The topic of diversity in film casting is very much a hot-button issue nowadays, but no matter what your feelings on the matter are, there’s no denying that mixing things up actor-wise can help your movie cast a wider net in terms of demographic appeal – something that the Fast and the Furious franchise and superhero properties have caught onto in recent years, as have other blockbuster projects like the upcoming Jurassic Park installment, Jurassic World.
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) will anchor the next chapter in the dinosaur adventure series. However, such non-white – and non-American – acclaimed character actors as Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) and Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will also play key supporting roles. Meanwhile, BD Wong shall reprise as Henry Wu in what Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow has indicated will be a more significant capacity (compared to Wong’s single-scene appearance in Steven Spielberg’s first Jurassic Park film).
According to THR, the Jurassic World cast has continued to diversify by adding three female players, with Judy Greer, Katie McGrath and Lauren Lapkus set to portray as-yet unspecified side characters in the sci-fi/action/horror feature. They will join the aforementioned cast members in the 3D blockbuster – a quasi-reboot of the Jurassic Park series – which also costars the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio (Escape Plan), non-adult actors Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) and Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer), and New Girl co-lead Jake Johnson, who starred in Trevorrow’s directing debut Safety Not Guaranteed.
Greer, in particular, is a well-accomplished character actor and TV alum (see: Arrested Development, Archer) who’s been on a roll of late in the major studio project game. She plays the chimp wife of Andy Serkis’ Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this summer, costars opposite George Clooney in Brad Bird’s sci-fi Tomorrowland next year, and is lending her voice to The Good Dinosaur, which is one of two original Pixar animated offerings arriving in 2015.
McGrath may be best known for playing Morgana on the Merlin TV series, though of late she’s taken on the role of Lucy Westenra in NBC’s Dracula TV show, an (unintentionally campy) dark superhero re-imaginig of the horror icon – something of a guilty pleasure of mine, I admit. Last, but not least, Lapkus has started to gain more attention with supporting role on TV over the past couple years, like Are You There, Chelsea?, House of Lies and, more prominently, Orange is the New Black (where she plays a kindly prison guard).
In terms of plot, it’s heavily-rumored (though technically still unconfirmed) that Jurassic World revolves around a fully-operational version of Jurassic Park in the present-day; no doubt, the caged dinos will eventually break loose due to some human folly, forcing many a person to start running for their lives. Hopefully, the script by Trevorrow and Derek Connelly (Safety Not Guaranteed) will bring a smart mix of B-movie thrills and sci-fi brains to the table, to go with the 3D rampaging beasts. If nothing else, Trevorrow already deserves credit for assembling a rock-solid cast.
Jurassic World opens in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on June 12th, 2015.
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