[UPDATE: Nick Robinson is in talks now. Read on for details.]
Bio-engineered dinosaurs are the real stars of the Jurassic Park franchise, with adult humans coming in second followed by underage folk in third place. Every installment in the sci-fi franchise (based on the books by the late Michael Crichton) has, thus far, included 1-2 non-adult characters who end up in danger of becoming a dino snack - with a young Camilla Belle coming the closest in the opening minutes of The Lost World: Jurassic Park - and it looks as though the fourth movie addition, Jurassic World, will not break from that tradition.
Reports are in that 12-year old Ty Simpkins has landed a lead role in Jurassic World, reuniting him with Steven Spielberg (who is executive producing the fourth JP installment); that is, even though Simpkins was too young to recall working on War of the Worlds (2005) with the blockbuster director. Simpkins matched wits with Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 this past summer, but he's also known for playing demon magnet/astral-projecter Dalton in the Insidious movies.
So far, the only other cast member said to be onboard for Jurassic World is Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation), thought Deadline's report about Simpkins mentions that the actress hasn't been formally confirmed yet. When news first broke about Howard signing up, it was mentioned that there is another key (adult) human role that needs to be filled, with acclaimed character actors David Oyelowo (Howard's costar in Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It) and Josh Brolin (Spike Lee's upcoming Oldboy retelling) being among the rumored contenders; though, in the latter's case, the claim might've been just due to a reporting error.
Deadline says it's heard whispers about how Jake Johnson "is in the mix" for the adult male lead in Jurassic World, but for now that remains unofficial. It would make sense for the New Girl star to be in consideration, seeing how he worked alongside JW director Colin Trevorrow on the latter's indie breakout, Safety Not Guaranteed. Not to mention, in both that film and the Tarantino-favorite dramedy Drinking Buddies (read our review), Johnson has demonstrated the kind of emotional versatility and depth that suggests he's got real leading man potential - especially if he plays an ordinary guy who must screw his courage to the sticking place in Jurassic World (a la Alan Grant in Jurassic Park).
UPDATE: THR is reporting that Nick Robinson has entered talks for Jurassic World, where he would portray the older brother of Simpkins' character. The 18-year old Robinson starred in the well-received indie feature The Kings of Summer earlier this year and plays a recurring lead role on the ABC family comedy series Melissa & Joey (which begins its fourth season in 2014).
Speaking of Dr. Grant: Sam Neill (who portrayed the character in the first and third Jurassic Park movies) has affirmed the general belief that Jurassic World will be a partial reboot of the series, meaning that none of the human players from past installments are expected to return (that includes adult version of the kids in the first three films). Trevorrow has said before that he intends to pay respect to the franchise's history, but the Jurassic World script - based on a draft by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) that features heavy revisions by Trevorrow - isn't expected to feature any sort of figurative passing of the torch from one generation of dino-attack human survivors to the next.
That said, it sounds as though the Jurassic World screenplay uses a formula similar to that for the previous installments (or, at least, related human character tropes). Thing is, although the cast for the fourth Jurassic Park is shaping up nicely, the problems with the second and third installments - as our editors have discussed in depth on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast before - have more to do with the story (not the acting talent). Namely, how we have yet to see a Jurassic Park sequel that properly expands upon the themes and ideas that were explored in the first movie (save for the first half of The Lost World, arguably).
How would you prefer for Jurassic World to mix things up, compared to previous installments? Do you like the casting for the film so far?
Jurassic World opens in U.S. theaters on June 12th, 2015.
Update Source: THR