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What happened to the cast of Jurassic Park

Spielberg’s truly great popcorn film ‘Jurassic Park’ had it all – stunning special effects, jaw-dropping set pieces, door-opening dinosaurs and a scene featuring the simple patter of water in a glass that still terrifies. To celebrate the re-release of the classic film, we take a look at what the cast are up to now…

Sam Neill
The New Zealand actor played paleontologist Dr Alan Grant, an Indiana Jones type who spends half of the film in wide-eyed wonder at the sight of galloping dinosaurs – the other half in wide-eyed terror when they escape from their confines. Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell and William Hurt were considered for the part, before Spielberg plumped for Neill.

The actor, who was briefly considered to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, went on to become a regular on the big and small screen – including roles in ‘The Piano’, Event Horizon’, Robin Williams’ dramedy ‘Bicentennial Man’ and voicing the cat burglar in ‘The Simpsons’. He had to turn down the part of Elrond in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ because he was reprising the role of Dr Alan Grant in ‘Jurassic Park III’. He also went on to star in a number of television shows including ‘The Tudors’, ‘Happy Town’ and ‘Crusoe’.

Laura Dern
The dramatic actress, daughter of Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, had impressed in David Lynch’s classics ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Wild at Heart’ before receiving an Oscar nomination for 1991’s ‘Rambling Rose’. But it is for the role of Dr Ellie Sattler that she is most famous for. Like the casting of Dr Alan Grant, a host of names were considered before Dern won the role, reportedly including Sigourney Weaver, Jodie Foster and Jamie Lee Curtis.

While she wouldn’t go on to have the same box office success on the big screen, she appeared in highly rated films such as ‘I Am Sam’ and Lynch’s much talked-about ‘Inland Empire’. Dern won a Golden Globe award for her role in TV series ‘Recount’. She also appeared briefly in the third ‘Jurassic Park’ movie. She dated her ‘Jurassic Park’ co-star Jeff Goldbum for two years in the mid-90s, and was later engaged to Billy Bob Thornton – who apparently left her for Angelina Jolie. She is now married to musician Ben Harper. Her latest on-screen role was as Prudence in the Ben Stiller comedy, ‘Little Fockers’.

Jeff Goldblum
The distinctively spoken actor had an impressive CV before he landed the role of leather jacket-clad mathematician Ian Malcolm in ‘Jurassic Park’. 1986’s ‘The Fly’ was his breakout role, but he had also excelled in British comedy ‘The Tall Guy’ and thriller ‘Deep Cover’.

Hugely charismatic in ‘Jurassic Park’, he went on to star in the eagerly-awaited sequel four years later, without the involvement of Neill and Dern. He didn’t return for the third film, however. In 1996, he scored another huge box office hit in the alien invasion blockbuster ‘Independence Day’. Following that, Goldblum became an ever-present figure on the big and small screen and was recently the best thing in Jennifer Aniston’s surrogate comedy ‘The Switch’. Last year he appeared in Neil Simon’s darkly comic play ‘The Prisoner of Second Avenue’ in London’s West End.

Lord Richard Attenborough
The mastermind behind the whole dinosaur park, John Hammond, was a much more frightening character in Michael Crichton’s novel. However, Spielberg made him more lovable, like a friendly uncle – hence the casting of the eternally lovable and friendly uncle–type, Lord Richard Attenborough.

It was Attenborough’s first acting role since 1979’s ‘The Human Factor’, and it came just after he’d finished directing the Charlie Chaplin biopic, Chaplin, which starred Robert Downey Jr. Attenborough reprised the role of Hammond briefly in 1997’s ‘The Lost World’, having only appeared in front of the camera a handful of times after his original ‘Jurassic Park’ appearance – most notably in 1994’s ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. His last directorial offering was 2007’s ‘Closing the Ring’.

Ariana Richards
Some made-for-TV movies and a role in the wonderfully cheesy ‘Tremors’ came before Ariana Richards landed the role of Hammond’s granddaughter, Lex – a geek during a time in films where if a character knew how to turn on a computer they could hack into the most sophisticated security systems in the world. She would reprise both her roles in ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Tremors’ in ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Tremors 3: Back to Perfection’ respectively.

A pop album in 1993 called ‘First Love’ sadly flopped but she went on to become a successful artist, winning the US National Professional Oil Painting Competition in 2005.

Joseph Mazzello

As a child actor, Mazzello starred in a number of hit films including ‘Presumed Innocent’, ‘River Wild’ and ‘Shadowlands’. While he failed an audition for Spielberg’s ‘Hook’, the director remembered him and promptly offered him the role of Tim. Following appearances in ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Simon Birch’, the movie roles did dry up for a while. However, after his directorial debut, the 2007 drama ‘Matters of Life and Death’, things picked up.

Spielberg cast him in the follow-up to acclaimed mini-series ‘Band of Brothers’, 2010’s ‘The Pacific’. He also starred in David Fincher’s award-winning Facebook biopic ‘The Social Network’.

Samuel L. Jackson
A quick mention has to go to Mr Jackson as well. We normally bypass the minor character in the ‘What Happened To…’ series, but when one of those actors goes on to become one of the most recognisable faces in the world we can’t ignore him. Following his role as the park’s chief engineer, he went on to enjoy worldwide success after securing the part of Jules in ‘Pulp Fiction’ – a role that Quentin Tarantino had written specifically for him.

From then on, Jackson has seemingly appeared in nearly every film made! The highlights – ‘Die Hard: With a Vengeance’, ‘Jackie Brown’, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and ‘Unbreakable’. The lowlights – ‘The Spirit’, ‘xXx:2 – The Next Level’ and ‘The 51st State’.