Foreword by Adam Brannon. Jurassic World 2 is currently filming in numerous locations across the UK and this week marks the 20th anniversary since the franchise’s second film; The Lost World was released across the globe.
The film was warmly received and grossed over $600million at the global box office. The film’s success spawned Jurassic Park III in 2001 and of course Jurassic World in 2015.
To celebrate the film’s 20th birthday, I had an exclusive chat with Vanessa Chester, who starred alongside Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn as Kelly, the confident daughter of Dr. Ian Malcolm who will see returning to the series in Jurassic World 2 next summer.
How did the part as Kelly in The Lost World come about?
It’s crazy, I actually met Steven Spielberg at The Little Princess premiere in 95/96’, he asked me for an autograph and while I was signing it, he told me he thought I was fantastic, and that he would love to use me in a film one day. Fast Forward two years, and I receive a call from his office saying he would like to meet with me for the sequel to Jurassic Park. I almost died of shock!
What was the audition process like?
First I met with just Spielberg at his office. Very casually, we spoke about what I was studying in school, my life as a thirteen year old – the basics. He was amazing, it still blows my mind to this day, how someone that incredibly talented can be so humble and grounded. He’s a really special human being!
After the initial meeting, I was asked to come back and read with Jeff. It was just Jeff, myself, and Spielberg with a camcorder on a tripod in a conference room! After I read, Spielberg asked Jeff to pretend to be a raptor and chase me around the room to test my “scared” face. Apparently it worked, because one month later I got a call saying I booked the movie!!!
Was there extra pressure on you considering the first film’s success?
The first Jurassic is in a league of its own, and would be very difficult to live up to, but it set a bar that was nice to aspire to! If anything, I did feel more of a responsibility rather than pressure from myself to honor the Jurassic Park legacy and bring Kelly Malcolm to life! Luckily, my family and representation at the time believed in me one hundred percent, and were extremely supportive.
What was it like working with stars like Jeff Goldblum and Julianne Moore?
Terrible. Obviously, kidding. It was absolutely incredible! Not only were they each genuinely incredible people, they were all so talented. They each had so much experience as actors, and it was such an honor to be in their presence at such a young age. I just tried to soak everything in. They were so much fun too! There was definitely a surplus of jokes and laughter on the set.
What did you make of 2015’s Jurassic World?
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the premiere, and I loved it. I think one of franchises unique qualities is its ability to make adults feel like children while watching. There’s something very undeniably transformative about the JP franchise, I question individuals who aren’t fans of the movies ha-ha! Maybe I’m biased! 😉
Do you have a favourite memory from working on the set?
There were so many, but this is in my top three! One day on the soundstage, in-between takes I had wandered off to where some of the animatronics of different dinosaurs were. At the time, the large T-Rex head used for close ups was “off-duty” and I saw that as my opportunity to study the massive head up close.
Apparently, right as I had decided to explore this work of art, some of the crew members in charge of operating the head decided it would be hilarious to have it move when I least expected it. I was very close to the T-Rex and out of nowhere it started to move! I was like “Wait! Is this thing alive”? I turned around and they were laughing. Needless to say, they got me good.
What was your favourite dinosaur whilst working on the film?
Raptors will always be my favorite dinosaur. I can’t explain it, but I just think they’re badass!! Not only are they intelligent, they’re slick and travel in packs. If an actual Jurassic Park were to ever exist, I’d be first in line for the raptor attraction!
What are you working on these days?
Still acting! I have a movie coming out later this year, release date hasn’t been confirmed and I’m extremely excited to see how it turns out! Also working on creating my own projects! I’ve always enjoyed telling other people’s stories, and then I realized I have stories that I would love to share with the world, so I’m going to do it!
One we ask everyone at Movie Metropolis, what is your favourite film?
This question is so hard for me to answer! There are too many fantastic films out there! Can I give you some of my tops? Most of them are comedies that I remember blowing my mind when I was a little girl. I loved Office Space, Rushmore, Con-Air…I mean Cyrus the virus is one of the best villains in the world to me.
And another – your favourite cinema snack?
I love this question! Movie snacks are so essential to the viewing experience! I generally go for Sour Patch kids. I mean, they’re delicious, sour then sweet. Just the whole package! If I’m in a chocolate mood, I will DEVOUR the Nestle Crunch bon bon ice cream dib things. The only thing is those little guys are dangerously addictive and easy to eat, I can and have-in-the-past eaten the entire thing before the movie even started. Oops!
Did you take anything to remember your time filming The Lost World?
I don’t remember taking anything off the set, but in retrospect I really should have! Luckily, at the end of the film Universal sent the cast members a HUGE wooden box filled to the brim with Lost World toys, shorts, and memorabilia. I still have the crate and all its contents today! It’s a “JP” fan’s dream.
If you were asked, would you return to the series?
Absolutely! As a fan of the franchise, being in one Jurassic Park film was an incredible honor so getting to reprise Kelly Malcolm would be another dream come true. I think it would be really great to see how Kelly’s experience shaped her personality and the way she sees the world as an adult.
I imagine her working as a geneticist – inspired by seeing dinosaurs face to face and living to tell the tale! Or perhaps a Professor lecturing on a subject related to dinosaurs, maybe she’s against companies like InGen manufacturing dinosaurs and other animals for financial gain. I would also love it if she were a mother. Jeff as a granddad!
Do you stay in touch with any of the cast members?
I have been fortunate to run into a couple of the cast members throughout the years and it’s always so amazing. I was only twelve when we filmed the movie, so after they get over the initial shock that I’m an adult it’s onto reminiscing and catching up. If I could see anyone it would be Jeff, I haven’t seen him since I was about 14 and I would just love to see him again. I have so many fond memories of him!
A word from Adam: A huge thank you to the very lovely Vanessa who took time out of her exceptionally busy schedule to answer these questions and provide such great responses. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did.