Since the first Jurassic Park movie in 1993, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant has been winning over audiences with his deep knowledge of dinosaurs. Over the years since he first started playing the role, Sam Neill has seemingly developed a similar affection for the creatures that are, thankfully, still extinct in our world.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the New Zealand-born actor was asked to look back at the iconic scene where Grant turns paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler’s head (Laura Dern) around when they arrive at the park and see a Brachiosaurus for the first time. Their portrayal of awe, alongside Jeff Goldblum as chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm, has made the clip memorable for nearly 30 years.
“I said to Steven [Spielberg], ‘Look, after a lifetime of imagining dinosaurs, to actually see a dinosaur, Alan Grant just might flat out faint,’” Neill recalls, noting that the scientist wouldn’t be much of an action hero. “And Steven said, ‘Yeah, okay.’ So that’s why you see me stagger around and I have to sit down and put my head between my legs.”
In the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, Neill, Dern, and Goldblum are finally reuniting onscreen, alongside the franchise’s new faces Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. However, they won’t be joined by that first Brachiosaurus, which met its downfall in 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, when a volcanic eruption devastated Isla Nublar. The Hollywood Reporter had to break the bad news to Neill.
“Well, that is heartbreaking,” Neill says. “Such a sweet creature.”
“He’s turned his back on a new world in which dinosaurs are so much a part of human existence,” Neill says. “He’s always regarded all of that as something of an aberration. So he is in his crusty tent doing his crusty digging. He’s a scientist. He believes in facts.”
Jurassic World: Dominion is in theaters this weekend. Elsewhere in the dino-verse, the fifth and final season of the animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous arrives on Netflix on July 21.