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development hell

Why it took 10 years to bring 'Jurassic World' to the big screen

The fourth installment of the blockbuster series opens in Irish cinemas today. But it’s been a long, strange production process.

fs Universal Pictures Universal Pictures

THE FIRST THREE “Jurassic Park” films grossed a combined total of nearly $2 billion worldwide, so it’s a bit surprising “Jurassic World,” the latest installment in the franchise, took a decade to get made.

Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two installments in the franchise, came up with an idea for “Jurassic World” while on set for 2001′s “Jurassic Park III.” In 2002, it was announced a fourth “Jurassic Park” was slated for a summer 2005 release.

After delays and script rewrites the 2005 release was pushed to 2014, and finally 2015 as “Jurassic World” waded through a 10-year mess to make it to the big screen.

So what happened?

The delay partially stemmed from the fact that creative positions changed hands several times. Joe Johnston, the director of “Jurassic Park III,” didn’t want to take the director’s chair again. Instead, Johnston ended up directing 2011′s ”Captain America: The First Avenger.”

Meanwhile, multiple versions of a script for the fourth film circulated around Hollywood for the last decade.

According to the New York Times, several writers came in to work on it at different times. In January 2013, it was officially announced “Jurassic World” would be released June 2014. The timeline gave the project a little over a year for completion.

Yet, Colin Trevorrow, who previously directed the popular indie feature “Safety Not Guaranteed,” was up for this daunting task.

He was hired before he even got to see what was written down, and, when he did, he didn’t quite like what he saw.

3 Universal Pictures Universal Pictures

“I didn’t understand what it was about,” Trevorrow told the New York Times.

One of the early versions of the script that they were working off of was penned by Wiliam Monahan (who won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Departed”) and John Sayles (“Lone Star”).

This one featured a genetically modified dinosaur spliced with DNA of both a dinosaur and a human — which likely served as early inspiration of the hybrid Indominus Rex which appears in “Jurassic World.” Back in 2007, Moriarty at Ain’t It Cool News got a hold of a copy of this script and described it as ”A Dirty Dozen-style mercenary team of hyper-smart dinosaurs in body armour killing drug dealers and rescuing kidnapped children”.

So Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly did some edits to another version of the script, this one written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Among their alterations was the decision to expand on the idea of trained raptors and make them “as realistic as can be,” as Connolly told Empire.

4 Laura Dern and Sam Neill in the original.

Spielberg, who serves as executive producer (and was very heavily involved throughout the entire process despite never visiting the set) on “Jurassic World,” liked the new ideas, but decided not to rush it.

According to the same New York Times article, Spielberg told Trevorrow they should take another year, because “if we do it right this could be really special.”

Along with the writers and director, the cast shifted several times.

At one point, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Richard Attenborough were all set to reprise their “Jurassic Park” roles for the fourth film, a fact that all three of them had confirmed.

While Attenborough passed away in 2014, it seems Trevorrow wants to try and build something new and fresh out of an existing idea. Trevorrow and Connolly decided “Jurassic World” would be better off without the return of several “Jurassic Park” favourites.

7 BD Wong as Dr Henry Wu BD Wong as Dr Henry Wu

“I know a lot of fans want to see the original characters back. They’re iconic.” Trevorrow said in an interview with IGN.

But I respect those actors too much to shoehorn them into this story for my own sentimental reasons. ‘Jurassic Park’ isn’t about the bad luck of three people who keep getting thrown into the same situation. The only reason they’d go back to that island is if the screenwriters contrived a reason for them to go.

Despite this, B.D. Wong is set to reprise his role as Dr. Henry Wu.

It might have taken ten years to assemble, but it looks like they might not do too badly with this cast, which is led by Chris Pratt. Following the overwhelming success of “The LEGO Movie” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Pratt has become one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He is joined by the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio (“Daredevil”), and Jake Johnson.

“Jurassic World” opens in Ireland today.

Read: Chris Pratt wrote an excellent ‘pre-apology’ for anyone he might offend during his press tour

Read: The new dinosaur-tastic trailer for Jurassic World has landed — here’s the internet’s verdict

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