the project at Comic-Con, he said that there was already a writer and a story in mind. In June 2011, Spielberg reportedly met with screenwriter Mark Protosevich to kick around ideas on how to reboot the franchise.
Way back in 2009, Joe Johnston, who directed “Jurassic Park III,” told Ain’t It Cool News that there was “a great story” for the film already being discussed, “and it’s nothing like the first three.” Last year, Johnston told Screen Rant that the film “starts with the history of the first trilogy,” but will begin “a new trilogy that will go off in a … a completely different direction that is very exciting, and different from anything we’ve seen.”
In September, Kathleen Kennedy (a producer on the first three movies, who left the franchise to focus on the new “Star Wars” film) told Coming Soon that the project was in a “writing, writing, writing” phase.
Last year, io9 posted images of what were believed to be concept art based on an old script idea involving dinosaur-human hybrids created to kill off the dinosaurs from the original films. Here’s hoping that that cheesy-sounding scenario is nothing more than speculation.
There’s been almost no news about who will star in “Jurassic Park 4,” though Laura Dern, who played Dr. Ellie Sattler in the original film, told IFC last month that she wasn’t sure whether or not original cast members would be asked to return — or if she would even be interested.
“I know a little and it’s been ever-changing,” Dern said of the film. “It’s been evolving for many years as Steven has been considering it so that’s all I can say right now.”
io9’s report about the concept art indicated that the film would feature a protagonist new to the series, although since that idea was dated back to 2007, we’re guessing that that story won’t be the one audiences will see next summer.
In keeping with the tight-lipped nature of script and casting news, information on where and when the film will be shot has been purely speculative. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported earlier this week that Universal appears to be prepping to film “Jurassic Park 4” in Baton Rouge, reserving the city’s Raleigh Studios from April to November of this year.
While producer Frank Marshall tweeted in February that “No decisions have been made regarding where we are shooting,” the Times-Picayune noted that Universal had already shot two films at Raleigh Studios — last year’s “Battleship” and the forthcoming Tom Cruise vehicle “Oblivion” — and had filed paperwork with the state of Louisiana to renamed its Cirque Investments LLC (under which it shot 2009 film “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”) to Ebb Tide Films.
Screen Rant speculated that “Ebb Tide” could refer to a John Williams composition by the same name. Williams previously composed the music for “Jurassic Park,” leading fans to wonder if the name was a veiled reference to “Jurassic Park 4.”
Regardless of where the movie’s shooting, Marshall said that much like the first film, which pioneered certain visual effects, advances in technology would ensure that “Jurassic Park 4” would also be a visually-stunning movie.
“That’s what’s gonna be great about it, technology’s taken a leap now that we can really do some great things,” Marshall told Collider last July.
Marshall also indicated that filmmakers wouldn’t abandon physical dinosaur models and prosthetics used in the previous films, saying that those elements help both audiences and actors relate better to the movie.
Before Universal’s announcement, speculation about who would helm the project ran wild. This question seemed to be the most difficult to answer, since, like most elements of the film, very little had been revealed by the filmmakers. While Spielberg was set to produce, some media outlets wondered whether a recent opening in his schedule had paved the way for the franchise’s original director to return to that post.
Drew McWeeny at HitFix posted an article Thursday detailing his belief that Spielberg would be poised to take a seat in the director’s chair as a way to drum up excitement for the sequel and infuse it with his gravitas.
“Crew who are meeting on the film aren’t being told who is directing, and it really does force us to question why there’s such a veil of secrecy,” McWeeny wrote. “If they were going to announce somebody new to the series, someone who has made some money for them on something else or someone up-and-coming, wouldn’t they just announce it already?”
While it was a grand idea, CinemaBlend noted that it’s probably best to temper such optimism with a healthy dose of caution.
“It is interesting that the crew isn’t being told the identity of their future director, which gives us some reason to think there’s some major director in negotiations for the job,” the site said. “Just maybe not the major director you’re hoping for.”