When it was first announced that Jeff Goldblum would reprise his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World 2, fans the world over rejoiced.
Sam Neill’s Dr. Alan Grant might have been the central protagonist of Steven Spielberg’s original movie but it is Malcolm and Goldblum who represent the heart and soul of the Jurassic Park franchise.
The memorable lines, the devilish grin and that stylish black, unbuttoned shirt, all helped make Dr. Malcolm far and away the best character in the original movie, with the late Bob Peck’s Robert Muldoon a close second.
Even when he returned, world-weary and significantly grumpier in the sequel, The Lost World, he was a joy to watch and his absence was keenly felt in Jurassic Park III – the most regrettable entry in the franchise, forever tainted by a dream sequence featuring a talking raptor.
Let’s not dwell on the negatives though. This is a celebration of the coolest character in the Jurassic Park universe and the coolest actor in all of Hollywood.
Goldblum wasn’t supposed to be the main attraction in Jurassic Park but “life found a way” to make him the most watchable thing in a film full of breathtakingly-realised CGI dinosaurs and that’s no mean feat. Here are 16 Things You Never Knew About Dr Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park
16. He Pops Up In Jurassic World
Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was keen to pay homage to the original Jurassic Park in any way possible, so it was always likely that Malcolm would make an appearance of sorts at some point in the film.
Though we don’t get a glimpse of Goldblum’s winning visage in the film, Malcolm’s influence is clearly keenly felt by those at the new and improved park.
At one point in the film we see Zara, the British assistant to Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire, reading a copy of one of his books while taking Claire’s nephews to the Jurassic World Resort’s hotel and just prior to her grizzly and entirely unnecessary death scene.
15. A Hurricane Helped Bring Goldblum And Co-Star Laura Dern Together
There was just one day of on-location shooting left on Jurassic Park when disaster struck. On September 11th, 1992, Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful hurricane in the history of Hawaii, hit.
Spielberg and 130 cast and crew members, were on the island of Kaua’I at the time and forced to take shelter in the confines of their hotel without fresh food or water. Speaking to Movieline, co-star Laura Dern recalled how the experience helped bring the cast and crew together though.
“It was scary. We didn’t know what was going to happen. The morning after, Steven, Jeff Goldblum and I walked through the ruins and we really felt bonded. So maybe that kind of experience created a gentler, more open relationship with Steven,” she said.
14. Jim Carrey Was Seriously Considered For The Role
A raft of big name actors screen-tested for the part of Dr. Malcolm including Michael Keaton, Bruce Campbell, Johnny Depp, Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Michael J. Fox.
Cameron Thor also auditioned for the part before landing the much smaller but still significant role of Lewis Dodgson, the head of research at rival company Biosyn, who meets Dennis Nedry in Costa Rica at the start of the film.
Only one other actor came even close to landing the part ahead of Goldblum though. Jim Carrey was making waves on Living In Colour at the time but the success of Ace Ventura et al was still two years away. He came close, but not close enough.
“I thought of Jeff Goldblum right away,” Casting Director Janet Hirshenson told Entertainment Weekly. “Jim Carrey had come in and he was terrific, too, but I think pretty quickly we all loved the idea of Jeff.”
13. He “Dies” At the End Of The Jurassic Park novel
Michael Crichton’s novel differs from the film in several respects, most notably with the fact that Malcolm, appears to die at the end.
Having sustained serious injuries following his encounter with the Tyrannosaurus Rex, who picks him up it its jaws and shakes him around, Malcolm spends the latter half of the book dropping in and out of consciousness, occasionally ranting about science and philosophy.
His condition continues to deteriorate to the point where it’s hinted at, on at least two occasions, that he didn’t make it. By the time Crichton got round to writing the follow-up novel, however, Malcolm is back, describing the previous declaration he was “dead“ as premature and that he was only “slightly dead” after his heart stopped for a few seconds.
12. Jurassic Park’s Dinosaur Supervisor Inspired A Classic Dr. Malcolm Line
Phil Tippett’s credit as “Dinosaur Supervisor” on the original Jurassic Park famously spawned a memorable meme criticising him for failing to keep the park’s dinosaurs under control – his job title was even changed to “Dinosaur Consultant” on Jurassic World as a result.
Though Tippett’s work on the film focused mainly on ensuring the movements created by the film’s CG animators was as realistic as possible, he’s also credited as the inspiration for one of Dr. Malcolm’s most memorable lines.
According to Mental Floss, while viewing one of the first CGI tests of the dinosaurs in action alongside Spielberg, Tippett was heard to remark “I think I’m extinct.”
The director decided to incorporate the comment into an exchange between Sam Neill’s Alan Grant and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm after they first see the dinosaurs. “I think we’re out of a job,” Grant says. “Don’t you mean extinct?” Malcolm replies. Nice work, Phil.
11. He Serves As A Stand-in For Author Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park because of a growing concern over the rise of scientism. Crichton felt that there were people exploring risky bio-genetics for the sake of profit and playing God without having earned the knowledge for themselves.
He was worried about the future and the idea that scientists were experimenting with life and ideas far above their station. It’s a viewpoint shared by Malcolm in the book and film.
Crichton wanted the character of Malcolm to serve as his mouthpiece and ironic commentator that would allowing the author to get his concerns across without coming off heavy handed. In the book, Malcolm spends much of the latter half injured and ranting about chaos theory and science.
10. One Of His Most Memorable Lines Was Done In One Take
As classic Malcolm moments go, the scene where Goldblum’s character first lays eyes on a living, breathing dinosaur ranks among the best. Sitting in the backseat of one of the Jurassic Park jeeps, Malcolm catches sight of the beautifully rendered Brachiosaurus, laughs to himself and utters the immortal line “you crazy son of a b***h, you did it.”
Like so many other moments in Jurassic Park, it’s become the subject of its very own meme in more recent years – in one instance, fans have equated the reaction to someone who manages to convince their Uber driver to stop off at McDonald’s.
What some fans may not realise, however, is that the scene and reaction was captured in one take. Or at least, that’s what Goldblum claimed. According to Goldblum, Spielberg was positioned just off camera, dictating exactly what expression and reaction he wanted. Goldblum then nailed it in just one take.
9. Spielberg Deliberately Dressed Him All In Black
Though Spielberg would utilise colour contrasts to more dramatic effect in Schindler’s List he wasn’t afraid of adopting similar thematic approaches in a blockbuster like Jurassic Park.
The most notable of these concerns Dr. Malcolm’s attire and that now-legendary black shirt. Spielberg had Goldblum dress in all black for the movie and even repeated the trick for The Lost World, with the character restricted to wearing black or grey.
Though the idea was partly inspired by Goldblum’s character Martin Brundle from The Fly, who liked the colours because it meant he didn’t have to think about what to wear, Spielberg wanted to create a contrast between Malcolm and Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, who wears white.
8. Goldblum Changed One Scene To Make Him More Heroic
In the shooting script for Jurassic Park, the scene in which the T-Rex escapes and attacks the car containing Tim and Lex plays out differently. Much like Martin Ferrero’s Donald Gennaro, Malcolm was supposed to jump out of his car and make a dash for safety and cover in the nearby bathroom facility.
This was actually the way it played out in the book too, with Dr. Malcolm attempting to make a quick escape rather than help Dr. Grant and the stranded kids.
When it came time to film the scene, however, Goldblum had other ideas. He suggested they make his run for cover more heroic by having him also hold a flare.
That way, his character could be shown doing something heroic, if a little stupid, by distracting the T-Rex while Grant got the kids to safety. It’s a small touch that makes a big difference to the audience’s perception of Malcolm.
7. He And Goldblum Garnered Praise From A Real-Life Chaos Theorist
Malcolm is an established mathematician and chaos theorist at the start of Jurassic Park who uses a bit of water-based flirting to explain how exactly that works to fellow visitor Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern).
He also predicts the downfall of the entire park based around chaos theory and the notion small changes in complex systems can have big, unpredictable effects.
University of Maryland Professor of Mathematics and Physics James A. Yorke coined the term “chaos” in this context back in 1975 and praised Malcolm’s warning in the film and argued that the eventual changing of sex and breeding among the flog-spliced dinosaurs in the film was wholly in line with the theory.
“The frog genome has some 20,000 genes,” he told Yahoo, “so screwing with these, and the regulators of the genes — you end up with a lot of possibilities for strange effects.”
6. The Mystery Of His Other Kids Is Left Unexplained
In The Lost World, Malcolm returns along with his daughter, Kelly. The most notable contribution Vanessa Lee Chester’s character makes to the Jurassic Park franchise comes during a memorably daft sequence in which she successfully dispatches a velociraptor using her well-honed gymnast skills, kicking the dinosaur through a window and killing it.
To date, she remains the only person in the entire franchise to successfully kill a raptor without the use of a weapon.
But there’s something else that’s rather unusual about Kelly. Early in the film it’s mentioned that she is Malcolm’s daughter from a previous relationship. However, it’s also mentioned that she is one of three children Goldblum has fathered with this unidentified partner.
5. Goldblum Has Already Played Him Three Times
Most people wrongly assume Goldblum has only reprised the role of Malcolm once to date, in The Lost World. In actual fact, he’s played the character three times. Goldblum’s other appearance came in the 1997 game The Lost World: Jurassic Park on Playstation and Sega Saturn.
The side-scrolling action adventure game saw players explore the island of Isla Sorna as five different playable characters: Compsognathus, Human Hunter, Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore).
During the game, you had complete all the levels to sequentially gain access to the next character. Crucially, there are “DNA bonuses” on each level that can be collected to unlock a secret ending featuring Goldblum congratulating you and essentially telling you to go and do something worthwhile with your life.
“You made it through,” he says, applauding the player. “You spent all that time and now you’re done. You’re dead! That’s quite an achievement.” The appearance represented one of the first times an A-list actor appeared in a game.
4. Confusion Surrounds His Non-Appearance In Jurassic Park III
There are conflicting stories surrounding Jeff Goldblum’s no-show in Jurassic Park III. IGN previously reported, based on what they called a “reliable source” that the actor was approached about returning for the third film.
In fact, there have been suggestions in the years since that Goldblum was all set to return as Malcolm in the film before a leg injury forced him to pull out of the project prior to the start of production.
However, since then, Goldblum has gone on the record to claim that he was never even contacted to reprise his most popular role. “Nobody called” was his blunt response in one interview. Whatever the truth – and that’s most likely Goldblum’s version of events – the film was all the poorer for his absence.
3. He Is Mentioned In Jurassic World III
Just because Malcolm fails to make an appearance in Jurassic World III doesn’t mean he doesn’t make an appearance of sorts in the film.
In one scene where Sam Neill’s Alan Grant meets Eric Kirby, the young boy he is sent off to save after he gets stranded on the island that’s home to a wealth of dinosaurs, the pair begin talking books, more specifically some of Malcolm’s recent publications.
It soon becomes clear that Eric is not a fan, telling Grant he disliked the book Goldblum’s character published. He gives it a pretty scathing review too, calling Malcolm, “preachy” and “high on himself.”
Worse still, he says Malcolm talks far too much about “chaos.” Grant, who never exactly saw eye to eye with Malcolm in the first movie, evidently agrees on some level, smiling and remarking “that’s two things we have in common.”
2. Independence Day Stole One Of His Lines
The 90s was a great time to be Goldblum. Not only did he win rave reviews for his fine turn in Jurassic Park, but he also found time to star in Independence Day, another of the decades more memorable science-fiction-led action movies.
In fact, Independence Day director Roland Emmerich took inspiration of sorts from Jurassic Park when making his movie. Well, he stole a line from the latter.
Everyone remembers the moment in Jurassic Park, when a stricken Malcolm, lying in the back of a jeep being driven by Robert Muldoon, urges that they “must go faster” as a Tyrannosaurus Rex pursues the vehicle through the woods. It’s a great line. One of the best.
Emmerich evidently agreed, which is why he had Goldblum say the exact same line in Independence Day when he and Will Smith are uploading a virus to the alien mothership and just before they make their last gasp escape back to earth.
1. James Cameron Wanted To Make A Jurassic Park… But Very Differently
During an interview with Huffington Post back in 2012, Titanic director James Cameron revealed he had been keen to make Jurassic Park. Very keen, in fact.
“I tried to buy the book rights and he beat me to it by a few hours,” he said. “But when I saw the film, I realised that I was not the right person to make the film, he was. Because he made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been aliens with dinosaurs, and that wouldn’t have been fair.”
Rumours persist that Cameron wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger involved had he landed the rights but it’s his plans for Malcolm that are more intriguing. Rumours suggest that Cameron had someone in mind for the part – the late Bill Paxton.
Paxton collaborated with Cameron throughout his career on films like Aliens and True Lies among others, so would have been a logical actor to turn to. While he’s markedly different to Goldblum, the idea of Paxton in the role still represents an intriguing prospect.
Did we miss any other Jeff Goldblum/Dr. Malcolm bits of trivia out? Have your say in the comment box!
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