Do you remember the chills you got as the orchestra triumphantly ushered in Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler’s first encounter with the bellowing long-necked Brachiosaurus in Jurassic Park?
In 1993 Steven Spielberg created an unimaginably, larger-than-life movie that to this day amazes audiences. Based on the eponymous 1990 novel by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park visually stunned with its detailed depiction of dinosaurs inhabiting a theme park on a remote island. But in this already unlikely scenario, the dinos, naturally, couldn’t find it in them to get along with humans…so all hell breaks loose, and that’s where the real adventure begins!
This Friday marks the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park, which recently made a comeback when it was re-released in 3D earlier this year. The thrilling blockbuster has a lively, star-studded cast, including a slew of familiar faces who played smaller roles like Samuel L. Jackson, Law and Order’s B.D. Wong, and that despicable Newman (from Seinfeld) Wayne Knight.
As for the main characters in the flick, check out their past and present projects and whereabouts here.
Sam Neill. In 1993 Sam Neill was somewhat of a fresh face to U.S. audiences when he portrayed the logical and leading paleontologist, Dr. Alan Grant, in Jurassic Park. Prior to the flick, he had appeared in several television movies and films in his native New Zealand, as well as in Australia. In the mid-80s, Neill was in talks to succeed Roger Moore in the role of James Bond but lost out to Timothy Dalton. Oh, what could have been! By the early ’90s Neill started making strides in U.S. films appearing alongside, the James Bond legend himself, Sean Connery in The Hunt for Red October. The same year he starred in Jurassic Park, he was also in the Academy Award-winning film The Piano with Holly Hunter. But Neill didn’t appear in anything big budget after that, which is probably why he reprised his role as Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park 3 in 2001. Most recently, he appeared in Showtime‘s King Henry series The Tudors and the 2012′s chick-flick of the year The Vow.
Laura Dern. Having parents already in the biz helps clear the path for any aspiring actor whose got her eye on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was exactly the case for Laura Dern who played Dr. Ellie Sattler, a paleobotanist and Dr. Grant’s very chummy friend, in Jurassic Park. As the child of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Laura was just a wee young thing in 1973 when she made her film debut in White Lightning, which starred her mom. But young Laura took acting very seriously—so serious that at age 13, she sued her parents for emancipation after her mom disapproved of her role in the underground film, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, in which she played a teenage girl in a punk band. Laura has appeared in countless indie gems including We Don’t Live Here Anymore and The Master. Although her HBO series Enlightened recently got canned, you can look forward to Laura coming back as Dr. Sattler in Jurassic Park 4, which is still in developments.
Jeff Goldblum. “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.” That was the killer line that Jeff Goldblum postulated as the mathematician and chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm. So why is Goldblum so damn good at playing eccentric intellectuals? Was it because he didn’t like playing thugs as he did in 1974 with his first feature film Death Wish? Of the more memorable roles he later played, one of his most indelible was the 1986 flick The Fly, where he grossly metamorphosized from mad scientist to a raging bug-eyed insect. Post Jurassic Park, Goldblum went on to play a science teacher trying to help an albino with special powers in Powder, and most recently, he replaced Chris Noth as brilliant Detective Zach Nichols in Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Richard Attenborough. Without Richard Attenborough as the overzealous John Hammond, InGen’s billionaire CEO, Jurassic Park, and its eventual downfall, would have never been possible. And like Hammond, Attenborough is also a true visionary in his own right. The British thespian has directed several films, including the Academy Award-winning film Gandhi in 1982 and Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr., in 1993. Beloved for his role as Santa Claus in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, Attenborough, who is now 89 years old, hasn’t worked on any projects since 2007 due to his ailing health. The Daily Mail reports that he is now living in a care home.
Ariana Richards. In 1987, Ariana Richards, a native of Northern California, made her television debut on an episode of Golden Girls. A handful of years later, she appeared in her first feature film as Lex Murphy, Hammond’s inquisitive granddaughter, in Jurassic Park. The young actress later appeared in Tremors and made a cameo in Jurassic Park 2. She left acting to pursue her studies in art, graduating from Skidmore College and the Art Center College of Design. Aside from acting, which she returned to this year in the sci-fi series Battledogs, Richards is also a very skilled painter.
Joseph Mazzello. As Hammond’s wunderkind grandson Tim Murphy, Joseph Mazzello has transitioned flawlessly from child star into full-fledged adult actor. Mazzello, who’s from upstate New York, starred alongside A-list actors from the get-go in the early 1990s, including Harrison Ford in Presumed Innocent and Elijah Wood in Radio Flyer. In 2010 we saw a more grown-up Mazzello as one of the founding programmers of Facebook in The Social Network. He also directed, produced, and starred in the indie film Matters of Life and Death alongside David Strathairn and Rachael Leigh Cook. This year Mazzello will be pulling out his guns when he makes an appearance in G.I. Joe: Retaliation with Bruce Willis. We sure wonder what’s scarier for the young actor: dealing with T-Rex or an angry Willis?