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Jurassic World filmmaker Colin Trevorrow recently binge-watched the entire new season of his Netflix series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous and found it to be eerily timely. Camp Cretaceous centers on a group of teens stranded on Isla Nublar as they struggle to survive and find a way home, and the new season comes at a time when real-world children are struggling to survive amid a worldwide pandemic.
“If I was a kid right now, the experience that these characters are going through would feel a lot like my life in a lot of ways,” Trevorrow tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a scary time to be a kid.”
Camp Cretaceous, now in its second season, marks an expansion of the Jurassic Park franchise that also includes the 2019 short Battle at Big Rock and Trevorrow’s forthcoming 2022 feature, Jurassic World: Dominion. Whether people watch that film or Camp Cretaceous, Trevorrow wants it all to “feel like one long story that started in 1993” with Spielberg’s first Jurassic Park movie.
“I wanted to try to sew them all together, and Camp Cretaceous is a part of that,” says Trevorrow.
In the years since reviving the Jurassic Park franchise with 2015’s Jurassic World, Trevorrow has become the standard bearer for the property. Yet he considers himself merely the custodian of the story made famous by author Michael Crichton and Spielberg. To that end, he’s enjoyed working with the Camp Cretaceous writers room, which he has entrusted with all the details of Dominion to better inform their work.
“I’m much more interested in someone else’s perspective on this franchise than my own,” says Trevorrow. “To be able to be able to walk into that writers room … with so many different people coming at it from different life experiences that they’ve lived is hugely valuable.”
There are only a few ground rules Trevorrow sets for Camp Cretaceous, which is overseen by showrunners Scott Kreamer and Aaron Hammersley. For one, he wants the dinosaurs treated as real animals, and any time you see a dinosaur, there should be a sense of wonder.
“They are unpredictable and they deserve all the respect that animals have, but they are also very dangerous — and they will also eat you,” says Trevorrow.
He also wants the animation to remain grounded. Says Trevorrow: “We don’t have a camera that can just fly everywhere. Grounding it in the same kind of rules and the same kind of language that the films have connects them to the films more.”
Trevorrow is in postproduction on Dominion, which shot under unusual circumstances after being shut down in March 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic. The Universal production resumed filming in July under new safety measures, but briefly shut down again in October after several people involved in the production tested positive for coronavirus.
For Trevorrow, quarantining with the rest of the cast and crew proved to be a unique creative environment, particularly as he was staying in the same hotel with actors such as Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard.
“These people have so many attributes, so many things about themselves that are just like Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler and Claire Dearing,” says the filmmaker. “It didn’t end at the end of the shoot day. It didn’t end on the weekend.”
Trevorrow, who wrote Dominion with writing partner Derek Connolly and franchise newcomer Emily Carmichael, also invited his cast to provide input.
“We would write dialogue together and find ways to make sure that all of these actors, who are so deeply associated with this specific set of characters that they’ve played, not just felt their characters were respected but dug into who they are now,” says Trevorrow.
He also notes that there was nothing perfunctory in bringing back original stars Neill, Dern and Goldblum.
“It is a true ensemble of all of these people, even if they may not be side by side the whole time,” says the filmmaker. “There is just something really exhilarating, just from a generational standpoint, to be able to put all of these characters into a situation where they are again having to not just survive together, but make sure that we all don’t go extinct just like the dinosaurs.”
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous season two is streaming on Netflix now. Jurassic World: Dominion is slated for June 10, 2022.
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