I've been lucky enough to have run into
Bryce Dallas Howard many times over the years. I remember
interviewing her at Comic-Con waaaaaaay back for Spider-Man 3. She's
always been nothing but gracious, kind and a thoughtful interview.
The first thing I noticed when I walked
into her trailer were the tall adventurers boots she was wearing. Of
course a crack had to be made about the meme of her running around
the jungle wearing high heels in Jurassic World and she rolled with
it, saying it was in her contract that she had to suitable footware
this time out.
Claire has evolved quite a bit from the
cold, uncaring businesswoman at the start of Jurassic World. She
begins Fallen Kingdom as a political advocate, passionately fighting
for the rights of the dinosaurs to exist. She's trying to make some
amends for the part she played in the disaster at the park in the
Howard talks a bit about this turn for
her character, where Claire goes in this film and what the future
potentially holds for her. Plus I get to recommend one of my all-time
favorite movie series to her, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Enjoy the chat!
Bryce Dallas Howard: Obviously I
haven't been able to talk to anybody else about this movie! You guys
know a lot about the movie now, right?
Eric Vespe: We know a little bit. We
certainly know a lot more than we did yesterday!
Peter Sciretta: It sounds cool. I'm
glad that they're returning to the island. I was afraid it was going
to move directly into militarized dinos or something.
Eric Vespe: I like the set up. It
reminds me of Son of Kong. Back in the day King Kong was a huge
success and they rushed out a sequel about them going back to Skull
Island, but they do it because the island is sinking and they're
trying to rescue the last Kong. Of course that doesn't go well...
Bryce Dallas Howard: These things never
Eric Vespe: But I like that premise
here because of what it means for your character. In the first movie
Claire goes from someone who is cold and disconnected to realizing
the implications of what she's been doing. JA told us you start this
movie as a dinosaur rights activist, which means Claire gets to start
the movie from a proactive position.
Bryce Dallas Howard: It is. And going
back to speak to what you were saying about being glad that it's back
on the island, I feel the same way. Having shot so much of the movie
in England... On the last movie we started in the jungle. We shot all
in the jungle and then we went to New Orleans. For this one, we shot
so much of it (in England) and then came here and Chris and I were
like “Yeah, now it feels like Jurassic. Thank God!”
Without human beings entering into a
space that is dinosaur turf it doesn't feel like the Jurassic
experience. That's a lot of what this movie is about. Up to this
point the entertainment value of these films is that the most
dangerous thing is the dinosaur where the truth is it's really human
beings that are the most dangerous species. Finally in this movie
we're having that clash. We've been on their turf and now they're
coming on ours and ours is becoming theirs and what does that mean?
That's the question.
What I'm talking about right now isn't
actually the plot. I'm not tricking you, but from a thematic
standpoint that's the movie. The wish-fulfillment of Jurassic is the
question “What if human beings and dinosaurs coexisted
simultaneously? What would happen?” There are various permutations
of what could occur. That's what these stories are examining.
Peter Sciretta: They told us this takes
place 5 years after the last one. What has happened in your
character's life in those five years?
Bryce Dallas Howard: I keep thinking 3
(years), but anyway!
Eric Vespe: We were told it's 5 years
from the end of the first movie and three years from events of the
prologue in this movie. Does that make any sense?
Bryce Dallas Howard: I'm gonna ask some
questions! What I'm imagining is that it's been roughly the same
amount of time that audiences have been away from this story. It's
like everything has been occurring in real time, basically. When we
watch this movie it's as if it takes place in 2018.
To speak to what you were saying
regarding Claire and the way she's shifted, her internal self and her
external self are starting to become one whereas in the last film her
behavior, her actions were really out of alignment with her values.
That was the inner conflict with the character and by the end of it
her power is being used for good; her righteousness is being used for
good. The very thing that was leading her astray is the very thing
that saved Chris Pratt and two cowering children surrounded by
Where we are now, I think, is we're
seeing a woman who is definitely stepping into her power. She's
fighting for these dinosaurs. She's taking responsibility and trying
to basically present the argument that there's lions in the world and
there are dangerous species of snakes and sharks... there's all these
dangerous creatures and yet if those creatures are threatened with an
extinction level event we protect them. So, guys, we have an
endangered species here. They're actually here. This is now reality.
Eric Vespe: It doesn't matter that they
were genetically created by man.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Yes. They're
afforded the same rights as any other endangered species. That's her
point of view of the situation and this is her cause.
Eric Vespe: We know there are some
newcomers and you'll be with Chris again onscreen, but tell me how
Claire reacts to Ian Malcolm.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh my gosh. I have
a real hard time separating my own personal reaction to Dr. Ian
Malcolm from Claire's reaction.
Eric Vespe: So you just keep seeing the
shot of him with his shirt open from Jurassic Park?
Bryce Dallas Howard: Exactly! That
glistening chest, black shirt and perfect golden tan. Totally
bronzed. I know that shot vividly! I could probably guess the lens
they were using, but anyway... (laughs) I met him a couple of years
ago. I mean, I didn't meet him, I saw him across a crowd. I saw him
and he was his charming self, but I never met him because he was
across the crowd, but we had a connection from the start.
Then I met him in the UK. I think that
Claire would absolutely have the utmost respect for his approach and
his logic and his certainty and confidence. He's also very tall and
did I mention he's tan and I happen to know he also sings and plays
Eric Vespe: And cooks!
Bryce Dallas Howard: And cooks food.
But where does Jeff Goldblum end and Dr. Ian Malcolm begin, really?
Wouldn't it be so crazy if the twist of the movie is that Claire
ended up with Dr. Ian Malcolm? Forget about the dinosaurs, people!
Eric Vespe: Well, we know he's always
on the lookout for the next ex-Mrs. Malcolm.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Eric Vespe: And the ultimate arc of
these films is seeing him get married and divorced over and over
Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, who he goes
through. That's the real journey. Oh my gosh, that would be really
Eric Vespe: But from a character
perspective Claire in the first Jurassic World seemed to not have any
nostalgia for the original park or the goings on there. I imagine she
might have a different reaction to Malcolm then as she would now.
Bryce Dallas Howard: He's a character
who is the voice of reason. He's Michael Crichton, in a way. He's the
philosopher. You're right, at the beginning she was disconnected, but
now it's a different story. I've never actually thought about what
Claire would think about him. That's interesting because she would
have known about him. Ugh! I didn't do my homework!
Peter Sciretta: So, what is the plan?
The plan is to save the dinosaurs, but bring them where?
Bryce Dallas Howard: I mean, that's
part of the question. If you can imagine what you would do in real
life, that's the dilemma. Where do you bring them? Do you put them in
a zoo? Do you create a private sanctuary? Do you do this all over
again with another island? What's the plan exactly?
It's so weird the way art mirrors life.
The challenge that we're having with emerging technologies and the
consequences that we're needing to live with because of these
paradigm-shifting technologies that are getting introduced. Figuring
out policy about these technologies from a government perspective is
Our government was designed to move
slowly so that our lives didn't change abruptly, yet our lives are
changing abruptly because of free trade and the open market is
evolving so, so quickly. We are experiencing this moment where we are
having to regulate ourselves, hence this Dr. Ian Malcolm being the
voice of reason and representing, thematically, what this movie's
Where do we bring the dinosaurs? You
can imagine the government would get involved with something like
that, but would they figure out what they're going to do quickly
enough? If not, what do you do?
There's a lot of activism happening
right now to accelerate the solutions. Anyway, I'll step gently off
my soap box... (laughs)
Peter Sciretta: I do love that this
film seems to be going back to the Michael Crichton style of having a
political commentary, of saying something about us.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, absolutely.
He's like Isaac Asimov or HG Wells. He's a futurist. He was a
scientist and he understood what was going to be happening in the
future. He had an analytical mind that he used to help propel his
imagination. He was one of those guys, one of those thought prophets.
The moral questions of the first
Jurassic Park provided a lot of substance, but those questions are
really what we're dealing with presently that feels so urgent and so
personal. To get to make a Jurassic film where at the center of it is
Michael Crichton's philosophies so we can have that mirror moment,
that's when movies get to do more than what movies typically get to
do. A little bit. If we can. Because it can't be didactic.
What Crichton did was he never pushed
an agenda at all. He presented a dilemma. That's what sci-fi is!
Sci-fi is all about “what if?” I don't have to tell you guys what
sci-fi is... (laughs) But it's not about the answers, it's the
Eric Vespe: The genius of the initial
concept of Jurassic Park is... I want to go there! I'm on the side of
the people making the park because I want to see a T-Rex. When you're
reading it you realize “Ahh, I'm kind of the bad guy for wanting
this...” There's a level to complexity to that initial idea and it
sounds like you guys are expanding on it.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Yeah, it is the
dilemma. If something can be a little bit thought-provoking and a lot
of fun then even that's enough. It's when things don't have a point
of view (they fail.)
Peter Sciretta: What is Claire's
relationship now with Owen?
Bryce Dallas Howard: That's...
that's... that's a question, for sure.
Peter Sciretta: We've been told that
one of them moved on and one of them didn't.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Okay.
Peter Sciretta: Which one moved on?
Bryce Dallas Howard: You know what?
That's a question that they ask one another. (laughs) You guys will
know what that means when you see the movie! It's based on an improv
that Chris and I had in a room early on.
In the trailer this morning I announced
to the trailer “I'm going to start a Google Doc and if you guys
have any ideas for the next movie, if there is one, fingers crossed,
let me know, no matter how wild.” My makeup artist was like “You
know what? You know what I really miss? Like I Love Lucy and the
dynamic between Ricky and Lucy and how you would never think that
they belong together, but they have each others back no matter what.
The circumstances, the comedy, comes not from a lack of
understanding, but from a lack of ability to communicate initially.”
She said this and I was like “I'm putting it in the Google Doc.”
There's something about the dynamic
between these characters that both plays into and against the tropes
of movie relationships. It's always fun to think about that. Chris
and I were talking through what kind of parents Claire and Owen would
be and that lead us to talk about what kind of parents we are, are we
helicopter parents or not, the ways in which we could be better and
I was thinking later on, “You know
what? I feel like Owen would be the helicopter parent and Claire
would be chill and cool and be like you need to let them be what
they're going to be.” That would show the evolution of Claire. It's
fun to consider those things and have room for those things. You set
up the trope and then you play against it. You set up the trope and
then I'm with a flare outrunning a T-Rex while he's cowering with
children. I like to mention that every once in a while, at least
three times in every interview. (laughs)
Eric Vespe: Can I give you a suggestion
for your Google Doc? My favorite movie husband and wife of all time:
Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series. Myrna Loy and William
Powell are the leads and they're an upperclass husband and wife duo
who decide being rich isn't enough and they decide to solve murders
on the side. To make it even better they're both drunkards.
Bryce Dallas Howard: That's so cool!
Eric Vespe: They love each other
through and through, but toss out barbs at each other all the time.
Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh, dude, thank
you so much! That's what we were talking about this morning! Someone
else mentioned Castle and someone else mentioned Sherlock Holmes and
Watson. It's so great when it gets to the point where's it's about
This is interesting. In this movie, for
Owen and Claire it is about partnership. We've talked about it a lot
because that's what Chris and I feel like with one another. We always
say “We make a good movie team!”
JA and Belen (Atienza), his producing
partner, are an incredible team. This story of what it takes to be a
team and what it takes to become partners is encapsulated somewhat in
the defying of the gender tropes.
Eric Vespe: It'd probably be good to
talk about JA since he's the main new ingredient here. We know that
he likes to play music. He told us there was a specific scene where
there was no dialogue and you were looking at something and he played
three different pieces of music: a romantic one, a scary one and a
funny one and he said you ended up playing it three different ways.
Bryce Dallas Howard: I'm shocked that
I've never thought of or experienced doing that before. Joe Wright
plays music on set, but it's more for levity between scenes. JA doing
that changes everything instantly. This whole generation of actors
came up as cinephiles. That's why we love making movies because we're
obsessed with movies, so for him to play these classic scores and
different kinds of music just instantly gets you into that headspace
and you understand what the scene's about.
Also, we're working with a young
actress... this is her first movie. She's naturally very gifted and
extremely cerebral, so she's fantastic, but the music helps her just
as much as it helps us. The premise of it was he was like “I'll do
it for Izzy because it help her,” and Chris and I were like “Oh
my God, this is amazing!”
Something about JA that is crazy... we
met each other years and years and years ago. We had a general
meeting that was for a movie he didn't end up directing, that I
didn't end up acting in, but he was attached as a director and we had
this meeting at the Chateau that turned into this two-hour dinner and
I just fell in love.
Peter Sciretta: He's so charming!
Bryce Dallas Howard: Oh my gosh! He's
so charming and passionate and adorable. When the movie didn't
happen, I honestly and kind of jokingly referred to him as “The One
Who Got Away.” To all my friends! Like “The one who got away did
another amazing movie without me!”
When Colin (Trevorrow) was sharing with
Chris and I who were the frontrunners he was hoping to work with and
he mentioned JA I was like (gasp) “Dude, he was the one that got
away!” He was like “You had a relationship with him?” “No,
I love Colin so-so-so-so much and it
was such an incredible experience working with him and I was super
bummed he wasn't going to be directing this movie, so it was really
crazy to me that he mentioned JA who was literally the person I've
been joking about for 10 years as the one that got away.
That's it for this one. Still more
Jurassic World goodies to go! A young fella by the name of Chris
Pratt will be tomorrow. I began the interview by gifting him a
limited edition back of Guardians of the Galaxy Doritos, so you know
he was in a good mood for that chat.