Exclusive: A chat with Jurassic World’s raptor handler, Colby Boothman

Colby3With Jurassic World continuing to take the global box-office by storm and being a stones throw away from grossing $1bn in worldwide ticket sales, it proves that dinosaurs are still hot property for audiences.

Adam Brannon had a chat with Colby Boothman, Jurassic World’s newest and youngest recruit Leon, who plays one of the film’s raptor handlers. He had some interesting stories to share about his time on the set, have a read below for the full, exclusive interview. And be sure to check out our other interviews for more great content.

What was it like working on a series like Jurassic Park?

It’s a big responsibility working on Jurassic Park, but everyone put their entire lives work into making this film. It’s a movie made by fans of Jurassic Park and made for the fans of Jurassic Park.

What was it like setting up scenes ready for the inclusion of the Velociraptors?

To work with the Velociraptors we actually had professional dancers (Jimmy Salserito, James Ortiz, Hamid Thompson, Matt Cipro) that were hired to play the Velociraptors for rehearsals and for eye-lines. It was really incredible to have this representation of the raptors in front of us that react to things that we do, the movements etc.

You’re not acting to nothing, you have these professionals playing Velociraptors in front of you and they had these basically bicycle helmets in the shape of the Velociraptor heads and they move around exactly like the raptors in the film.

Why is your hair so much shorter in the film?

I have fairly long hair, and Colin (Trevorrow) was playing around with the idea of cutting my hair for the film.

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Colby at the Jurassic World premiere

Cutting my hair would be a little bit difficult just because of other projects I had going on so instead what we did is we actually French-braided my hair back and did a fake haircut on the sides and on the back of my head to make it look like I had short hair.

When you put the cap on, it hides my hair completely and looks like I had short hair.

What was your favourite moment on the set?

My favourite moment on the set was probably Chris Pratt’s character Owen throwing rats to the Velociraptors. They were using real rats for the scene and they were originally using frozen rats, but the frozen rats didn’t have the realistic consistency or the movements that a real rat would.

They had to thaw the rats. So, they took these frozen rats and put them in the microwave to heat them up. They started filming with these now microwaved rats to throw at the raptors and on the first few takes of throwing these rats at the ground, they were actually exploding.

They were getting on the crew and it was just disgusting. They ended up having people with little buckets catching the rats so they weren’t exploding all over the camera crew.

What was it like seeing yourself immortalised in LEGO?

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Colby’s character Leon in LEGO Jurassic World

It wasn’t something that I was expecting, when I found out they had turned my character into LEGO for the Jurassic World video game.

My character in the video game is called Leon and you can actually unlock my character using a keycode and you can play as my character, the raptor handler throughout the entire Jurassic Park franchise.

I haven’t been able to play yet, the game is sitting at home for PS4 and I’m really excited to dig in to it and play the entire Jurassic Park series. That’s really exciting and one of the coolest things about working on the film.

What was it like working with Chris Pratt?

Chris is fantastic. He is one of the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. While we were filming, Guardians of the Galaxy had not come out yet and what it really was, was this group of awesome amazing people on set and one of them was Chris Pratt who worked on Parks & Recreation.


Chris Pratt & Velociraptors

At the time he wasn’t this monster star that he is now and he is someone who has really gotten what he deserves because he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and it’s been a real pleasure working with everybody on Jurassic World. They’re all very talented, nice friendly people.

Making Jurassic World was just a group of people who became really good friends to me and made one of the most fantastic movies in recent history.

How were you chosen for the part in Jurassic World?

My agent pitched me for the role and I got a reading for my character that I put on tape. When I got the reading for it I was so excited just to be able to read for something as iconic as the Jurassic Park franchise.

It was really surreal when my agent sent me a message saying “hey you’ve been sent down for studio approval as the director’s choice for the role in Jurassic World.”

It’s an experience I almost can’t even explain. It’s one of the most humbling, exciting things I’ve ever experienced and I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to work on Jurassic World.

What’s next for your career?

I was actually just at E3 yesterday to self-promote a couple of projects. I did the motion-capture lightsabre work for some of the characters in Star Wars: Battlefront, the video game.

I’m really excited for that to come out, it’s a game that I grew up playing and to be able to do the lightsabre work for some of my favourite characters in history is amazing. I got to play it yesterday and I cannot wait for this game to come out (November 17th).

Do you have anything to remember your time at Jurassic World?

The most important thing that I got to take away from Jurassic World was memories. Being on set, seeing Jurassic Park come to life, seeing the Main Street built up with Margaritaville, Starbucks and just this incredible park that they actually built in the parking lot of six flags.

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At the JW premiere

And of course the raptor paddock. When I first got there, the first thing you see is Jurassic Park. You’re immersed instantly by one of the most nostalgic film franchises from my childhood.

I do have some things. I got one of the park bracelets that everyone in Jurassic Park wears to get around the park. I actually have one on my wrist right now. I have the Mark Englert silk-screen Jurassic World poster – the first poster that was created for the film.

Mark Englert was kind enough to give me one and it’s hanging up in my bedroom. It’s an amazing piece. To wake up everyday and to be able to see that, to see what I’m a part of is just incredible.

What is your favourite dinosaur from the series?

Roy the raptor has travelled with Colby

Probably, baby Triceratops. It’s just the friendliest thing from Jurassic World and to be able to see people riding the baby Triceratops is just something that I think we would all love to do as a child. My favourite raptor was probably Charlie. He had a bit of an attitude. I like raptors that have a bit of individuality.

I actually have right in front of me a little toy raptor named Roy who has been travelling around with me to the various premieres. He’s just been going all over with me and I’ve been putting photos up on Twitter with him. He is a very well-travelled raptor.

A word from Adam:

A huge thank you to Colby who took time out of his very busy schedule to phone me all the way from California for a chat. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did conducting it.

7 thoughts on “Exclusive: A chat with Jurassic World’s raptor handler, Colby Boothman

  1. Now I’m seriously regretting being so critical of Jurassic World, seeing as Hollywood’s gotten our eye on us.

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