Samuel L. Jackson's 'Jurassic Park' Character Was Originally Going to Die Onscreen

The actor says a hurricane ruined his planned trip to Hawaii to shoot the scene.
Screengrab
Samuel L. Jackson in 'Jurassic Park' (1993)

Hold on to your butts.

Samuel L. Jackson's role in 1993's Jurassic Park was apparently intended to be a bit larger. The star — who plays the chief engineer, John "Ray" Arnold, of the world's most dangerous theme park — falls prey to the island's carnivorous resident velociraptors, as revealed in a memorably gruesome scene where Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) discovers his bloody, severed arm in an abandoned electronics shed.

While the scene is certainly iconic, and not just a little disturbing, Arnold's intended sendoff was planned to be much grander. Scenes were written in which the demise of Jackson's character would actually be shown, but Mother Nature had other plans as Hurricane Iniki descended on the island of Kauai and destroyed many of the film's sets, and also the actor's planned trip to Hawaii to shoot his death scene.

In a recent interview with The A.V. Club, Jackson talked about the experience. "I was actually supposed to go to Hawaii, to shoot my death scene, but there was a hurricane that destroyed all the sets, so I didn’t get to go," he said. "All you see is the residue of my body, my arm. But, yeah, I was supposed to be on set."

Jackson's character, fans will recall, spends the entirety of the film in Jurassic Park's mission control center, essentially isolated from all the other characters running for their lives from ill-tempered dinos. His role, while not large in terms of screen time, is one of the film's most memorable, and Arnold's bravery and ultimate sacrifice is instrumental in restoring power to the park and ensuring the patrons don't end up as dinosaur droppings. And that legacy is a fair trade for one missed trip to the Hawaiian islands. 

There's a lot more from Jackson in A.V. Club's career-spanning interview.