Jeff Goldblum Reflects on ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ 25 Years Later, Ian Malcolm’s Mission in ‘Jurassic World Dominion’

A key element of “Jurassic World Dominion” is Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm reunion with the original “Jurassic Park” crew (Laura Dern, Sam Neill and BD Wong), as the quartet share the screen for the first time since 1993.

But that plot point isn’t the only “Jurassic” milestone for 2022. Attention must also be paid to the 25th anniversary of the dinosaur franchise’s second film, 1997’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

Goldblum’s Malcolm took the lead in that movie, which debuted on May 23, 1997 and saw the sci-fi action move from the original park on Isla Nublar to Isla Sorna (otherwise known as Site B) where the resurrected dinosaurs roam freely.

After a young girl is attacked on the island, Jurassic Park founder John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) recruits a team, led by Malcolm, to study and document the animals in their natural habitat in hopes of encouraging the government to enact a policy of non-interference. Of course, things almost immediately go awry when the research team clashes with a second crew on a mission to capture some of the dinosaurs to fill a planned new park in San Diego.

Julianne Moore and Jeff Goldblum in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”
Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

“The Lost World” a carnage-filled ride that ultimately ends in a wild chase through the streets of the SoCal city as Malcolm and his girlfriend, behavioral paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) aim to reunite the T-rex with its kidnapped child and get both the dinosaurs off the mainland.

The “Jurassic Park” sequel received mixed reviews upon its release — after all, it’s nearly impossible to follow a film widely considered to be a modern masterpiece. Regardless, “The Lost World” went on to become the one of the highest grossing movies of 1997 (which also saw the release of “Titanic” and “Men in Black”). And time has changed some minds about “The Lost World” and its follow-up, 2001’s “Jurassic Park III,” with critics reexamining both movies and many fans embracing them.

Asked about the sequel’s legacy during the press junket for “Jurassic World Dominion,” Goldblum launched into an anecdote about catching the movie on television just hours earlier.

“Funny you should ask — I was on the treadmill in our little upstairs gym this morning, very early before we got the kids off to school,” Goldblum told Variety, explaining that his sons, who are nearly seven and five years old, like to work out alongside the actor and his wife Emilie. “Just so happens that ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ was on.”

The kids have seen both “Jurassic Park” and its sequel before, with the parents planning to make “Jurassic World Dominion” the youngsters’ first trip to the theater to see any movie, Goldblum noted, “But this came on and they were immediately mesmerized.”

On the red carpet at the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project block party and special screening of “Jurassic World Dominion” on Saturday, Jeff and Emilie Goldblum shared that they planned to show their sons the movie the next day.

“We’re on the eve. I keep mentioning it to them, I said at breakfast today, ‘So remember what we’re doing tomorrow,’” Jeff Goldblum shared, as Emilie added, “We like to talk about everything. Plan and prep them and just keep talking about it and excavate any feelings they might have.

In those conversations, their youngest son shared that he might need a little breather from the action. “He’s very in touch with his feelings; he’s not afraid to say, ‘I’m afraid,’” Emilie explained.

The solution, dad would take him out of the theater for a little walk if he got too scared. “He said, ‘It might be a long walk,’” Jeff Goldblum recalled, as Emilie asked “How cute is that?”

Goldblum also revealed that his sons favorite sequence from “The Lost World” comes when he, Moore and Vince Vaughn (who plays photojournalist and documentarian Nick Van Owen) are tending to an injured baby T-rex in their trailer and the dinosaur’s parents eventually push the vehicle over the cliff, leaving Richard Schiff (as field equipment expert Eddie Carr) to save them, before he himself gets eaten. “They kept asking, ‘How did you do that?’” Goldblum said.

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“The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Like his kids, Goldblum has a special place in his heart for the franchise’s second chapter too. In the interview below, the actor explains why he loves the “The Lost World” and what he was passionate about seeing Malcolm do in “Jurassic World Dominion.”

Well, Jeff, we just got a taste in “Fallen Kingdom,” but we get more Dr. Malcolm this time around. What were you excited about getting a chance to explore with him in this one that you hadn’t gotten to do yet?

Well, I was excited to be with Colin Trevorrow again. He and I had worked a day on a set for something a little related to this, but had talked about that scene that I did in the last movie for hours. Then, he and [co-screenwriter] Emily Carmichael came up with a script that allowed me to do some interesting things, and the great Sam Neill and the great Laura Dern.

But I liked the idea that I am now in the midst of a mission that has me then contacting my collaborators and old friends. We’ve never seen [Malcolm] so hell-bent on fighting the good fight against greed and stupidity, especially in the misuse of scientific resources and accomplishments. It’s a real battle royale and, once again, a survival test. But we’re willing to do it.

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Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Isabella Sermon and DeWanda Wise in “Jurassic World Dominion.”
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

You talked about how Colin and Emily are so collaborative — they’ve said that you, Sam and Laura really know these characters better than anybody else. What is something about Dr. Malcolm that you know that nobody else does? Something that you wanted to make sure people learned?

They’re so sweet to say that — Colin said it to us too and he said it to everybody. He loves actors. Once you kind of get a chance to test yourself and play from the inside, you do maybe know something about them.

I did feel passionate about, and even protective of, what this journey and the many elements that could show up as him might be, especially as we start to learn what he’s up to. But Colin was a good masterful guide — a person of taste and trustworthiness in helping me try to look good and do justice to Michael Crichton’s original conception.

Let’s talk about reuniting with Sam and Laura. Seeing the three of you all together made Steven Spielberg a little emotional and it made Colin a little emotional as well. What was the moment, either during the filming process or watching the finished film, that carried some weight for you?

It made me emotional too. I was wildly anticipating our getting together on the set, I couldn’t believe that we were going to do this. I kept working on my part and then there we were, in England, all huddled up in this hotel living together like a family and we bonded more closely than ever.

But when I first saw them, they stationed themselves as a delightful little surprise on this balcony as I pulled up with Emilie and the kids. They gave me a kind of royal greeting, and then we all embraced and started to yackety smackety about 30 years ago.

Then on many occasions [while filming] we huddled up and said, “Let’s help each other with this assignment, and see if we can do the most interesting thing possible.” We were all excited about the opportunity, but every chance we got we would check back in with each other.

This movie also coincides with the 25-year anniversary of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” How do you characterize the legacy of that movie? What does that movie mean to you?

I love that movie. Julianne Moore is fantastic in it and I liked how I go there to rescue her. But Vanessa Lee Chester, who plays my daughter [Kelly Curtis], is fantastic. She recently, in the last few years, showed up just unexpectedly at one of our jazz gigs and I was very happy to see her. She saves my life, of course, with her gymnastic ability.

Richard Schiff and Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite were in it. I had seen him on stage in London doing this play “Little Voice” with Jane Horrocks, and he was one of our great actors. (Postlethwaite died in 2011.) And it’s the second one that Steven Spielberg directed; he couldn’t have been sweeter and more enjoyable and inspirational and educational to work with.

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Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Jeff Goldblum, Vanessa Lee Chester, Pete Postlewaite, Richard Schiff and Peter Storemare, in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

A lot of people thought that Kelly might show up in this movie after DeWanda Wise was cast, but she plays a totally different character [Kayla, a pilot who gets embroiled in the dinosaur adventure]. I’m curious, where are all of Dr. Malcolm’s kids? How do we get a spin-off featuring them and finding out what he’s been up to?

I don’t know. [Laughs.] I allude to it in the first scene [of “Jurassic World Dominion”], when I’m talking to Sam and Laura, I say, “Oh, yes, I’ve got five kids whom I adore more than life itself.”

I think I’m a good dad, and I’m very involved in their lives, and with them, and with their mothers. But you find me during these couple of days, embedded and deeply immersed in this risky operation, so they’re not here right now, but I wish they were, although not in harm’s way. I’ve got to do my stuff with the dinosaurs and keep them as safe as possible.

“Jurassic World Dominion” is now playing in theaters. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

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