Jurassic Park's original cast was VERY different 3 months ago

Jurassic Park's original cast was VERY different

Believe it or not, Jurassic Park was released 30 years ago this week!

Released in cinemas on 11 June 1993, Jurassic Park was truly a lightning-in-a-bottle moment of movie making, and a lot of that comes down the unique casting decisions.


Sure, looking back with three decades of hindsight, it was a series of genius ideas that landed us with Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum as our central trio, but they were not always first in line to take on their now-legendary roles.

So to celebrate Jurassic Park's anniversary, we're looking back on these famous characters and the performers who almost landed the roles in one of the biggest and best blockbusters ever made.

Alan Grant (Sam Neill)

The first person to be offered the role of the stuffy palaeontologist was William Hurt, the Oscar-winning actor A History Of Violence, but he reportedly turned the role down without even reading the script. So Spielberg turned to his good friend Harrison Ford, with whom he had worked with on the Indiana Jones movies, but Ford also turned it down, apparently thinking the role wasn't a good fit for him.


With less than a month to go before shooting began, Sam Neill was offered the role, off the back of his performances in The Hunt For Red October and Dead Calm. Neill told Entertainment Weekly: "It all happened real quick. I hadn't read the book, knew nothing about it, hadn't heard anything about it, and in a matter of weeks I'm working with Spielberg."

Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern)

While Laura Dern was Spielberg's first choice for the role of Doctor Sattler, she wasn't the only actress to receive an offer for the role. Robin Wright (House of Cards, The Princess Bride) was offered the part, but turned it down, as did Juliette Binoche (The Three Colors Trilogy). Gwyneth Paltrow (who had portrayed young Wendy in Spielberg's Hook) and Helen Hunt (Twister, As Good As It Gets) both auditioned for the role, before Spielberg ultimately went back to his original pick.


Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum)

The movie's casting director had always considered Jeff Goldblum the perfect choice for the role of the erratic mathematician, but one other up-and-coming Hollywood star did almost get the part: Jim Carrey. This would've been before 1994, the year Carrey took over the cinema-going world with his hat-trick of Ace Venture Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber. On Carrey's audition, casting director Janet Hirshenson said: "Jim was terrific, too, but I think pretty quickly we all loved the idea of Jeff."

John Hammond (Richard Attenborough)

Another Spielberg alumni almost took this role: Sean Connery. A few years after they worked together on The Last Crusade, Spielberg wanted Connery for the role of the kindly billionaire, but the former Bond reportedly turned it down. Connery has since become infamous for turning down roles in sci-fi/fantasy movies that he claimed he didn't understand, having also rejected the offers for Morpheus in The Matrix, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Rick Deckard in Blade Runner and Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies.


Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards)

Fresh from the success of The Addams Family, Christina Ricci auditioned for the role computer nerd Lex. However, Richards tells a story of how she landed the part: "I was called into a casting office, and they just wanted me to scream. I heard later on that Steven had watched a few girls on tape that day, and I was the only one who ended up waking his sleeping wife on the couch, and she came running through the hallway to see if the kids were all right". Yep, that'll do it.

Tim Murphy (Joseph Mazzello)

In the book, Tim is the older sibling and Lex is the younger sibling, but Spielberg asked the writer to swap their ages, because that is how much he wanted to work with Mazzello. The young actor was only eight years old when they began filming Jurassic Park, but he had auditioned for Spielberg for a part in Hook, but was deemed too young for that movie at the time. However, Spielberg promised Mazzello that he would work with him on a future film... and two years later, he was running from dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park is available to watch on Sky Cinema or with a NOW Cinema Membership right now.


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