Interview – Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, stars of Jurassic World: Dominion

Roaring into cinemas on June 9 in Australia, the final chapter in the Jurassic Park/World saga sees the return of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, once again face man’s greatest predator, the dinosaur, in Jurassic World: Dominion.

Thanks to Universal Pictures, I had the chance to attend a virtual press conference with the stars of the film, Chris Pratt (Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing) to chat about returning for the final film, working with the iconic legacy characters and what movies Chris Pratt think Jurassic World could crossover with (trust me, you won’t expect his answer)!

How excited were you to return to these beloved characters for the grand finale?

Chris Pratt: Oh, so excited! It’s been a wild ride, for sure. 9 years and 3 great films. This film is truly, like you said, a grand finale. It’s really a magnificent ending to two trilogies – both Jurassic Park, with the legacy characters returning, and Jurassic World. It’s very exciting. Any time you have a script that is this good, and we have Colin [Trevorrow] returning to direct, we know we’re in safe hands. And knowing that we [Pratt and Dallas Howard] we’re going to share the screen with the legacy cast, it really doesn’t get better than that. It’s hard to imagine another scenario where I would get to do this for work.

Bryce Dallas Howard: I feel the exact same. When we started the movie in February 2020, then got shut down in March, quite early into production, there was a point where we didn’t know if we were going to get to finish the movie. Everyone, all over the world, was dealing with some form of that question. And when we came back – we were one of the first productions to come back after the pandemic, there was a lot of concern about it [the pandemic], but what eclipsed it was the gratitude and excitement that we all had. The movie was originally supposed to come out last year [2021], but while we were shooting, it was decided to push it back to this year. And I am so glad for that, because it feels like by the time this comes out, it’ll be summer, movies will be open. It’s time to go back to the movies! It’s something we would have been looking forward to no matter what, but given the circumstances of the last few years, it’s even more exciting that this is coming out!

Claire and Owen are now raising Maisie, just as Blue raised Beta. How was it portraying these characters as parents?

Chris: I think it was a great, natural next step for the evolution of these characters. One thing for both of us that was important to us if we were going to keep reprising these roles, is that we wouldn’t keep repeating the same story. That ‘will-they-won’t-they’ of the first film, rolled into something different in the second film and has now rolled into something different in this film. You know that sexual chemistry is now left for Sam Neill and Laura Dern who light the screen up with red hot chemistry! It’s wonderful, it’s elegantly sentimental.

Bryce: It’s what Chris is saying, we didn’t want to repeat those beats of ‘will-they-won’t-they’. Chris and I talk about our kids all the time. Parenting is something that we are so passionate about, and that teamwork that is required for parenting is something that came naturally for Claire and Owen, but also for me and Chris. The fact that they’re parents know, I absolutely love that. I love that you met these characters when – at least for my character – when she was more selfish. And now, she’s a parent which is the most selfless thing you can do. It’s been a great arc for both of us.

Imagine that this movie is not the finale, how do you see Jurassic World continuing?

Bryce: Well, I’d say for Claire, at the beginning of the movie, she has everything she wants. She has her partner and her daughter. But the world is upside down, and she feels responsible for that. I’m interested in the conflict of that and see how she will grapple with that.

Chris: I mean, I don’t know! It’s hard to speculate without making it a bit or making it funny. I’ve heard people say that they want to see Jurassic World crossover with The Fast and The Furious! What’s that Universal property where they all sing together? Elizabeth Banks directed it…

Bryce: Pitch Perfect!

Chris: Yeah! I’d rather see a Jurassic World/Pitch Perfect crossover, to see all these glee kids get chomped up by dinosaurs! But, if a script was really good, it would be interesting. I don’t really see Owen in anymore of these movies.

The nostalgia around Jurassic Park is huge, what are some of your childhood memories with the film and how do you feel about being a part of the last one?

Bryce: I was 12 years old when I saw Jurassic Park in the theatres. Chris was 13 years old, seeing in the theatres opening weekend. We were very much so at similar stages of development as people. I remember my parents seeing it opening night, and my dad [Ron Howard] coming home and telling me that this movie has changed cinema forever and that I had to see it in the theatre. So, that Saturday, I went and saw it at the cinema, and I became emotional. I had been on some many of my dad’s sets growing up and seeing all the innovation that was possible. When I saw Jurassic Park, I got emotional because I knew what my dad had said about cinema changing was real. That experience will always stay with me and I want that every time I go to the theatre.

Chris: I don’t think I can top that!

Looking back on all three Jurassic World films, and other films you’ve worked on, has working with effects become any easier?

Chris: I once heard that every time an actor refers to his work as a ‘craft’, an angel gets kicked in the nuts. So, forgive me angels, but what we do is a craft, it’s a trade. You develop tools on one job with effects, that you may rely on for the next job. We’re making a motion picture that requires various techniques that are unique to the creation, but don’t necessarily have an impact on the end result. The end result usually looks great! In our case, it’s much more beneficial to touch an animatronic rather than a CGI puppet, because it feels and looks more real.

Bryce: $60,000 per touch!

Chris: You know, creating an organic interaction between yourself and something else, when you have a performance driven by puppeteers will actually affect what you have prepared to do. But, yes, doing it over and over again does make it easier, it is… a ‘craft’.

This film brings back the original trio – Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum – how did it feel acting alongside them?

Bryce: Absolutely amazing on so many levels! Just before we started shooting Dominion, Laura won an Oscar! Let’s put aside Jurassic Park for a second, they have all done so many projects that have had such a huge impact on culture. And they themselves are incredibly talented and they are beautiful human beings. And then we get to work with them as their characters! Like, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm.

Chris: Finding out the Sam Neill isn’t American! Like what, you’re Dr. Alan Grant, man [laughs]. You’re not from New Zealand… this is crazy.

Thanks again to Universal Pictures for the chance to chat with the films stars! You can see Jurassic World: Dominion, only in Australian cinemas June 9.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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