• Zack Sharf, Variety

Jurassic Park age gap felt ‘completely appropriate’


Actress Laura Dern in Jurassic Park. (Universal Pictures/IMDb/TNS)

Laura Dern and Sam Neill headlined Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park as paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and paleontologist Alan Grant, respectively. The two characters fall in love during the film despite the 20-year age gap that existed between Dern and Neill during the making of the film. Dern was 23 years old when filming started and 26 when the movie opened in 1993. Neill, on the other hand, was 43 years old during the shoot. Neither actor was too concerned with their age gap and their characters’ romance.


“I am 20 years older than Laura!” Neill recently told The Sunday Times. “Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady. [The age gap being inappropriate] never occurred to me until I opened a magazine and there was an article called ‘Old Geezers and Gals.’ People like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery acting with much younger people. And there I was, on the list. I thought, ‘Come on. It can’t be true.’”


“Well, it felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill,” Dern added about the age gap. “And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, ‘Wow! We’re not the same age?’”


While making Jurassic World, Dern was less focused on her age and more focused on ensuring her character, Ellie Sattler, pushed forward female representation on the big screen. Dern cites Ellie in the same category as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the Alien franchise as movie characters that changed Hollywood’s view on female action heroes.


“It’s really moving,” Dern said. “A lot of women in tech and science point to a similarity between Ellie’s heroism and women in their field.”


This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill in Jurassic World Dominion, a bold, timely and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe.


Jurassic Park featured main characters played by Laura Dern (center) and Sam Neill (right). (Universal Pictures/IMDb/TNS)

From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live—and hunt—alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.


Jurassic World Dominion, from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, propels the more than $5 billion franchise into daring, uncharted territory, featuring never-before-seen dinosaurs, breakneck action and astonishing new visual effects.


The film features new cast members DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), Emmy nominee Mamoudou Athie (Archive 81), Dichen Lachman (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Scott Haze (Minari) and Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The film’s returning cast includes BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez and Omar Sy as Barry Sembenè.


Jurassic World Dominion is directed by Colin Trevorrow, who steered 2015’s Jurassic World to a record-shattering $1.7 billion global box office. The screenplay is by Emily Carmichael (Battle at Big Rock) and Colin Trevorrow from a story by Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) and Trevorrow, based on characters created by Michael Crichton. Jurassic World Dominion is produced by acclaimed franchise producers Frank Marshall p.g.a. and Patrick Crowley p.g.a. and is executive produced by legendary, Oscar-winning franchise creator Steven Spielberg, Alexandra Derbyshire and Colin Trevorrow.


Jurassic World Dominion was released on June 10, 2022.


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Gina Rullo contributed to this report.