The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the sequel to Steven Spielberg's 1993
film recounting events on a Costa Rican island inhabited by genetically-engineered
dinosaurs, which broke all box-office records and showcased an emerging
visual effects technology.
Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the story picks up four years after
the disaster at Jurassic Park. Something has survived on Isla Sorna, a second
island where the dinosaur manufacturing facility code-named Site B has been
destroyed by a hurricane and the animals now run free, constrained only
by the laws of nature.
"When I first heard that Michael was going to write the book and that
he was thinking of calling it The Lost World, I was thrilled because I'm
a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World. I was compelled
by the idea of being inside a prehistoric world that exists today-not behind
electrified fences, not in a theme park, but in a world without the intervention
of man. I thought, 'Wow, what a great story.' If I hadn't found a story
I was interested in, Jurassic Park would have remained just a nice memory
for me," says Steven Spielberg.
For Spielberg, who had been carefully considering a number of proj ects
for his return to directing after a three-year hiatus, Crichton's interest
in revisiting the Jurassic saga helped sway his own decision. Universal
Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg's production company, had begun
discussing a sequel to Jurassic Park as the original film was breaking box-office
records around the world enroute to becoming the highest-grossing motion
picture of all time. Now, Spielberg, Crichton and Jurassic Park screenwriter
David Koepp entered into a gentleman's agreement to bring The Lost World
to the screen, under the Universal-Amblin umbrella.
"I realized that what I really wanted to do was direct. I had started
a company and done a lot of other things in those three years. So I was
ready to return to it, and I had always wanted to do a sequel to Jurassic
Park-both because of popular demand and because I'd had such a great time
making the first film," Spielberg reflects.
With the deal in place, Spielberg began to pull together a creative team,
nearly every member of which was a veteran of Jurassic Park. Serving with
Spielberg were producers Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson. Executive producer
Kathleen Kennedy would also return to the fold, along with production designer
Rick Carter, film editor Michael Kahn and composer John Williams. With full
motion dinosaurs by Dennis Muren, live action dinosaurs by Stan Winston
and special dinosaur effects by Michael Lantieri, this Academy Award®-winning
triad that had combined talents to create the dinosaur effects for the first
film also committed to the sequel. Of all the department heads, only director
of photography Janusz Kaminski-who had shot Schindler 's List for Spielberg-was
not an alumnus of Jurassic Park.
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as chaos
theorist Ian Malcolm and Richard Attenborough makes a special appearance
as the ambitious entrepreneur John IIammond. Julianne Moore (Nine Months),
Pete Postlethwaite (Jn the Name of the Father), Arliss Howard (To Wong Foo,
Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar), Vince Vaughn (Swingers), Vanessa Lee
Chester (Harriet the Spy), Peter Stormare (Fargo), Harvey Jason (Air America),
Richard Schiff (City Hall) and Thomas F. Duffy (Wolj) join Goldblum in the
The Lost World: Jurassic Park is Spielberg's first film since 1993, when
he directed both Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, which won a total of
seven Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director. Jurassic
Park was also honored with three Academy Awards® including Best Sound,
Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects.
It was clear that Universal wanted to talk about doing a sequel in the recordsetting
period following the release of the original film. (With worldwide ticket
sales of more than $916 million, Jurassic Park continued to break records
when it was released on home video, where it holds the title of top-selling
live-action motion picture of alltime.) "The filmmakers had discussions
amongst themselves and with Michael Crichton."
While there was interest in a sequel, there was no guarantee that Crichton
was going to write another book. Determining a schedule for a second Jurassic
Park film was dependent on whether Crichton would proceed.
Meanwhile, Spielberg and screenwriter David Koepp were already talking.
Yes, the director confirmed, there would be interest in an encore, if there
was a good story to be told. In those heady months after the release of
Jurassic Park when the question of whether dinosaurs could be made real
was answered with a resounding affirmative, there was a new question. "Sure
you can do dinosaurs, but what can you do with them?," Koepp remembers
So began the dialogue between the filmmaker and the screenwriter, who were
getting together from time to time to 'lust bounce ideas off one another,"
Word that Crichton was working on the manuscript for his follow-up novel
only served to sharpen Koepp and Spielberg's wild imaginations. "We'd
throw ideas at one another and see what kind of reaction it provoked,"
recounts Koepp. "Suddenly I'd say something and that made him think
of something that made me think of something. It just feeds in that way."
Spielberg would go off from these brainstorming sessions and storyboard
the ideas. "Steven's got such a wonderful, fertile mind, especially
for these sorts of adventure sequences and action sequences," says
Koepp. His challenge as a writer was to figure out how to incorporate what
he describes as "these fantastic sequences" into the loose structure
of a movie that he had in mind and then integrate them with Crichton's work.
"In an interesting way, this is a lot like the way animation works
where you start with a visual idea and then, in a very logical way, craft
the story," observes executive producer Kathleen Kennedy. "Our
story was very dependent on the visual imagery."
"When you have Michael Crichton and the book, you are already in very
good shape," says Kennedy. "Add to that the combined imagination
of Spielberg and Koepp and you have the basis for a very exciting film."
One of the challenges in approaching The Lost World was the audience's own
enormous expectations. As Koepp observes, "audiences tend to feel pretty
proprietary about it. Everybody has their own ideas about what should happen
in a sequel."
Fortunately, Spielberg has never forgotten his own experiences at the movies--going
back to his boyhood days when his father took him to see Cecil B. DeMille's
The Greatest Show on Earth. He was amazed by the power of the cinematic
experience and soon started to make movies with friends and members of his
family. "The audience comes first," says Spielberg. "I really
think of the audience when I think of a Jurassic Park or a Lost World or
the entire Jndiana Jones series. A lot of this movie was made for what I
hope is the pure pleasure of an audience."
The result is a movie that is both similar and different-an intense, visually
stunning adventure that pushes the limits of imagination and technology.
Audiences will embark on this new adventure with a familiar face as their
guide. "I cast Jeff Goldblum again because he is Ian Malcolm,"
says Spielberg. "There is no Ian Malcolm except as played by Jeff."
This time, Dr. Malcolm is the anchor for the story. "In the first film,
Malcolm was along for the ride and he was kind of a critic," Spielberg
continues. In this sense, he's leading the journey in The Lost World. He
has a very strong motivation for returning."
Jurassic Park ushered in a new era of visual effects: brilliant computer-generated
images (CGI) blended seamlessly with the state-of-the-art mechanical and
animatronic special effects. The combination gave life to creatures believed
to be extinct for 65 million years. "I think that people were a little
bit amazed that the dinosaurs looked as real as they did," says Spielberg.
But whereas moviegoers in the summer of 1993 were awestruck by the on-screen
digital recreations, audiences today will come to the theaters expecting
to see nothing less than living, breathing dinosaurs.
"With the first movie, we had no idea how we would make the dinosaurs
real," admits Kennedy. "With the sequel, we had a very clear idea
of the visual effects and were very comfortable with the technology for
computer graphics. So for The Lost World, we were able to focus on the storytelling."
"It was the story that justified doing a sequel, not the technology,"
Spielberg comments. "CGI has improved since the first movie and the
artistry of the people involved has also improved. So there was a good chance
that the dinosaurs would look even more believable than they had in the
last adventure. But it was really the story that compelled me to make this
The notion of a lost world, a window on earth's distant past, inspires the
imagination. The occasional real-life discovery of a prehistoric link-such
as the ancient coelacanth: the 400 million-year-old fish found still to
be alive or prehistoric insects found perfectly preserved in amber-fuels
these dreams. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited the subject in his turn of
the century Professor Challenger series. Somewhere beyond Doyle's vision
of an evolutionary anomaly and John Hammond's technologically marvelous
Jurassic theme park is The Lost World. On another island off the coast of
Costa Rica, in a chain called Los Cinco Muertas (The Five Deaths), dinosaurs
are living-and breeding-in the wild. This is Site B. "A genetic laboratory,
the factory floor, so to speak," explains Spielberg, where once upon
a time experiments and cloning attempts not suited for public exhibition
were conducted by InGen scientists.
The behind-the-scenes laboratory was knocked out of commission, but nature
found a way. For four years now, dinosaurs have flourished in a perfect
ecological system unfettered by man.
As The Lost World begins, the balance of nature is about to be tested once
again. Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), John Hammond's mercenary nephew, has
taken over the nearly bankrupt InGen. In a presentation to the board of
directors, he unveils a plan to restore the corporation's financial health
by harvesting the "significant productive assets that we have attempted
to hide." For him, Site B is a giant cash cow just waiting to be milked.
Hammond (Richard Attenborough) is well aware of the commercial potential
in Site B. But he sees another opportunity: a chance to redeem himself by
preserving a record of the dinosaurs living in their natural state.
"Finally, what he will have done will not be a terribly tragic thing,
but a contribution," says actor Jeff Goldblum.
"He's a dreamer," says Lord Attenborough of his character. "He's
not unlike Mr. Spielberg, to a certain extent, in that he is fascinated
by the infinite capabilities of human endeavor. Hammond just goes that much
farther." The Jurassic Park founder is somewhat chastened and tempered
by what has happened before. "But the old temptations and the old adrenaline
comes up and he takes risks again."
Hammond organizes an expedition to reach the island before Ludlow lands
his own, less noble mission led by Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), a
leathery adventurer and hunter. To accomplish this he commissions Nick Van
Owen (Vince Vaughn), a daring video-documentarian, to chronicle the trip;
Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), a field equipment systems specialist, to outfit
the team and keep the operation running in the field; and Dr. Sarah Harding
(Julianne Moore), a pioneering paleontologist specializing in the nurturing
behavior among carnivores--especially carnivorous dinosaurs.
"Sarah is opening up a new field of study, and she uses this as an
opportunity to explore her beliefs," Spielberg observes. "She
has an insatiable curiosity." Which is exactly why Sarah mentioned
none of this to her boyfriend, Ian Malcolm, who would have tried to stop
her had he known. When Hammond asks Malcolm to lead the venture, he refuses-until
Hammond informs him that Dr. Harding is already there.
The revelation that his girlfriend is alone on an island with dinosaurs
drives Malcolm into action. "It's a very monumental moment for me,"
Goldblum explains. "I go down there with a head full of steam and a
gut full of passion."
Of the people who reach the Lost World, only Malcolm comprehends the danger.
He knows from experience that people shouldn't be where dinosaurs are. "It's
going to be bad for people," Goldblum says dryly. Among these people
is Kelly Curtis (Vanessa Lee Chester), a young stowaway, whose presence
on the island raises the stakes even higher for Dr. Malcolm. In Jurassic
Park, Malcolm was more of the moral, conscience-driven intellectual drawn
to the exotic park out of curiosity. "This time," says Goldblum,
"I've got a very emotional, passionate and driving reason to bring
me back. I am a force of nature."
"Drama is often like rubbing two sticks together and watching what
it sets aflame," notes Spielberg of the confrontation between the two
philosophically-opposed expeditions--one sent to protect the sanctity of
the habitat and the other to roundup the animals for commercial exploitation--who
"end up having to band together just to survive. That creates more
than just a lot of running from dinosaurs-there's a great deal of emotional
drama, as well."
Screenwriter Koepp remembers a conversation in which Spielberg told him
"I think this movie is about hunters versus gatherers." Koepp
adds that "when the two groups are thrust together into survival situations
is when it gets really fun."
Jurassic Park raised the question of man's role in trying to control nature.
"You decide you'll control nature and from that moment on you're in
deep trouble because you can't do it," says Michael Crichton. "You
can make a boat, but you can't make the ocean. You can make an airplane,
but you can't make the air. Your powers are much less than your dreams would
have you believe."
The debate continues in The Lost World; this time the argument is framed
by setting the story in the dense forest wilderness, where man's impact
on life and the environment is clearly evident. As the Native American Chief
Seattle observed a century ago, "Man did not weave the web of life,
he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."
"The Lost World is exactly what it implies," says Spielberg. "A
lot of people who think they can control nature are very presumptuous about
their role in the scheme of things and wind up on the short end of the food
chain. You have to band together to live and go on."
"It's important in these movies that animals never be characterized
as villains, because they are not," Koepp points out. "They're
just doing what they do. It's when the humans come into conflict with one
another that they may find themselves at the mercy of the animals.
"On one level, this story evolved into one about parenthood and the
instinct to protect your young," he continues, echoing a theme that
applies to the film's human and animal characters. On a more superficial
level, the story evolved into one of survival.
Then there is the moral question explored in Jurassic Park. "DNA cloning
may be viable, but is it acceptable?" asks Spielberg. "Is it right
for man to do this or did dinosaurs have their shot?"
The controversy over cloning-its possibility implied in Jurassic Park and
proved in real life in February 1997 when researchers in Great Britain announced
their success in cloning a sheep--raged anew on the front page of newspapers
just as The Lost World was in post-production.
Spielberg always respected the science behind Jurassic Park as real, much
as he respected real-life research as the basis for his other projects,
such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Contained in those news stories
was another point that confirmed what Crichton, Koepp and Spielberg suggested
in their latest adventure. The failure rate in cloning an animal is presently
staggering: on the order of 300 to 1. For every success, there were numerous
failures, from death to deformity, if the cloning procedure took at all.
As Hammond tells Dr. Malcolm, he needed a factory, Site B, to overcome this
ratio and stock Jurassic Park with the perfect specimens visitors saw there.
"A movie like this needs at least a year to 18 months of prep time,"
says Spielberg. "You can't just throw this together in a normal four-month
prep for a drama or a comedy. It takes 18 months to build the animals. We
began sketching and designing some of the sequences about two years ago."
In the spring of 1995, production on The Lost World: Jurassic Park started
to come together. Producers Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson, both longtime
Spielberg collaborators who were veterans of the first movie, began to focus
their substantial producing skills on the project. Molen roughed out a schedule
and budget as Michael Crichton was concluding his novel and Spielberg and
screenwriter David Koepp were developing ideas for the screenplay. Colin
Wilson, who oversaw the visual effects work and was largely responsible
for the post-production on Jurassic Park while Spielberg was in Poland making
Schindler's List, reassembled the visual effects team from the first film
and began to address the dimensions of the new project. Dennis Muren at
ILM, Stan Winston and Michael Lantieri were all eager to apply newly-developed
technologies to better what they accomplished with stunning effect on the
first film. Production designer Rick Carter, who also designed the look
for Jurassic Park and has been associated with Spielberg and his production
company since the Amazing Stories television series, began his work on The
Lost World when he and storyboard artist Dave Lowery met over dinner with
Spielberg that spring. "We just started storyboarding one of the scenes
from the book and it evolved from there. By the fall, we had a full crew
of set designers, art directors and illustrators," Carter recalls.
"It's my job to find a lost world and then create The Lost World,"
Carter continues. "In this particular film, we are coming back to the
same type of place where we were in the first film but it's a lot rougher."
That this more natural, wild environment is less hospitable to the dinosaur
population than the safe containment of the man-made park of the first movie
can be seen in the battle-scarred head of the male T-rex.
Carter and his team constructed various environments based upon what they
knew as the outline of the movie. "We would show Steven our ideas for
sets and when he approved them, that would often spark ideas-right on the
spot we'd come up with more and more scenes, and those would be storyboarded
and become part of the actual story."
The preliminary visualization phase continued as Carter, his art directors,
draftsmen and illustrators refined the ideas into models. Carter also turned
to the computer for help in determining the look of many of the visual effects
sequences. He made rough 3-D animations, called animatics, which show characters
moving within an approximation of the set. "In this kind of movie,
so much is being constructed visually," notes Carter, contrasting the
open, organic process of creating The Lost World with other projects where
the look is strictly determined by "a narrative we absolutely adhere
to at all times."
The storyboards, animatics, illustrations and models created by Carter's
art department provided the foundation for the entire production. The storyboards
gave every member of the growing production team a clear idea of Spielberg's
vision-information they would use to prepare their portions of the picture.
They were constant throughout production with filmmakers using them as a
guide from the earliest days of prep right through post-production. On the
set, for instance, storyboards for each day's work were posted on a large
display board. As pieces of the sequence were shot, the corresponding storyboard
was marked as complete.
Storyboards for the big set piece action sequences were released to the
visual effects teams early to give them as much time as possible to complete
the intricate task of flawlessly interlacing digital, physical and robotic
effects. There was no question that the visual effects for The Lost World
would be every bit as challenging as they were on the first film. Perhaps
even more so because audiences that had modest expectations for the first
film's dinosaurs would now expect greatness.
Stan Winston was already well on his way to creating an entire new set of
dinosaurs at his studio in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. New technology
and such seemingly simple things as improved hydraulic systems were developed
in the years between Jurassic Park and The Lost World. As dazzled as audiences
were with Winston's brilliant work on the first film, he knew that he could
do even better and was determined to prove the point. "People are very
aware of the advancements in the computer world since Jurassic Park,"
Winston comments, "but they tend to forget that the animatronic world
has also made some incredible advances, producing characters in which the
technology is virtually undetectable. In large part, that is due to the
tremendous advances we made in Jurassic Park and in the time since then."
"There were tremendous developments in hydraulic technology--developments
that allowed us to manufacture twice the number of creatures in half the
amount of time and for slightly less money," Colin Wilson elaborates.
That was quite amazing. We got a lot of improvements in performance and
technology. We got double the number of characters, and we paid less for
it. But the most important part of the equation was how much better the
character performances would be for this movie."
The sequel gave Winston the opportunity to make dinosaurs that were even
more lifelike. But it wasn't just a matter of refitting the creatures from
the first film with new movements and armatures. To begin with, there are
more dinosaurs in The Lost World. So while the retooled T-rex from the first
film joins Goldblum and Attenborough as a returning cast member, Winston
and his crew built a second adult T-rex from scratch and fabricated nearly
40 creatures in all. The Stan Winston Studio, located in an industrial section
of Van Nuys, utilized the talents of more than 100 artists and technicians
during the year and a half that it took to design, draw, sculpt, mold, frame,
mount and paint the different dinosaurs. There was diversity, too: from
the tiny chicken-sized Compsognathus ("compy") to the two-story-tall
T-rexes. The work also involved careful coordination with the other two
captains of the visual effects squad. Lantieri, who heads up the mechanical
effects team, worked closely with the Winston shop to fabricate the giant
T-rex frames and movements, as well as several other design issues. The
Winston Studio's maquettes, scale models of the finished dinosaurs, were
shared with Muren and his team at ILM, where they matched the colors, textures
and movements of the digital creatures so that they would mesh seamlessly
with Winston's live-action dinosaurs.
Part of what makes Winston and his creatures so magnificent is his approach.
He doesn't think of them in a mechanical sense, and he couldn't tell you
exactly how to build them. He doesn't look at his creations as inanimate
robots. Instead, he thinks of them as characters, performers and stars.
"We give them personalities. They have expressions," he says.
In fact, it is Winston's own background-first as an actor, then as a make-up
artist and more recently as a director-that helps him keep his crew focused
with this idea. On the set, as he stands next to Spielberg, he speaks to
his puppeteers through headsets, intoning cues and direction for their "performance."
The animal characters created by Winston proved to be a benefit for the
human actors, as well. It gave them a real representation--an actor, so
to speak-to play against.
To add to the authenticity of the dinosaur fabrications, Spielberg once
again enlisted noted paleontologist Jack Horner of the Museum of the Rockies,
who had served as an advisor on Jurassic Park. This noted scholar, who is
one of the world's foremost fossil hunters, worked very closely with Spielberg
and Winston in creating lifelike representations of these long extinct creatures.
Although much of our dinosaur knowledge is based on speculation, Horner
revealed that there is much that can be deduced by putting knowledge of
today's skeletal science together with the fossilized bones. Like a detective,
Horner and other researchers like him are able to develop detailed ideas
of what dinosaurs looked like and how they behaved-knowledge that Spielberg
and Winston readily applied to their work in The Lost World.
Horner's work with Winston was especially important because the look and
movement of the Winston dinosaurs would become the basis, most notably in
terms of appearance and texture, for the digitally created dinosaurs that
Muren would produce.
In San Rafael, California, Muren was gathering his legion of digital artists
at Industrial Light & Magic. Since Raiders ofthe Lost Ark, Spielberg
has relied upon the collective talent at ILM, and one way or another Muren
has been a part of it all.
Digital technology is moving with such velocity that techniques painstakingly
developed at the beginning of Jurassic Park were surpassed by improvements
before production was over. There was tremendous desire on the part of many
who worked on the original film to finesse the visual effects to an even
higher level. "This show is a lot different from Jurassic Park in that
we were sort of timid on the first one because we didn't know if we could
do it," says Muren. "Now we figured out we could do it and have
had three years to think about it."
Like Winston, Muren wanted to improve on what he did with the first movie.
This time he wanted to give Spielberg something else: freedom. "At
the beginning of the show I mentioned to Spielberg that we can do just about
anything," Muren relates. The idea and overarching philosophy driving
Muren and ILM is that filmmakers shouldn't have to think about the technology
"so that they can be free with the images. So, for over 20 years, we've
been building up tools to give these directors what they want without restraint."
Examples of this independence include the ability to shoot visual effects
shots with complete freedom of movement for the camera and a greater degree
of interactivity between the CG creatures and live action actors. Visual
effects shots used to mean lockedoff cameras and rigid procedures. But technology
has advanced to the point where the visual effects camera can be mounted
on a steadicam and moved about with total fluidity.
No matter how wonderful and real the work of Winston and Muren appears to
be, it wouldn't play as well without the third element of the visual effects
team-Lantieri's physical effects. Lantieri, one of Hollywood's most skilled
effects men and another longtime member of the Spielberg team, remarked
that he had more work to do in the final weeks of the 14-week shoot on The
Lost World than he did throughout Jurassic Park. "Everything about
this show is big," says Lantieri. "On the last show, we crashed
an explorer. This time we dangle a 60-foot-long double trailer off a cliff."
The largest set piece that Lantieri had to create involved the massive field
systems trailer, which was designed to provide a base of operations for
Dr. Malcolm and his travelers. To begin, there was not one but five trailer
sections-all modified Fleetwood motor homes. There were literally hundreds
of moving parts both inside and out and all of which had to be rigged by
the special effects unit. Before the end of the movie, all manner of damage
is inflicted upon the trailer and its human occupants, and Lantieri had
to figure out how to make it all happen. The sequence, spread across almost
a month of the shooting schedule, was filmed on two soundstages and the
side of a parking structure dressed to look like a cliff wall.
Simultaneous to the visual effects development, Carter began a real-life
search for a lost world. He traveled extensively, looking in the Caribbean,
Central America and as far away as New Zealand for places that visually
conveyed the idea of a Lost World-a place forgotten by time and humanity.
He found his Lost World closer to home--in the Redwood Forests near Eureka,
California, about six hours north of San Francisco on California's aptly
named Lost Coast. With tremendous cooperation between the filmmakers and
the California State Parks, the company was allowed to shoot in the midst
of some of California's most spectacular scenery in Fern Canyon, Prairie
Creek and Patrick's Point State Parks. In a film defined by its scope and
scale, the tall and massive trees, known as the
Coast Redwood, were about the only thing that could dwarf this production.
The Redwood settings were interesting for another reason: the trees have
an ancient history dating back more than 160 million years. According to
John B. Dewitt of the Save-theRedwoods League, "Redwood Forests, as
we know them today, have been present in California for about 20 million
years. They represent a unique and beautiful relic flora from the days when
dinosaurs roamed the earth."
For the film's opening sequences, Spielberg returned to Kauai 'Hawaii, where
he previously shot portions of Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
While Eureka and Kauai provided most of the rich and forested Isla Sorna
exteriors, much of the film was shot within Southern California and on the
Universal Studios stages and backlot where all of the sets were constructed.
With the project now increasingly defined, Gerald R. Molen and Colin Wilson,
joined by associate producer Bonnie Curtis, spent several months lining
up the crew and a multitude of production elements. "My job is to provide
the director with the tools necessary to do what he wants to do," says
Molen. "The most important thing is to find the right people."
By April 1996, a year after Spielberg began to seriously plan the picture,
most of the locations were picked, sets designed and the crew was largely
in place to prepare for a start date of September 5-still five months away.
While the visual effects teams were already well into their work, others
were just getting started, and some were not to start until the end of summer.
In June, construction coordinator John Villarino opened up his office on
Universal's Stage 12, the second largest sound stage in the world, and started
a job that would ultimately fill six of Universal's biggest sound stages
wall-to-wall with sets.
Villarino worked mainly from models, illustrations and prints provided by
the art department. By the end of the show, Villarino figured that his crew
of 120 actually constructed 80 of the total 100 different sets. "There
wasn't enough stage space in Hollywood to do this movie. It would have taken
another four stages," he says, but they just didn't exist. Carter addressed
the stage space issue by devising a way to change over the stages from one
set to another throughout the show. For instance, on Stage 12 Villarino
changed over the set three times. The company would shoot on the stage,
leave to shoot on another stage for several days and then return to a completely
different set configuration. "It was kind of hectic," Villarino
The massive T-rexes also presented a challenge to the production. Stars
in their own right, they required special handling.
The T-rexes, which each weighed 19,000 pounds and ran on tracks, could not
be moved from their home on Stage 24. Instead, sets were built around the
T-rexes. This occurred regularly throughout production.
One of the largest sets constructed for The Lost World was the workers village
on Site B which was left intact after filming to become a part of Universal
Studios Hollywood theme park tour. The operational center, where at one
time InGen scientists performed feats of genetic engineering that ultimately
led to the cloning of dinosaurs for Hammond's Jurassic Park, was built from
the ground up to look as if it had been destroyed by a hurricane and abandoned
by the company.
So much of The Lost World takes place on this isolated island, and it is
a very green world. One of the busiest greens crews ever to work a film
feverishly dressed and maintained each stage. Greens coordinator Danny Ondrejko
lead a team of 14 greensmen, five of whom would normally be completely in
charge of a full production. Instead, Ondrejko put each in charge of a stage
or a group of sets.
When you're shooting in a forest, like the Redwood Forest, you don't think
about having to dress in with greens. "It's like bringing coal to Newcastle,"
laughs Carter. But the truth is that lots of greens carefully screened by
the supervising park rangers to avoid contaminating the ecological balance
were brought in to the forest-and removed. The reason: only certain kinds
of plants were available in Southern California, and since most of the film
was shooting in Hollywood, those were the most practical plants to chose.
So the greens department brought supplies of Southern California greenery
to Northern California so that close-up shots would match.
Principal photography for The Lost World: Jurassic Park began on September
5, 1996 in the spectacular Fern Canyon, about 40 minutes north of Eureka.
The company spent two weeks in Northern California, filming in a combination
of state parks and private land. Within a week, Spielberg was already ahead
By the time the Eureka shoot was over, key live action scenes had been captured,
dinosaurs were on film, and all of the plates for Industrial Light and Magic's
(ILM) three major computer-generated (CG) sequences and nearly half the
CG plates for the entire show had been filmed. Within days, those plates
would be cut into scenes and delivered to ILM to start their computer animation
of the CG dinosaurs.
Throughout the fall, the filmmakers shot on stages at Universal and a select
group of surrounding locations.
Janusz Kaminski, the director of photography who won an Academy Award®
for his work on Schindler's List, noted Spielberg's approach to The Lost
World. "The camera became really active and ended up being in more
unusual places than in his latest movies." Kaminksi and his grip and
electric crew employed virtually every camera and lighting device known
to the industry and more than a few custom tailored for this film. For example,
there were two movable camera mounts, one that functioned something like
an elevator and another that allowed the camera to dolly-suspended upside-down
from the ceiling of Stage 27.
"It's very much a Spielberg movie where the camera sweeps the scenario,"
Kaminski continues. "It moves from high angles into extreme close-ups,
follows the actors and reflects the drama of the movie and the story."
For the actors, The Lost World was the most physically demanding film any
of them had ever worked on. Whether they were suspended on wires or being
tossed about in the mud, there was seemingly no limit to the physical manifestations
of dinosaur encounters. They sometimes likened the experience to being on
an amusement park ride. According to Vince Vaughn, "The difference
is that in an amusement park, you take the ride once and its over."
"Part of the joy and challenge of working with Steven Spielberg,"
says executive producer Kathleen Kennedy, "is that he constantly pushes
himself to do things in an unconventional and exciting way. He challenges
all of us to go beyond anything that's been done before."
The biggest challenge for producer Gerald R. Molen was to keep the production
on track and on budget. "The budget was a little bit higher for this
movie than it was for the first-which was about $58 million--but we were
actually able to get more for our money this time," Molen notes. "We
got more from Stan Winston and his people because a lot of the research
and development had already been dealt with for Jurassic Park. We also got
more from ILM, in part because the cost of CG had decreased. Also, Steven
had decided to get as much as he could from the mechanical dinosaurs, without
resorting to CG more than was necessary. So even though this movie would
have a few more CG shots than Jurassic Park, it wouldn't have a great deal
"Steven was able to do that, to plan for it and budget for it, because
he is such a visionary. He is able to see the entire movie in this mind
long before he starts to shoot so he knows exactly what he needs. He isn't
the kind of director who ends up with a lot of film literally on the cutting
room floor. There is no waste. Because of that, we were able to budget this
movie very carefully and responsibly."
On December 11, Spielberg lifted his glass in a champagne toast to the crew,
just as he had on the final night of filming Jurassic Park. Congratulating
them for bringing the film in ahead of schedule, he said: "Thank you
for a great show."
It was an emotional send off to what had been an exhilarating experience
for everyone involved in the making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Knowing
up front that the toughest thing about a sequel is the expectation that
goes along with it, this veteran production team never got distracted worrying
about how they were going to top the first movie.
"Our response to that expectation was to make a different, more dramatic
movie, while keeping the humor and suspense and all of the things that audiences
had liked about the first movie," Spielberg concludes. "I think
that's what people want in a sequel, anyway. They want to roll up their
sleeves and fall right back into that adventure."