T-Rex are particularly beloved dinosaurs and “Jurassic Park” couldn’t do without putting one on screen. Steven Spielberg set himself a huge challenge by wanting to bring it to life. Take a look behind the scenes of its creation.
The classic Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg was, in 1993, a shock. Dinosaurs had never had the right to such preferential treatment on our screens. Probably because their representation is a major challenge from a purely technical point of view. Based on the eponymous novel by Michael Crichton, the film depicts a fantasy: the creation of a park with real dinosaurs. In any case, it is this project that is carried by John Hammond, a billionaire who has managed to clone dinosaurs with the help of genetics. Before his park opens its doors to the public, the whimsical businessman assembles a committee of experts who must give their opinion on the viability of the business. In the middle of the visit, the security of the premises is compromised. The dinosaurs that were supposed to be locked up in enclosures suddenly find themselves free.
The feature film has become a classic for a lot of reasons. Its main trio formed by Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum totally won over the public. We can also talk about the musical theme of John Williams, replicas and cult scenes (the first attack of the T-Rex, the raptors in the kitchen…) or the mastery of Steven Spielberg. Like what he did on Jaws, he knows how to combine a brilliant staging with the requirements of a generous family show. And, let it be said, dinosaurs are the stars of Jurassic Park. We think in particular of the T-Rex, which is the sexiest dino in the film thanks to the power it releases.
How was the T-Rex created?
To bring it to life, Steven Spielberg and the brilliant Stan Winston opted for a creation in animatronics. No question of relying on digital special effects, the king of the dinosaurs had to be realistic. The process had already been used on Jaws to create the shark. For those who know a little about the history of this extraordinary shoot, you know that the mechanical beast has not always been very docile. After a first replica on a smaller scale, the T-Rex was therefore designed with a steel spine on which several tubes and hydraulic systems have been added.
Once this essential base was assembled, the dinosaur could move. It only remained, then, to create its carnal envelope. Stan Winston and his technicians then created everything else (the skin, the eyes, the teeth…). A step that required special care because the result had to be perfect on the screen. For his shrill cry he is resulting from a mixture of barking, cries of penguins, tigers, alligators and elephants.
As pictures are better than words, discover a short video summarizing the creation of the T-Rex:
A special shoot
At the end of the day, it’s a baby of more than 5 tons which has emerged. Handling such a machine is obviously not so simple and can hold a few surprises. Producer Kathleen Kennedy also explained that the T-Rex started moving on its own one day because of the rain which had activated the hydraulic systems. Actor Joseph Mazzello, who plays young Tim, also reported a surprising anecdote. During the attack on the car, when the T-Rex tries to eat the children and collides with the window, the animatronics did not react completely as expected and the head got too close to the two actors. So much that Joseph Mazzello lost a tooth in the battle…
However, this incident remained isolated. The team had been made aware beforehand that working with the T-Rex involved risks. Lights were used to warn that he was approaching as he moved so that no one stood in his way. At the pace he was advancing, the impact with a human would have been catastrophic and could have marred the filming with an unfortunate drama.