to Day 2 of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom set reports! Yesterday I
ran the interview I co-conducted (alongside Slashfilm's Peter Sciretta) with the film's producers and today I have our chat with
director JA Bayona.
JA has been on my nerdy radar since the beginning. I remember interviewing him for his very first film, the Spanish language
creepfest The Orphanage, which was produced by Guillermo del Toro and
rocks pretty damn hard.
now and then he's been turning out some great work, including The
Impossible, which introduced the film world to Spider-Man's Tom
Holland, and then the recent tear-jerker A Monster Calls.
visiting the set during their Hawaii shoot Bayona was able to carve
out some time during his lunch break to talk with Peter and I.
Naturally we had some questions.
the below chat you get a good handle on Bayona's priority as a
director, the reasoning behind taking the Jurassic universe
widescreen, his working relationship with his actors (both human and
dino) and some of the director tricks he utilized while making this
a good chat and Bayona's passion for storytelling is unquestionably
at the forefront. Hope you enjoy!
Vespe: Thanks for having us out. This is really cool.
Sciretta: Thanks for putting up with us while you're on your lunch
break. So, a lot of your movies have young people in horrific
situations. Does this movie follow that trend?
Bayona: Yeah. Very young people in problem again.
Vespe: What do you have against the youth of the world?
Bayona: (laughs) Well, I mean, it's... I mean, all the movies I've
done I end up very close from the POV of the kids. I don't know. It's
a natural thing. It's not planned. I mean, the three movies I did so
far you can tell that they're about childhood and dealing with
growing up. This is very different, but of course you have a kid in
the film, because there's always been kids in the Jurassic movies,
you know? And the movie pays tribute and keeps the legacy of the
movies that we've seen so far and we love.
Vespe: Can we talk a little bit about the where you're starting off
in this one? Frank Marshall told us a little bit about the setup for
the story and I think it's really interesting because it gives you a
completely different sense of urgency than we've seen in these movies
Bayona: And what did Frank tell you?
Vespe: We know about the extinction level event, the volcano . And
the sense of the characters returning to try to save the dinosaurs.
So we at least know that beginning part.
Bayona: Well, the first time Colin pitched me the story, I was very
intrigued, very surprised, because it's true that it keeps the legacy
of the films we've seen so far, but there's a twist. It's not humans
trying to save humans from dinosaurs anymore. It's humans trying to
save dinosaurs from the island and I thought that was very
interesting. And there's a twist in the in (second) half of the film
and the film becomes something very different from the first section
of the movie. I thought that was very interesting, too. I was very
interested, very intrigued. I really enjoy the pitch and I think the
development that we did so far, I'm very happy with it.
Sciretta: Colin already had the story when you came aboard. How do
you put your own stamp on that?
Bayona: Well, I think one of the things I always enjoy the most in
designing the films are the set pieces and Jurassic movies they are
perfect for designing set pieces. When I think about the old Jurassic
movies that I think about the T. Rex scene in the first one or the
scene with the truck hanging off the cliff in the second one. So the
first thing I had was “Okay, we're gonna try to design the best set
pieces possible.” And I really enjoy that. I really enjoy to design
shot by shot. For me every camera position matters. Every movement of
the camera. Every shot is a step in escalating of the tension. It's
very Hitchcockian. When you see the T. Rex scene in the first one,
the gyrosphere scene in Jurassic World, they feel designed shot by
shot in a very Hitchcockian way and I and for me movies are about
Vespe: Yeah, I was gonna say, the two you described were suspense
Bayona: Yeah, it's true. There's going to be a very big action scene
in the middle of the movie, but then the whole film plays more the
idea of suspense and I really like that. I think somehow the first
Jurassic was like that. You had the big T. Rex scene in the middle
and then it plays with the suspense of the kitchen scene with the
Raptors. We tried to follow the same pattern.
Vespe: Yeah. It's a nice combination. There's a sweet spot between
awe, suspense and humor.
Bayona: Exactly, yeah. And I think that they'll be a lot of humor in
this one. It's going to be a lot of fun, too. It's gonna be
suspenseful. It's gonna be probably a little more scary, but it's
gonna be a lot of fun, too.
Vespe: It's good to be a little scary.
Vespe: Well speaking of that, is that why you chose to bring back the
animatronic element a little bit because there's something scarier
about seeing something in a movie that's really there?
Bayona: Yeah. We love animatronics. Colin and I, we talk about how
can we bring back more animatronics in the game and there was a space
for that in the story. I came with the experience of doing A Monster
Calls where we design a huge animatronic and at the end, you can, you
need to use CGI more than what you will want, because the audience is
so used to CGI that they are kind of like reluctant to animatronics,
but at the same time when you have something real, you appreciate the
soul. There's a reality that you don't have with CGI. So there's
plenty of animatronics in this one. But the story somehow made things
easier for us to use animatronics.
Vespe: Who's building them for you? What company?
Bayona: Neal Scanlan who's been working on the Star Wars movies. It's
been great to work with him. You know, it was kind of surprising the
first time we had an animatronic on the set. I was with Bryce (Dallas
Howard) and Chris (Pratt) and they were so shocked, so happy to have
animatronics. I said, come on! You've done a movie so far, but then I
thought about it and of course there was almost no animatronics in
Sciretta: They just had that one.
Bayona: Yeah, but and it was funny to see the actors that were in the
first one reacting so excited.
Vespe: Geeking out, yeah.
Bayona: They were so excited in front of the animatronic.
Sciretta: It seems like you've worked very closely with Colin. I'm
wondering about Spielberg. When we were on the set of the first
Jurassic World movie Colin told us how Spielberg had this whole
suggestion with the water scene of the seats going down below the
water level. I love hearing these stories how Spielberg will “plus”
something. Do you have any stories where he threw out a suggestion
that changed the movie?
Bayona: We don't have any scene, a specific scene, but it's true that
Steven has been always very encouraging and he is the sort of person
that empowers a director. He makes him feel good and he makes him
feel prepared. I wanted to meet him as much as possible. I tried to
watch all the pre-vis that we did together. And it was fascinating to
show him the stuff and hearing back his ideas. And so there was lots
of details here and there.
Vespe: Little flourishes.
Bayona: Yeah. I don't remember any specific scene, but I think that
there is not any specific scene, but there was a lot of details here
and there. He was very, very encouraging all the time and very
supportive of our ideas.
Vespe: So he was pretty hands on I would assume during the
Vespe: I know Colin's been
on set a lot, but it seems like they put a lot of trust in you. So is
that stressful for you? I don't wanna make it sound like that you
don't feel supported...
Sciretta: This was a hundreds of millions of dollars movie, right?
Bayona: Yeah. I always admire Steven and, I mean, and my movies, a
lot of people used to talk about them like they're very Spielbergian,
you know? So I feel so comfortable being in this territory that I
don't have any problem in that sense, you know.
the truth is that I've been lucky of being able to sit down with all
the previous guys and design the scenes together shot by shot and
Steven has been always very supportive. He loved all the stuff that
we did and I consider that there was not any pressure totally.
Completely the opposite. It was totally the opposite.
Vespe: When you have somebody like Chris Pratt as your lead too he
brings so much like natural chemistry and a sense of spontaneity.
Have you had freedom to be able to be play a little bit loose and so
you're not a slave to the pre-vis?
Bayona: A lot, a lot, a lot. Yes. And I always try to give him as
much space as possible, because this is the way he works. The other
day I was referring to him as a Jazz musician because he's very
organic and he does every take totally different from one before. He
does it the way he feels it, he's always very truthful to himself and
every take is different. And every take there's something new that
going to be difficult in the editing room to decide what are the best
moments because he's great in all the takes. I'm all the time trying
to give the actors a lot of freedom, even though these movies are
very designed before they shoot. I always try to keep them alive and
keep them organic on the set, so I always show the pre-vis to the
actors. We talk about it and a lot of times we change them on the
Sciretta: You have Jeff Goldblum coming back and reprising his role.
What can you tell us about him and working with him?
Bayona: I think it's great to find links between the new Jurassic
World movies and the old Jurassic Park movies. So there's details all
over the film that are referring not just of course to the first
Jurassic World, but also the first Jurassic Park movies. Having
Malcolm was a great idea that Colin had and I think somehow he setups
the tone, the theme and the atmosphere of this film.
Vespe: Okay. That's cool. It's embracing kind of what the trend that
audiences like now and I think TV had a big part of that. They like
the long form storytelling aspect. Marvel has been taking advantage
of that in a big way. But people have stuff like Game of Thrones and
they love watching a story develop. The trick is being able to pull
that off and give them that feeling of living in a world and seeing a
world that they're familiar with without just making it a whole bunch
of like “Hey, remember when you liked this moment?” I think they
did a pretty good job in the last Jurassic with that.
Bayona: Yeah and I think that Colin keeps doing it in this film. I
think he's created the story one step forward. At the same time,
paying respect to the original Jurassic World and the original
Jurassic Park movies. But the story continues in this one and we keep
going in the next, following a story that is longer than the film
we're gonna see.
Sciretta: We are back at Isla Nublar, but Frank (Marshall) said it's
only in the movie for like 25%. So, where does it go from there?
Bayona: I don't know if I can talk about that. This is one of the big
surprises and I think that's one of the things that I really
appreciate when Colin told me the story the first time. That we go to
the island, but then we go to somewhere else.
Vespe: You talked earlier about building a suspenseful scene shot by
shot. Can you talk a little bit about what that scene is so people
like who might read the interview and then see the movie later will
understand which scene that you are talking about?
Bayona: Yeah. Well I think there's plenty of scenes. It's not only
one. I think that the second half is gonna play a lot on suspense.
And suspense is all about not accumulation, but escalating the
tension. It's not just putting lots of stuff on the frame. It's more
escalating the element in order to get the pace and the tension that
puts the audience at the edge of their seats. This is the dream for
me, in terms of the storytelling.
Vespe: So it could be personal stakes, it doesn't have to be like
world ending, 50 dinosaurs in a single shot kind of thing?
Bayona: No, it's not like that. It's not like that. It's quite the
opposite. I mean, you'll have, you will have 15 dinosaurs in the same
frame more at the beginning of the film and then at the end it's more
about the suspense and not seeing them. That's more interesting,
Sciretta: You mentioned that this is the second of a trilogy that's
planned. Can you talk about the balance of creating a complete story,
but you're setting up a third act as well?
Bayona: Mm-hmm. I don't know how much can I talk about the story, you
Sciretta: Okay. I'm not looking for detail. I'm just saying like how
does that, how do you balance that? Like how do you…
Vespe: How do you tell a complete story in and of itself here but
also know that you're also leading into another movie?
Bayona: I think it's like when you talk about television, it's a
little bit like that. I remember when I did Penny Dreadful, I did the
first episode and I really didn't know where the series was heading
to. It's a very interesting experience because you're playing with
the storytelling yet you really don't know where it's heading to.
It's not the case of doing a Jurassic movie. I think that Colin has
designed more than only one film, you know. He's the guy who has all
Vespe: Has he shared that with you so you know you're not making some
decision on the day that could contradict what he's planning in the
Bayona: No, but there were moments that Colin said, “I would love
if you can introduce this detail in that scene and that detail in
that scene because I'm thinking this is going to pay off in the third
film.” You know, you're collaborating and including details on a
story that is bigger than the one you're doing.
Vespe: Do you think that you'll come back for the third one? Or do
you think that Colin might come back? Did you guys talk at all about
that? (This was way before it was announced that Trevorrow would
return to direct Jurassic World 3).
Bayona: We talk a lot about a lot of things.
Vespe: Would you want to come back for the third film? I mean, you're
not gonna sit here and go, “Man, I'm having a miserable experience”
even if you were, but would you be interested in like seeing the
franchise through to the next movie?
Bayona: Yeah. I'm really enjoying the experience of doing a Jurassic
movie. I'm really enjoying it. It's not painful at all to come back,
I can tell you. I think it's a lot of fun. I love to work with these
actors. It's great. They're so creative and it's great to be in the
set working with them. And also this is the kind of stories that I
like. Emotion and visual effects, great music. I love it.
Sciretta: Can you talk a little bit about B.D. Wong's character? He
seems to be the big thread that from the last one that kind of
launches into this one. At least apparently.
Vespe: He's one of the big hanging threads.
Sciretta: Hanging threads, yeah.
Bayona: How can I talk about it without spoiling anything? I think
it's true that there is this character in the shadows that is playing
an important role in the story. And it's there. I mean, we have B.D.
in there. Again, it's a connection with the old films. It's not only
a connection with the Jurassic World movie, but also with Jurassic
Park. And there's details, there's more details, not only characters,
but there are things that are in contact not only with Jurassic
World, but with Jurassic Park.
Sciretta: I was a little nervous, to be honest, that this franchise
was gonna be militarized dinos in a war. I thought this movie was
gonna be that and I'm so glad that you return to the island. Can you
talk a little bit about that?
Bayona: Yeah. Colin and I were on the same page. We wanted to make it
feel like a very classic Jurassic film. We go back to the island, but
at the same time we go to new places. You bring the story to places
that people is not expecting and we are closing some chapters and we
are opening some new chapters.
mean, it's like you say, it's more like the narrative of a TV show,
where you are closing some lines and opening new ones. And I think
that feels very exciting and I think that this is one of the big
things that television is bringing to the movies. There's a lot of
bad things that television is bringing to the movies, but there are
good things and one of those is that people more and more is more
prepared (for) the twist, is more prepared to things that you will
not buy in the '80s and now you buy them, you know?
mean, you can kill Han Solo right now in a Star Wars movie and I
think there's a little bit of responsibility in television to blame
Vespe: Yeah. I mean, when you have shows like The Walking Dead and
Game of Thrones just kind of showing…
Vespe: That's one of the things I love about TV now, because it keeps
you on your toes as a viewer, because nobody's safe and they'll kill
a fan favorite or whatever. I love that kind of shock.
Bayona: But at the same time we wanted to make it feel very classy.
One of the first things I ask and I have the support of everyone was
that we are shooting in CinemaScope. We are shooting in 2.40 and
never a Jurassic movie has been like that.
Vespe: Yeah, the first one was 1.85, right?
Bayona: Yeah. But I thought that we wanted to make it bigger and we
wanted to make it more epic. So I had the support of everyone. And I
can tell you it looks amazing.
Sciretta: What are you shooting on, Arri 65?
Bayona: Yeah. And it looks amazing. I think that the island looks
Vespe: With the widescreen format, did you look at any particular
cinematic inspiration for that? I mean, Leone shot that wide and
David Lean famously shot very wide, too.
Bayona: Yeah. Exactly. I think one of the things I'm telling all the
time to the camera operator is that we need to do a movie that cannot
be seen in a plane. So we are using all the format, from the extreme
right to the extreme left. So we are filling the frame in a beautiful
way. You have references like, I mean, Vilmos Zsigmond, the movies he
did with Michael Cimino. When you see the frames of these movies and
they look like paintings, you know.
Vespe: Yeah. There's fore, mid and back, there's always there's
Bayona: Exactly. And Steven, all the Indiana Jones movies and the
frames, they look like paintings. And I wanted to have that in this
in a Jurassic movie, so we created this big canvas. And we are
playing a lot in making interesting compositions.
Vespe: Talk a little bit about the tone. We know that there's more
suspense in this, but was there a target for the tone throughout that
you were going for? Like leaning more on action or more on suspense?
Bayona: I think when you do a movie like this, it's a movie for a big
audience, so it has a lot of things to everyone. It has suspense, but
it has action, it's a lot of fun, too. It's a little bit darker than
the previous one, but it's a lot of fun, too. It's quite challenging
because you have a lot of different tones and you need to blend them
in a single story.
Sciretta: Michael Crichton always had some themes that reflected
society and it seems like you guys are kind of dealing with animal
Vespe: And bureaucracy too. Because we, Frank said that there's like
the decision from the world's governments are pretty much just to
leave them alone.
Bayona: I think so, yes. I really like that from the story that Colin
planned for this one, that he talks about the moment we live in, in a
very obvious way when you see the film. I think that's very
interesting. It plays with the idea of how we use science, not
blaming science, but the use of science that some people do. And this
has been part of the legacy of the films in the Jurassic movies and I
think nowadays it's a theme that is out there right now.
Sciretta: Can you talk about Justice and Daniella? When I was talking
to Colin, he said they were the secret sauce of this movie. What does
Bayona: (laughs) You will see. I mean, they're new characters and
they're bringing a very specific personality to the film. You will
see. I think they're very Colin's world. It's been very interesting
because he has, you can tell the sense of humor of Colin through
these characters and I really enjoy working with them. They're
excellent and a lot of fun to be with on the set, you know. I cannot
tell you much about it. But they're very interesting characters.
Vespe: Now, I mean, I know that Chris said on the press tour for the
last movie that anybody of our age that grew up with Jurassic Park,
it was a big moment for people. I mean, I was 12 when it came out and
I vividly remember the day I saw it. Like not just watching the
movie, but like the lead up to it. My Grandma dropping me off at the
theater and how the lines were around the block and how that was on
the news the night before and I wasn't sure if I could get in. It was
an event that was like a big landmark for me. So when you have
somebody like Goldblum coming back in the role and he's surrounded by
people who grew up with this, was that like a moment, the first scene
with Ian Malcolm? Could you tell that people were geeking out about
Bayona: The truth is that I remember that the first day of
shooting... I used to shoot all the time with music on the set. So,
of course the first music that (I played on Jurassic World 2) was the
Jurassic Park theme from John Williams. It was so much emotional in
that moment on the set. So there's a lot of that. But the truth is
that there's so much work to do that you're not really, at least I
can tell you, you're not into that nostalgia. You have your
characters in front of you. You have so much work to do every day
that it's when you come back home and you say, “Oh my God, I've
been doing a Jurassic Park movie!” That's the moment that you are
aware of it, but I haven't been that nostalgic in the set.
Vespe: Not yet.
Bayona: No, not yet.
Vespe: It'll all hit you when you wrap and you're in the editing
Bayona: Yeah, and I think that's good because it gives you a distance
from the material. You're doing something new. I mean, it's something
that you need to be aware that you are trying to move the story a
step forward, so you wanna pay tribute to the old movies, but you
want to move forward at the same time.
Vespe: Yeah. You don’t wanna be too wrapped up in them. I mean,
even Steven himself has kind of fallen prey to that with like Kingdom
of the Crystal Skull.
Bayona: Totally, yeah.
Sciretta: You talked about the filming in scope and these movies have
been shown in IMAX, so I assume this is going to be in IMAX. Are you
gonna expand or do you want it to just be shown in scope?
Bayona: There's been some conversation about it. The idea would be to
keep the aspect ratio. This is what they've been doing with the Star
Wars movies. I think when you design a film, when you design a shot,
it's kind of like going against the film if you change the aspect
Vespe: And it takes you out of the movie. I just watched the new
Transformers and every other shot's switching aspect ratios.
Bayona: Yeah. No, no, no. I mean, I am very, very specific with a
shot in the set. This is probably, I mean, apart from the work with
the actors, I am very specific in where the camera should be and how
the camera should move. For me, this is as important as performance
or even a line in the dialogue. So for me, breaking that it would be
like going against the film.
Sciretta: You mentioned playing the music. Is that in between setups
Bayona: No. Sometimes we play while we shooting.
Sciretta: While you're shooting. Oh, like an action scene if people
are like running and stuff.
Bayona: Yeah, an action scene or you just play sounds.
Sciretta: Are you playing dinosaur sounds?
Bayona: I'm joking all the time with Justice because I'm playing
sounds to scare him during the takes. So it's been a lot of fun to
work with him in that setting.
Vespe: Well, at least you're only doing sounds. Some of the old
school directors, like John Huston, would actually shoot guns in the
air to startle their actors.
Bayona: Oh wow.
Vespe: Not even blanks. Like he would have his gun there.
Bayona: I remember a shot once with a gun in my hand during The
Orphanage because I had to scare the actors. We were shooting not in
a soundstage, but in a place that was full of birds, so they had
these guns to scare the birds. And I said, “Give me one of these
guns.” So I was in the video village with a gun in my hand. There
are some references in the behind the scenes. It was a pretty bizarre
image. Yeah, no, I'm not using that.
Vespe: So, you're saying you used guns to scare children in your
Bayona: No, it was for the lead actress!
Vespe: Okay, good.
Bayona: It was for the lead actress.
Vespe: That won't look as bad.
Bayona: It was for the lead actress. No, but I like music. It helps a
lot in creating the mood, sometimes the tension. Sometimes you play
light music to make the actors feel good in the set and the lines
come with a freshness that maybe you would not get in a different
Vespe: Is that something that you used on previous films and brought
Bayona: All the time. Every time, yes. I love it.
Vespe: That's awesome.
Bayona: I love it. And the actors normally they love it.
Bayona: Yeah. Normally they love it. I mean, I haven't found any
actor yet… No, they love it. They love it. I'm thinking, is there
any actor who asked me not to play music? No.
Vespe: The only time I've actually really seen that a lot was Peter
Jackson did that on his King Kong a lot with Naomi Watts. But it was
like always very romanticy music and to kind of set that romanticized
'30s time period.
Bayona: I understand. For example, I remember one take with Bryce was
very interesting. There was no dialogue in that scene. It was all
about the way she was looking at a determined thing, you know? And it
was very fun, because I played three pieces. Every piece very
different from the other one. So one was like one was a romantic
music, the other one was a scary and she played three different
performances in every take. It was very interesting.
are the kind of things I do enjoy bringing to the story. These movies
they're so big, they're so pre-designed that you want to get to the
set and break that.
Vespe: Yeah, you wanna have a little emotional truth.
Bayona: Exactly, yeah. And Bryce, she's very organic. So I told her,
“Listen, I'm gonna play three musics and the performance is going
to be according to the music I'm playing.” And she was like “Okay,
great.” We did three takes and the three were different. The three
were good. And that gives you options in the editing.
Sciretta: Do you plan these mixes ahead of time or are you just on
set with an iPod or whatever?
Bayona: I'm with my iPod all the time. And I'm connected to the
Internet, so it's all about, like, remembering a piece in that moment
and look for it and play it.
Vespe: What kinds of music? Was it scores or was it pop songs?
Bayona: Many scores, yes. Yeah, in this one there's been a lot of
(Michael) Giacchino, of course, because he's gonna do the score and
of course John Williams.
Vespe: Any Jerry Goldsmith sneaking in?
Bayona: Jerry Goldsmith has been playing a lot. Total Recall.
Vespe: Oh, Jerry Goldsmith is one of my all time favorites.
Bayona: And Basic Instinct. We play a lot of this, too.
Vespe: That's a good one.
Bayona: It's a lot of fun, yes.
Vespe: Awesome, well thank you so much again for taking the time for
when you could have been relaxing for a little bit, but instead you
were talking to us nerds.
Sciretta: Thank you very much.
Bayona: See you soon.
Vespe: Yeah, I'm looking forward to watching you work.
Bayona: Oh, thank you so much. Enjoy the shoot!
brings some more on-set interviews, our first with some of the
actors. We begin with the enthusiastic, energetic and super excitable
Bryce Dallas Howard and on Wednesday you'll hear from Chris Pratt and
then Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda before this week is done!