It’s tough to imagine Jurassic Park without Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, but it turns out that the movie nearly didn’t feature the now iconic character. Goldblum has had a long and prosperous career, but his work in the Jurassic Park franchise, particularly the first movie, remains some of his most exemplary. However, the actor reveals in a new interview that director Steven Spielberg almost cut Malcolm out of the movie while they were rewriting the script.
Jeff Goldblum is set to return to the franchise this summer in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which arrives in theaters on June 22. While speaking with Vanity Fair recently, discussing his career in general and promoting his new movie Isle of Dogs, he made the reveal that, during his first meeting with Steven Spielberg about the role in Jurassic Park, there was some talk about cutting Ian Malcolm from the script entirely. Here’s what he had to say about it.
“He said ‘You know, there’s a sort of movement afoot with our little committee here as we’re rewriting another version of the script to have that part removed from the script. So since we’ve had this meeting, there’s this little wrinkle that may render this moot.”
During this time, Steven Spielberg was at the height of his powers and Jeff Goldblum didn’t have the body of work that he has now. So it must have been tough, but the actors says he “felt moved to advocate for my inclusion.” That’s a decision and an instinct that paid off in a big way. Not just because it wound up being one of Goldblum’s most memorable roles and his calling card to some degree, but because the character truly served the movie well. Especially when hearing that the idea was to sort of merge Malcolm with Sam Neill’s character, Alan Grant.
“The people want that character melded into the Sam Neill character, I don’t think Sam Neill was doing it yet, but the Alan Grant character, and I said no no no, I think keep that character but, um… I don’t know what I said, but anyway, it turns out that I got to be in it and that’s the way it goes.”
It’s impossible to know how things would have gone if Jeff Goldblum’s part was axed from Jurassic Park but, as is, the movie remains one of Steven Spielberg’s finest works to date and launched one of the most successful franchises of all time. Following the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this summer, Colin Trevorrow, who directed 2015’s Jurassic World, will return to helm Jurassic World 3, which has been announced for 2021. And there’s a good chance, though it hasn’t been confirmed yet, that we’ll see Ian Malcolm show up in that movie as well. With any luck, Laura Dern will also return as Ellie Sattler. You can check out the full interview with Jeff Goldblum, courtesy of the Vanity Fair YouTube channel, for yourself below.