Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has everything: a volcanic eruption, a house haunted by dinosaurs, the return of chaos man Dr. Ian Malcolm, a new prehistoric mutant hybrid, Chris Pratt cracking one-liners. Director J.A. Bayona, best known on this side of the Atlantic for The Orphanage and A Monster Calls, is new to the Jurassic universe and told Uproxx about the process of making the movie, from what it was like adding a sense of empathy to these classic monsters, to why he feels this story is still so relevant in today’s uncertain world.
What drew you to the script in the first place?
Colin Trevorrow told me that he thought about me because of The Orphanage. And that came as a surprise to me. And then he told me that the second half of the movie was going to be a haunted house story, and I was immediately in love with that. If I think about the first Jurassic Park, one of the things that I loved the most was the sense of suspense that Steven was able to create in that movie. And for me it was a way of having fun. I was coming from these pretty intense films, and it was a way of working in Hollywood, working with Steven Spielberg, and having the chance of creating memorable things like the ones I saw in the original movies.
Was there anything that you drew on from the first movie that you wanted to echo in this one?
From the very beginning when Colin told me about suspense, we were on the same page. Bringing back this sense of horror and fear that we all remember from the very first movie. We all love to be scared by dinosaurs and the intention was to create a story that had to be fun for the whole family but at the same time being back those same feelings that we had the first time we had a T. Rex in front of us.
The scene where the raptors learn how to open the doors, I’ll always remember that.
You have often stuck to fantasy and ghosts and horror in your work, so what was it like directing an action movie?
It was something new to me. I’ve never shot a fight, I’ve never shot an action scene. I did the tsunami in The Impossible — it’s not an action scene but there’s a lot of visual effects involved and very complex choreography. But it was the thing that I was attracted to by this project, to be able to shoot comedy and to shoot action and fights, stuff that I’ve never done.