Sam Niell on Dr. Allen Grant and “Jurassic Park 3”

Sam Neill, who reprises the role of Alan Grant in the upcoming sequel Jurassic Park III, told SCI FI Wire that he believes the third installment in the dinosaur franchise will surpass the last one, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which he passed up. “Ironically, the faster and more action there is in the film, the slower they are to make” Neill said in an interview from is home in New Zealand. “In order to keep morale up, [the producers] would show us cut footage–which was breathtaking.”

Neill–a genre favorite in films like the first Jurassic Park and Bicentennial Man–said the new dinosaurs are better than before. “The animatronic creatures that we were working with were
extraordinary–not just realistic, but the things you can do with them was incredible,” he said. “If a 44-foot high creature … is looming over you bigtime, it’s not difficult to feel fear, if that’s what’s required in the script. … There was a remarkable day when one dinosaur mortally wounded another dinosaur. That was more terrifying than you could imagine.”

Like his co-star, Téa Leoni, Neill is a good sport about playing opposite the dinosaurs. And he doesn’t feel that the dinosaurs and effects take over the film, just as he disagrees with similar criticisms that swirled around the first film some eight years back.

“That was certainly one of the criticisms in the first film,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty good [movie]. I
would take issue with this–there was a couple of criticisms in the New York Times vs. the New Yorker, that said it was the first time in cinema history where the special effects were more real than the actors. But that was rather cruel and unnecessary.”

When asked about his favorite scene, Neill immediately pointed to a brief reunion between himself and fellow Jurassic Park cast member Laura Dern. “I have some scenes with Laura Dern, who I hadn’t worked with for … years” he said. “It was very nice being back with her again”

Jurassic Park III opens July 20.

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