What’s it like being thrown around in the actual jungle for the filming of Jurassic World? According to relative newcomer Nick Robinson, who plays angsty teen/older brother Zach in the film, it’s occasionally tough, but mostly fun work. Screen Rant recently sat down with Robinson to discuss all things Jurassic: what it was like to shoot on the original Jurassic Park set, what they used on set to in place of actual dinosaurs, and his thoughts on a sequel.
Hint: some of the crew members are very good at playing velociraptors and also know exactly how to set the filmmaking mood with John Williams’ original theme. Find out all those goods and more in the conversation below in which we also asked Robinson for his thoughts on his next buzzworthy project, the big screen adaptation of the YA book The 5th Wave.
Obviously I’m not an actor, so I think it’s fascinating how you guys get into the mind space of being attacked by dinosaurs. What was the most fun aspect of stretching your acting muscles here?
You are certainly allowed quite a bit of freedom, which is fun. You get free reign with your imagination and get to kind of connect the dots. It was challenging but at the same time it was also really fun to have free reign to do whatever you want, have this world come to life [in your head]. It was a double-edged sword, the most challenging and the most fun.
Were there places where you had to psych yourself up to be scared or did the crew and their various techniques help with that?
The crew definitely did help. They would play the John Williams theme song, so good, as you were about to go into a scene, which really gets you into the magic of the moment. Colin was really helpful, between his notes and his direction he’s a pretty intimate director, he likes to come up and talk to you one on one.
I heard that some of the crew might have been pranking each other with the Raptor heads, was there any part of that which got to you or made you jump at all?
It was all pretty surprising and thrilling. As far as the Raptors go, it was pretty fun because we had these professional dancers who would mimic the movements of the Raptors, it was awesome. The most surprising part, it may have just been when they brought in the actual animatronic. It was awesome to see the intense focus and care that went into making it and how detailed it was.
How did you see the finished film for the first time?
Colin was going to test out the IMAX feature and invited us along, Ty and I, so we got to sit in a big empty theater, IMAX 3D, it doesn’t get any better than that.
What was surprising to you about seeing all the finished effects?
It was definitely bigger than I could’ve imagined. The scope is just huge, the shot of the fully-functional park where it goes out the window across the whole landscape, or the I-Rex, the Indominus Rex and how freakin’ scary that thing is. There is so much of the movie that you’re not a part of. I was only around for my parts, I shot about four months, from April to August, and to see the rest of it all come together was awesome.
And you filmed on the sets in Hawaii and New Orleans?
In Hawaii and New Orleans. We started in Hawaii on a lot of the original locations of the first actually, which was awesome, really cool to be a part of that lineage.
With the scenes that are the throwback to the nostalgia of the first film, are those the actual sets or are they re-purposed?
I don’t know about whether the jeeps are original or they had to remake those but one cool thing about the jeep is there are these little tags in the rear-view window and those are the same numbers as the ones from the first film. I wish that the [original film’s] Visitor’s Center had just been left like that, it would’ve been so cool to see, natural decay.
Was there one moment standing on set that was more surreal than others?
Yeah, the big moments of walking onto the park’s main street for the first time, then there’s the more subtle moments of just going back to your hotel room in Hawaii and standing on the balcony. The biggest “holy shit” moment was walking onto that main street and seeing what they’d been building for four months. It was so sad though because the day after we wrapped they started tearing it down.
Well, we hope this movie does really well and we get more of them. Are you hoping the storyline continues with the guys?
That’s not up to me but yeah, I’d love to work on more of these movies. Fingers crossed.
What other dinosaurs or creatures or hybrid science would you like to see?
I’d like to see them explore more real dinosaurs that have not been introduced to the Jurassic world yet, I know they did the mosasaurus, the big water one, that’s a real dinosaur. And maybe they could do the megalodon next time, the big ol’ shark. They introduced some pteranodons which are the smaller pterodactyls so yeah, I think it would be fun what more real life creatures they could introduce. The hybrid thing, that’s a whole other can of worms.
I have not yet read The 5th Wave, but I know about the excitement for it, how are you feeling about it? Now you have two buzzworthy projects under your belt.
For the time being, I’m not on social media so I don’t have an exact finger on the pulse kind of thing. I know there is a lot of buzz and that people are excited about it and I can see why, the books are fantastic. Yeah, I’m just as excited as everyone else.
Jurassic World opens in theaters June 12, 2015.