Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern and Sam Neill addressed their relatively unnoticed 20-year age gap in the 1993 blockbuster for the first time. The actors reflected on Steven Spielberg's choice to cast them as love interests in the original film as they prepared to reprise their roles as palaeobotanist Ellie Sattler and paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic World Dominion.
Dern was 23 years old when cast for Jurassic Park, and Neill was in his early 40s. "I am 20 years older than Laura! Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady," Neill told The (London) Sunday Times of the casting. "It 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,' " he added.
As a 55-year-old, Ford starred in Six Days, Seven Nights opposite then-29-year-old Anne Heche in 1998. In the 1999 film Entrapment, Sean Connery was 39 years older than his love interest, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Dern discussed being 20 years younger than Neill from today's perspective. "Our age gap in Jurassic Park was completely inappropriate," she said. The actress said that at the time, she considered it "completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill."
"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?'" Dern remarked. She and Neil are slated to appear in the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion alongside current franchise star Chris Pratt. As Pratt, 42, explained on the Today show this month, the film is "the end of this franchise."
"Is it really the end?" asked Today co-host, Savannah Guthrie."I really do think it's the end, yeah," he answered. "You got the legacy cast back — Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum — plus the cast of Jurassic World, all our storylines converging in a way that is very much a finale."
According to Pratt, it was "actually insane" to work closely with Neill, 74, Dern, 55, and Goldblum, 69, after they last appeared together in the original 1993 movie. "The first time I saw Jurassic Park, I was 13 — I had no idea I was gonna ever be an actor ... and these folks were, like, cemented in my mind as icons," Pratt said. "So to be working with them, it's a dream come true."
According to director Colin Trevorrow in a December 2021 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dern, Neill, and Goldblum will each have significant roles in the sequel. "They have equal screen time to Chris and Bryce [Dallas Howard]. They're major characters from start to finish," he said.
Goldblum told People it was a pleasure to reunite with Dern and Neill after almost three decades and said, "We totally fell back into step." "We had such a close experience on the first one, and they're of course two of the greatest actors of our time in the world. And so I loved it," Goldblum said. "We've stayed in touch over the years, but that was so exciting." Jurassic World: Dominion will release in theaters on June 10.