Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, & more return to ‘just plain bad’ Jurassic World: Dominion


Jurassic Park OGs Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum have returned to walk among the dinosaurs for one last time in the final installment of the Jurassic World trilogy, Dominion.

The trio starred in the original Jurassic Park (1993) and Jeff returned for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and  However, they weren’t asked back for the 2015 installment Jurassic World nor its 2018 sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. 

The stars had no idea what a success the 1993 film would be and were shocked by the positive response from fans and fellow celebs a like – including Princess Diana who shook hands with them at the premiere. 

Now they’ve joined Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard for the third and final Jurassic World. 

While they struck gold with the original Jurassic Park trilogy, the reviews for Jurassic World: Dominion have been mixed at best.

Movie critic Nicholas Whitcomb said that the 2022 film ‘is just plain bad, writing on Twitter: ‘The old cast (main reason I went to see this) felt like they were sleepwalking thru the film.’

However some viewers have applauded the actors’ appearance in the movie – which, despite varied reviews, has dominated at the box office, taking home a staggering $143 million in its opening weekend. 

Jurassic Park stars Sam, Laura and Jeff have rejoined the franchise for Jurassic World: Dominion along with Chris and Bryce, pictured at the premiere

The stars of the 1993 film Jurassic Park film shook hands Princess Diana who shook hands with them at the premiere

The stars of the 1993 film Jurassic Park film shook hands Princess Diana who shook hands with them at the premiere

Sam, Laura and Jeff, along with Richard Attenborough and Martin Ferrero

The OGs returned for Jurassic World: Dominion along with Chris, Bryce, Isabella Sermon and  DeWanda Wise

Jurassic World: Dominion director Colin knew he wanted the stars from Jurassic Park (pictured left) to return for the 2022 film (pictured right) from the start of the franchise

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette critic, Joshua Axelrod wrote that the film was  ‘obviously hokey as hell in many aspects, but Dern, Goldblum and Neill are worth the price admission alone.’ 

Jurassic World: Dominion director Colin Trevorrow made it known that he a had a clear intention with asking the Jurassic Park actors to return for the final film. 

‘This is the movie that I’ve been waiting to make from the beginning,’ he said at the premiere, as per Comicbook.com.

He continued: ‘And I think people may be underestimating the size and importance of Laura Dern and Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum’s characters in this movie.’

He hoped to adjust fans’ expectations going into the film, saying it requires the ‘ability to take these beloved characters from almost 30 years now, and understand how they interact with each other in the context of a world that we’ve really never seen before, and have not been able to witness until now.’ 

Additionally, there are some alums who didn’t return like the movie’s child stars, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello, which may surprise some fans.

Even though it may seem like just yesterday when the trio graced the screen together in the Jurassic Park trilogy, they’ve gone on to work on more projects and accomplish plenty. Here’s everything you need to know about where these stars ended up. 

Lured in by a lunch! Sam Neill wasn’t ‘automatically in’ for Jurassic World and had to be ‘persuaded’ to return by director Colin Trevorrow over a meal

Sam starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park when he was 46 years old

Sam returned for Jurassic World: Dominion at 74 years old

Sam Neill starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park when he was 46 years old (pictured left) and returned for Jurassic World: Dominion at 74 years old (pictured right)

Sam, 74, starred as Dr. Alan Grant in the original 1993 Jurassic Park and 2001 Jurassic Park III. His character is a paleontologist who was invited by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to bring his dream of creating a dinosaur park to life. 

However, as expected, things go south quickly after a T-Rex escapes from its paddock and he has to save himself and a gaggle of children from the carnivorous creature. 

Alan served as the main protagonist for the original 1993 Jurassic Park and upon reflecting on the film, was enthralled by its unexpected success. 

‘There’s something about that first Jurassic, it popped it because it broke new ground and people went into the cinema and went, “Oh my God, I can’t believe what I’m seeing,”” he told Gizmodo.  

‘It was just something that sort of hit a chord at the time and it’s become curiously ageless. I’m not sure if I can completely explain why that is.’

He wasn’t part of the second installment, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but returned for Jurassic Park III. In the 2001 film, he is much less passionate about his career as a paleontologist after his traumatic experience in the original Jurassic Park.

At one of his lectures, he runs into a couple, played by William H Macy and Téa Leoni, who swindles him into returning to an island infested with genetically-manufactured dinosaurs and is forced to rescue them and their lost son. 

Jurassic III was condemned by most critics and fans. Even his co-stars William and Téa have slammed the film. However, Sam has come to the film’s defense. 

‘I enjoyed making it. Joe Johnston was wonderful to work with. Alessandro [Nivola], who plays my number two in the film, he and I got on real well,’ he told Den of Geek.  

‘Bill Macy and Téa Leoni didn’t seem that happy making it, but I had a really good time making it and I actually think it’s a very undervalued film and really worth having a look at again.’

‘I know [Jurassic Park III] has its critics, but I actually think it’s a much better film than a lot of people say. I think it’s a really good action film.’

'It popped!' The actor who played Alan Grant said the 1993 film 'broke new ground' at the time

‘It popped!’ The actor who played Alan Grant said the 1993 film ‘broke new ground’ at the time

Sam returned for Jurassic Park III in 2001

He appeared in the film with Tea and William who were les than thrilled to be in the film

Sam returned for Jurassic Park III (pictured left) with William and Tea (pictured right) and while they weren’t thrilled with the film, the Alan actor called the film ‘a really good action film’

Sam wasn't 'automatically in' for Jurassic World: Dominion and had to be persuaded to return

Sam wasn’t ‘automatically in’ for Jurassic World: Dominion and had to be persuaded to return

His biggest hit since Jurassic Park has been the 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople where he plays a reclusive country folk who is forced to on the run with his rebellious nephew Ricky

His biggest hit since Jurassic Park has been the 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople where he plays a reclusive country folk who is forced to on the run with his rebellious nephew Ricky

Since Sam had so much respect for the franchise, it may seem like it would’ve been a no-brainer for him to return for the grand finale – Jurassic World: Dominion.

However, when speaking with Gizmodo, the Jurassic Park star revealed he wasn’t ‘automatically in.’ 

‘I was getting rumors from my agent that Universal was talking about this, and they wanted me and Jeff and Laura to be in it, but I didn’t really want to be in something where I’d just be playing a cameo. That was not really interesting to me,’ he explained to the outlet. 

‘[Colin] took me out to lunch. We had a long lunch, quite a lot of paella and a bottle or two and yeah, and I was well persuaded by the end of that.’ 

Sam claimed he appreciated the writer-director’s ‘great and abiding affection for those characters and how he wanted them to be completely integrated into the Jurassic World.’

He added: ‘And so that persuaded me. And also the idea of hanging out with Jeff and Laura again which, of course, is an attractive one in itself.’

Sam didn’t find stepping back into Alan’s shoes over over 20 years later to be too challenging. 

‘I don’t think he’s changed at all,’ he told the outlet. ‘He’s just older and grumpier now. But I don’t think people do change very much over the years, and I’m just more familiar with him now than I was. And I enjoyed being back in his company.’

‘You don’t get many chances to play one character over 30 years. That’s pretty strange, isn’t it? But I think it’s true for all three of those legacy characters, [myself], Laura, and Jeff… Things haven’t changed that much. They’re just older and not much wiser.’

The Jurassic Park franchise served as a launching point for Sam’s career. He became a sensation at the New Zealand box office starring in films like Little Fish (2006), Sweet Country (2017) and Rams (2020).

His biggest hit since Jurassic Park has been the 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople where he plays a reclusive country folk who is forced to on the run with his rebellious nephew Ricky.

He is also a Marvel star as he was cast as the fake Odin in the 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok and will return for Thor: Love and Thunder. 

In addition to Jurassic World: Dominion, he has more current projects in the works including The Portable Door, Assassin Club and The Twelve. 

Laura Dern wanted Ellie to be an ‘evolved scientist’ and ‘feminist female action hero’ in order for her to return

Laura starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park when she was just 23 years old

Laura reappeared in Jurassic World: Dominion at 55 years old

Laura Dern starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park when she was just 23 years old (pictured left), noting the extreme age difference between her and Sam, and returned for Jurassic World: Dominion at age 55 (pictured right)

In the Jurassic Park trilogy, Laura, 55, played Ellie Sattler, a paleontologist with a focus in botany who worked alongside and also dated Sam’s character Alan. 

Once she and Sam accepted John Hammond’s offer to help with his dinosaur park in exchange for him funding their dig site for three years, she was enthralled by the island – especially its fauna. However, she quickly became leery about the deadly plants and creatures around them. 

She became fascinated with the triceratops which ultimately put her out of harm’s way during the T-rex attack. This, fortunately, put her in the position to rescue Alan and the kids. 

Like Sam, Laura wasn’t involved in the second film but returned for Jurassic Park III. In the third installment, Ellie has moved on from Alan. She went on to marry a man named Mark Degler and they had two kids. While her character was at peace with the outcome, it seems Laura wanted more for her character.

The actress told The A.V. Club that she ‘never imagined returning’ to the franchise. So when she was asked to come back for Jurassic World: Dominion, she had some conditions for her character.

‘If my character was going to come back these many years later especially, we really all took it seriously to think about the evolution of who she would be today.’

She also explained to Vanity Fair that she didn’t want to be a ‘sexy-scientist trop’ but rather an ‘evolved scientist’ and ‘true to who she was, which is being fearless yet vulnerable.’

‘Her activism and feminism as a scientist was really important to me. I spoke with Steven and Colin, and we all wanted her to return with a new sense of self and advanced in her life and her work,’ she told the outlet. 

‘She’s not some sexy-scientist trope. I didn’t wear makeup in this movie. She’s real. She’s divorced but loving life independent. She’s raised kids. And she’s at the height of her career, and she’s using it as service to the world.’ 

She added, ‘She’s really a modern, feminist female action hero, and that’s a beautiful message.’

The actress has also opened up about the tremendous 20+-year age gap between her and Sam when they played love interests in Jurassic Park. 

Laura attended the Jurassic Park premiere with Jeff in 1993

Reunited! Laura, pictured at the Jurassic World: Dominion premiere, called working with Jeff and Sam on the 2022 film: 'nostalgic' and 'so much fun'

Reunited! Laura, pictured at the Jurassic World: Dominion premiere (pictured right), called working with Jeff and Sam on the 2022 film: ‘nostalgic’ and ‘so much fun’ after they filmed Jurassic Park in 1993 (pictured left)

In the Jurassic Park trilogy, Laura played Ellie Sattler, a paleontologist with a focus in botany

In the Jurassic Park trilogy, Laura played Ellie Sattler, a paleontologist with a focus in botany

Laura starred in Inland Empire in 2006

Laura appeared in The Last Jedi in 2017

After Jurassic Park, she starred in films like Inland Empire in 2006 (pictured left) and her career then experienced a resurgence in 2017 with films like The Last Jedi (pictured right)

Laura said that 'If my character was going to come back these many years later' that the Jurassic World: Dominion team would 'take it seriously to think about the evolution of who she would be today.'

Laura said that ‘If my character was going to come back these many years later’ that the Jurassic World: Dominion team would ‘take it seriously to think about the evolution of who she would be today.’

Laura starred in Marriage Story in 2019

The actress also played the march matriarch in the 2019 version of Little women

Her career boom continued in 2019, as she appeared in 2019 Oscar-nominated films Marriage Story (pictured left) and Little Women (pictured right)

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Laura said, ‘It felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill. And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, “Wow! We’re not the same age?”‘ 

Sam also expressed the same sentiment about their vast age difference.   

‘I am 20 years older than Laura! Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady,’ he admitted, saying that he later realized how inappropriate it was. 

Fortunately, Colin was on board with fleshing Ellie out and even let her take the lead this film.  

‘I think that the roles they play in this film are a sign of great respect from me, and specifically to Laura Dern, because Laura was never the engine of one of the stories,’ he told Vanity Fair. 

‘Sam Neill had Jurassic Park III, where he was the engine, and Jeff Goldblum had ‘The Lost World.’ I wanted this to be Ellie Sattler’s story.’ 

The actress described returning to film Jurassic World: Dominion as ‘so much fun and bliss’ – especially reuniting with her former co-stars. 

‘It’s so nostalgic to be back together with my buddies,’ she told the outlet, adding, ‘I had the time of my life making the original and the three of us became a family. It was so much fun and bliss to work with Sam and Jeff again.’

Laura was already a known name before Jurassic Park thanks to her work in the films Mask (1985) and Blue Velvet (1986) but Jurassic Park put her on a blockbuster level. 

Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, she continued to show off her acting chops in films like Inland Empire (2006) and Wild (2014).

Her career then experienced a resurgence in 2017. She was already on the adult animated comedy F is for Family but that year she joined the TV hit Big Little Lies and well as the Twin Peaks revival.

She appeared in The Last Jedi that year. Two years later, she appeared in 2019 Oscar-nominated films Marriage Story and Little Women. 

Currently, she’s filming for a television series titled Mr. and Mrs. American Pie as well as for two movies titled The Son and Lonely Planet.

Jeff Goldblum compared returning for Jurassic World to a ‘high school reunion’ but said it was ‘great’ to work with Sam and Laura again

Jeff starred as Ian Malcolm in the 1993 film Jurassic Park at age 41

Jeff returned for the 2022 film Jurassic World: Dominion film at age 69

Jeff Goldblum starred as Ian Malcolm in the 1993 film Jurassic Park at age 41 (pictured left) and returned for the 2022 film Jurassic World: Dominion film at age 69 (pictured right)

Jeff played Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park saga. His character was hired by John Hammond as a financial consultant to give an evaluation of his dinosaur park. 

The wisecracking flirt initially expresses skepticism about some of the park’s safety measures, and his instincts turn out to be spot on as he finds himself in the clutches of a dinosaur’s mouth.

Fortunately, he lives to survive the T-rex attack and become of the star of the next film, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. 

At the start of the 1997 film, Malcolm is in a low place as John Hammond has gone to great lengths to make sure Malcolm can’t tell the true story of what happened to him at Jurassic Park.

John Hammond summons him for another quest – this time to another dinosaur-filled island in order to repair his reputation. Like the last dinosaur encounter, this doesn’t go well and Malcom, his love interest Sarah (Julianne Hough) and daughter Kelly (Vanessa Chester), who snuck onto the island with him, find themselves having to escape another dino attack.

Malcolm wasn’t asked back for Jurassic Park III but was invited for Jurassic World: Dominion. 

Upon returning, the actor had nothing but positive things to say about reuniting with his co-stars, Sam and Laura.

While he told Comicbook.com that he thought it felt like a ‘high school reunion’ and that wouldn’t have been able to live up to the original experience ‘because we had such an unforgettable, life-changing time,’ he said it was ‘great.’

Jeff attended the Jurassic Park premiere in 1993

Jeff walked the red carpet again for Jurassic World: Dominion in 2022

Even though he thought Jurassic World: Dominion (pictured right) wouldn’t have been able to live up to the original experience (pictured left) ‘because we had such an unforgettable, life-changing time,’ he said it was ‘great’

Jeff played Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park saga at 41 years old

Jeff played Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park saga at 41 years old

Jeff in the 1996 film Independence Day

Jeff reappeared for the 2016 sequel Independence Day: Resurgence

In between filming Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he filmed Independence Day in 1996 (pictured left) which had enough of a following to inspire the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence in 2019 (pictured right)

Jeff compared returning to Jurassic World to a high school reunion and said it was 'great'

Jeff compared returning to Jurassic World to a high school reunion and said it was ‘great’

When speaking with Total Film he continued to rave about the reunion, stating, ‘I admire them, adore them, respect them.’ 

‘And then we hit it off on set over this movie 30 years ago, and people seemed to like it, and we had a great experience…We haven’t been on screen together since then, so seeing them and working with them was a wonderful, rich experience.’ 

‘And then given this assignment, and trying to put our shoulders to the wheel, to the Jurassic wheel, was fabulous.’

Like his co-stars, Jurassic Park was his big break. In between filming Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he filmed Independence Day (1996) which had enough of a following to inspire the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). 

In the early 2000s, he booked several TV shows including the lead in the 2007 TV series Raines and Zack Nichols in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. 

He quickly became revered as a character actor, becoming a regular in Wes Anderson’s films including The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Isle of Dogs (2018); playing a variety of characters in the TV series Portlandia and landing roles like Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, Balmur in Dark Dice and Tunnel in Search Party.

On top of Jurassic World: Dominion, his current projects include Asteroid City, The Liar and The Price of Admission. 

Ariana Richards went from child star to professional painter but will ‘always be interested in acting’

Ariana starred in the original Jurassic Park film when she was just 14 years old

Ariana, now 42, stopped by the Jurassic World: Dominion premiere in a fierce blazer

Glow up! Ariana Richards starred in the original Jurassic Park film when she was just 14 years old (pictured left) and stopped by the Jurassic World: Dominion premiere at 42 wearing a fierce blazer (pictured right)

Ariana Richards, now 42, played Lex Murphy in the 1993 hit film from director Steven Spielberg. Lex was the grandchild of John Hammond who is so savvy with a computer that she knows how to run the park’s controls, thus helping the group survive when the T-rex was let loose. 

Before Jurassic Park she had starred on several TV shows like Golden Girls, My Sister Sam, Island Son, Walter & Emily and Capitol Critters.

She also made a brief cameo in the film’s sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. 

After that Richards was seen in the TV movie The Princess Stallion (1997) and Broken Silence (1998).

In 2013 she starred in her last project, the TV movie Battledogs with Dennis Haysbert.

She has been in about 30 projects, but she acknowledges that Jurassic Park was probably the biggest hit she was in.

‘Well, I think that it was one of those films that I worked on and enjoyed every second of filming, and afterwards, when it got so big… well, that was a surprise,’ she said in an interview with Den of Geek in 2011. 

‘I’ve been in about 30 films, but the role of Lex is definitely a standout, and always will be. And I think that everybody sees it that way – the amount of fan mail that I got after the film was absolutely flooring.’

Unexpected success! Ariana was 'surprised' with how 'big' Jurassic Park got after it was released in 1993

Unexpected success! Ariana was ‘surprised’ with how ‘big’ Jurassic Park got after it was released in 1993 

Ariana appeared at The Lost World: Jurassic Park premiere in 1997 after she had a brief cameo in the film

Ariana attended the Jurassic World 2 premiere in 20128 even though she wasn't in the film

Ariana appeared at The Lost World: Jurassic Park premiere in 1997 after she had a brief cameo in the film (pictured left) and attended the Jurassic World 2 premiere in 20128 even though she wasn’t in the film

From child star to painter! Ariana has stopped acting and transitioned to becoming a member of he Portrait Society of America and California Art Club.

From child star to painter! Ariana has stopped acting and transitioned to becoming a member of he Portrait Society of America and California Art Club.

The reason why she didn’t appear in Jurassic World: Dominion is because she had given up acting years back. She now works as a painter.

On her Instagram page she shares she is a ‘painter, actress, mother…and I happen to be a vegetarian.’ 

Surprisingly enough, Jurassic park is what inspired her to transition into becoming a painter.

‘I was painting early on, and now I’m a professional portrait artist. But during the filming of Jurassic Park, I was inspired to create a watercolor that I did shortly thereafter, titled Raptor Vision,’ she told the outlet. 

‘For me it’s more difficult to put something as multi-faceted as the experience of playing Lex into words, and so I decided to paint a watercolor of the ‘jello’ scene.’

Along the way she educated herself. In 2001 she graduated from Skidmore College where she picked up a degree in Fine Art and Drama. She then took classes at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

She is now an award-winning artist with her paintings selling for thousands of dollars. She also is a member of the Portrait Society of America and California Art Club. 

Even though she mostly paints now, she will always consider herself to as an actress as well, explaining that ‘being interested in acting never changes. Acting is in your blood, and of course I’ll always be interested in it.’

The artist also has a family now. She wed Mark Aaron Bolton in Oregon in January 2013. The couple have a daughter who was born in 2015. 

Joseph Mazzello kept acting after Jurassic Park and wants to continue to for his ‘entire life’

Joseph showed up in a suit and bowtie to the 1994 People's Choice award just after the release of Jurassic Park

He attended the Oscars in 2019 wearing another classy suit and bowtie

Still dapper! Joseph Mazzello showed up in a suit and bowtie to the 1994 People’s Choice award just after the release of Jurassic Park (pictured left) and rocked a nearly-identical look for the 2019 Oscars (pictured right)

Joseph, 38, played John Hammond’s grandson and Lex’s younger brother, Tim, in Jurassic Park. As a dinosaur enthusiast, the young boy is quite excited to visit Jurassic Park but that quickly changes after the T-rex is set on the loose.

Jurassic Park wasn’t Joseph’s first film as he started acting at the early age of five in projects like Radio Flyer and Jersey Girl. However, it was definitely his biggest yet.

The now 38-year-old told Square Mile about the first time he got recognized. 

‘After Jurassic Park I have a memory of being at a restaurant getting stared at by literally everyone. Then the waiter asked for an autograph and suddenly everyone in the restaurant basically formed a line,’ he told the outlet.

He also found plenty of success after Jurassic Park as an adult actor. He went on to book roles in The Social Network (2010) and Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

Joseph played John Hammond's grandson and Lex's younger brother, Tim, in the 1993 film Jurassic Park

Joseph played John Hammond’s grandson and Lex’s younger brother, Tim, in the 1993 film Jurassic Park

His role in Jurassic Park got him plenty of recognition and recalled getting 'stared at by everyone' when he'd go out to restaurants

His role in Jurassic Park got him plenty of recognition and recalled getting ‘stared at by everyone’ when he’d go out to restaurants

Joseph also found success after Jurassic Park acting as an adult as pictured at the Bohemian Rhapsody premiere in 2018

Joseph also found success after Jurassic Park acting as an adult as pictured at the Bohemian Rhapsody premiere in 2018

The actor called filming the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody 'one of the greatest pleasures of my life'

The actor called filming the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody ‘one of the greatest pleasures of my life’

He called filming the Freddie Mercury biopic ‘one of the greatest pleasures of my life.’

He also raved about his costars Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy. 

‘Honestly, the four of us are like brothers. I’ve known Rami Malek for 11 years, back when we did HBO’s The Pacific together,’ he told the outlet. 

‘And I literally went on vacation with Gwil and Ben after we finished shooting. We are that close. And playing music together on set was so much fun and a completely unique experience as an actor for me.’ 

Joseph continues to act and plans on doing it for as long as he can. 

‘I want to act and direct throughout my entire life. I want to create,’ he shared. ‘I’d love to run a company where I have multiple projects going at the same time and have a hand in all of them. That’s the dream.’ 



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