9:00am PT by Patrick Shanley
'Jurassic World' Star BD Wong Says It's "Simplistic" to Think of His Character as a Villain
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is set to roar back into theaters next weekend, and star BD Wong has returned for his third film in the long-running dino franchise.
Wong's character, Dr. Henry Wu, who first appeared in the 1993 original Jurassic Park, is a brilliant scientist responsible for splicing the DNA from ancient dinosaur remains with that of contemporary animals to create new life. As such, he is the perfect fit for Doritos' partnership with the new film that sees Dr. Wu creating massive, one-foot tall chips hatched from dinosaur eggs for a new crossover promotion.
Starting June 14, fans can tweet @Doritos with hashtags #JurassicDoritos and #entry for a chance to win one of the Jurassic-size snacks, and passionate fans can even bid on one currently on eBay by visiting JurassicDoritos.com. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the American Red Cross chapter in Hawaii, where much of the Jurassic films were shot. Doritos will also make a donation.
Wong caught up with Heat Vision to talk about the new film and what keeps bringing him back to the franchise, as well as how he views his controversial character, why dinosaurs continue to captivate audiences and what the future holds for the franchise.
This is your third Jurassic film. What keeps bringing you back to this character?
I do because of Colin Trevorrow. It would be a rather run-of-the-mill job for me if I wasn’t stimulated by his creativity and his ideas. We’re not curing the common cold or anything like that, but he is making an attempt to thread this character through and give him a journey that is interesting, dangerous and human in the little screen time he’s given, and it’s a far cry from the character who was presented in 1993.
How do you view Dr. Wu? Is he a villain?
I think it’s kind of reductive or simplistic to call him a villain, but I think he definitely does make some choices that are extremely controversial. I do think he’s motivated by his love for science and his own ego, which is well supported by his massive achievements. He’s really kind of a genius and he really is responsible for this alleged technology creating these creatures. I think he turns a blind eye to the human suffering that comes as a result because he thinks he’s looking at some bigger picture. I think that’s his Achilles heel and it will remain to be seen if he can overcome that. He’s painted into quite a corner in Fallen Kingdom — it will be interesting to see how people react to that.
What is it about the Jurassic franchise that has endured for such a long time?
The childhood fantasy. Dinosaurs are always going to be wonderfully fascinating to us, so it combines that childhood fascination and the threat of interacting with dinosaurs in modern day. The formula, you can’t beat it. Nothing comes close to it. There’s nothing in the history of the Earth that we can compare it to, that we can juxtapose in the same way. The idea that today’s technology could bring about such a juxtaposition is fascinating, and terrifying, to people. We don’t really see it happening, in our heart of hearts, but it feels so weird. So, we are transported and there’s this kind of joy and fear thing that happens. One of the signifying elements of the brand is that moment of seeing the dinosaurs for the first time at the beginning of the movie. That moment of fascination of beauty, brilliance, life is a part of the brand. That will happen in every movie in some way or another. That is a complete 180-degree shift of what happens 45 minutes later in the movie where everyone is running and being eaten.
Are there any similarities between you and your character, Dr. Wu?
I think he’s very fascinating and he has a very healthy ego. He believes in his own talent and I think he has been encouraged by the people who appreciate what he does. I think he doesn’t take no for an answer. I think he thinks, in a certain way, there’s a nobility in what he’s doing to mankind. I, as an actor, think you can be a messenger to interesting ideas or help shift people’s opinions about things. I don’t think of myself on the same level that he does, but I do feel there is something potentially helpful about what a storyteller can do.
How did this partnership with Doritos come about?
This is part of the connection between Doritos and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This is a real concrete promotion they put a lot into to cross-promote with the movie and create an opportunity to do some charity work to benefit the American Red Cross. What’s funny is that the character I play, his whole reason for living is to cross-breed things, so the symbolic cross-breeding of Jurassic World and Doritos, using my character, makes sense.