JURASSIC DREAM WORLD

JUS­TICE SMITH FUL­FILL­ING HIS FAN­TASY WITH ROLE IN DINO MOVIE RE­BOOT

Life & Style Weekend - - SCREENLIFE - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

Jus­tice Smith is living out his child­hood dream of play­ing with di­nosaurs. Hot off the heels of his ap­pear­ance in Baz Luhrmann’s Net­flix se­ries The Get Down, the 22-year-old scored a star­ring role in Fallen King­dom – the se­quel to the film fran­chise’s 2015 re­boot Jurassic World.

“I used to go on th­ese road trips with my fam­ily all the time. We had this por­ta­ble DVD player and we would watch all three of the orig­i­nal films,” Smith says over the phone from Hawaii.

“My sib­lings would cower and I would just be trans­fixed by th­ese di­nosaurs. It’s a dream come true to be a part of it.”

But when it came to film­ing for the big-bud­get ad­ven­ture film, it was Smith’s turn to be scared.

The Los Angeles-born ac­tor plays tech whiz Franklin, who has signed on to Claire’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) cam­paign to save the di­nosaurs left aban­doned on Isla Nublar fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Jurassic World theme park.

When the is­land’s dor­mant vol­cano comes to life, a global de­bate rages about whether or not the an­i­mals should be saved or left to die from nat­u­ral causes.

“What at­tracts peo­ple to see th­ese movies is how they re­late to our own re­al­ity,” he says. “There’s the is­sue of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and the moral ques­tion about the rights of th­ese an­i­mals. Does a man-made cre­ation de­serve the same rights?”

Claire and her team clearly think so, and they find the sup­port they need to launch a res­cue mis­sion in the form of orig­i­nal

Jurassic Park co-founder Ben­jamin

Lock­wood (James Cromwell) and his right-hand man Eli Mills (Rafe Spall).

Once Claire con­vinces her ex Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to come along to save his beloved Ve­loci­rap­tor Blue, they re­turn to find Isla Nublar teem­ing with life and Franklin fi­nally comes face to face with the an­i­mals he’s fought to pro­tect.

“It was great to work with the (di­nosaur) pup­pets. They were so in­tri­cate,” Smith says. “They would sweat and drool and blink and they had puls­ing veins; it was so life­like. I’m glad we had that be­cause it is dif­fi­cult to act along­side noth­ing.”

But things quickly spi­ral out of con­trol when Claire’s team is be­trayed by Mills’ men and they are left to fend for them­selves as a vol­canic erup­tion sends lava pour­ing down the moun­tain­side. It’s ev­ery man, woman and dino for them­selves.

“I had to do a lot of the stunts in this movie, which was a whole new chal­lenge for me,” he says.

“I fell in love with do­ing stunts and be­ing phys­i­cal in that way.

“The whole gy­ro­sphere se­quence was a lot of fun. They built this mini roller coaster to shoot it go­ing off the cliff. Bryce and I had to go down it 15 to 20 times. It makes you feel like a kid again, like you’re ac­tu­ally at an amuse­ment park.”

Direc­tor JA Bay­ona also had a few tricks up his sleeve to en­sure he got gen­uine scares, screams and jumps out of his ac­tors.

“He would play di­nosaur roars over the loud­speaker when we weren’t ex­pect­ing it, and he specif­i­cally tar­geted me (laughs),” Smith says. “A lot of my jumps in the movie are me re­act­ing to that.

“When I was play­ing Franklin I tried to react how I would nat­u­rally react but height­ened a bit in terms of the vul­ner­a­bil­ity and the sen­si­tiv­ity. I hope I would be more courageous if I were ever in a sit­u­a­tion like that, but it’s hard to say. It was fun to play Franklin and be this comedic re­lief.”

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