With Jurassic World now in theaters, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Nick Robinson. In it, he talks about when he first knew the movie was going to be good, working with director Colin Trevorrow, being part of such a big movie, the casting process, what he “borrowed” from set, deleted scenes, J. Blakeson’s The 5th Wave with Chloe Moretz, butter beer, and a lot more.
If you didn’t know, executive producer Steven Spielberg personally oversaw the story development, as Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly fine-tuned the existing screenplay penned by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), which for the first time takes place within a functioning Jurassic Park. The film also stars Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, and Judy Greer. For more on the film, read Perri’s review.
Collider: I’ll start by saying congratulations on the movie. I thought it was great.
NICK ROBINSON: Thank you.
And I thought it was really hard to make this movie appeal to everyone.
ROBINSON: Expectations are very high.
Very high, and I think that it did a fantastic job. When did you know, ‘Shit, this thing really came together, this worked.’?
ROBINSON: Well, I always had a good feeling on set but it’s one of those things where you never know while you’re filming something how it’s gonna turn out or what it’s gonna be, but between Colin [Trevorrow] and Chris [Pratt] and Bryce [Dallas Howard], Frank Marshall one of our producers, I had very high hopes. I don’t know if there was an exact moment where I thought like, ‘Wow, we really have a movie here,’ but from the get-go when you walked onto set and seeing the scope of this thing, you knew it was going to be something big and special.
You do not have a long track record of big movies.
ROBINSON: I don’t, this was my first one, actually.
Exactly. So what was it like finding out? When you were first told, ‘Hey, you’re in the running for this role’ or, ‘They wanna meet you for this role’ were you like, ‘Get the f out of here’?
ROBINSON: I was blown away, yeah. I was a little bit shocked that anyone on that level would be interested, but I tried to approach it like I would any other film even though it’s difficult, something of this size. I think it was about maybe 4 months before we set foot on set that I had any idea that somebody was interested, and Colin and I sat down with Ty [Simpkins] in the audition room and kind of went over everything.
Did you get a call, was it an email, a text message, finding out that you landed the role?
ROBINSON: It was a call. I was driving home and got a call from all of my agents who were on the line together and you know it’s gonna be really good news or really bad news when that happens, and it turned out to be really good news and I had to wait the whole ride home before I could tell anyone, and even then I could only tell my immediate family.
Right, that’s funny. How long before it got officially announced?
ROBINSON: I believe it was officially announced not too long after that, so I didn’t have to wait too long, it was a couple of weeks maybe.
That’s not bad. When you think about making the movie, I’m imagining there’s a day or two that are really memorable moments, or was there a day or two that you always think back on like, ‘Man, that was a great day’ or, ‘That’s what I take away from filming this movie’?
ROBINSON: Honestly, every day almost felt like that just because of the size of it. I mean, every time you would walk on there would be a new set, or a new piece of equipment, or a new person who would come on set. Moments that stand out to me were the first day walking onto Main Street, where they had built an entire Jurassic World, they had built an entire functioning theme park and that was the moment that I was like, ‘Holy fucking shit!’
What did you hypothetically borrow from set? Because I know you didn’t actually take anything home, you borrowed it of course.
ROBINSON: Anything that I borrowed from set… Colin was kind enough to give me a Jurassic World Zippo lighter, I collected them as a kid and I had mentioned that to him and of course Props had everything under the sun and they had a Jurassic World Zippo. And I also got various hats and t-shirts, some stuffed animals, wristbands that the kids carry in the park; so a lot of stuff.
Did you get to meet [Steven] Spielberg at all?
ROBINSON: I got to meet Spielberg after we finished shooting and we came to Universal to do some publicity shots and he was there. I think I was a total dork.
[Laughs] I would expect nothing else, by the way.
ROBINSON: Yeah. It was great to finally meet him, the unseen force behind all of this.
From when you got the script to what people are seeing on screen, how much changed along the way?
ROBINSON: The script did pretty much [stay] true to its original. I know Colin worked very closely with Steven to create something that they were both excited about and that would still pay tribute to the original while being its own thing. But the script stayed pretty true to itself throughout the whole process, I didn’t even get to read the entire script all the way through until a while later.
That’s funny. Do you remember any deleted scenes that you did that didn’t make the final cut?
ROBINSON: There were a few deleted scenes, most of the stuff with Ty and I made it in, there were some smaller moments that didn’t. The big one that I remember was one where Chris and Bryce basically have to camouflage themselves by covering themselves in dirt and dino feces; that one did not make it in. DVD extras.
Did you ever see a print of it where you saw everything or do you just remember that from filming?
ROBINSON: I remember that from filming, I was there that day and I saw them shoot the scene.
I’m sure both of them are like, ‘We did all that and it’s not in the movie?’
ROBINSON: I know, right? Either that or like, ‘Thank God’.
If I’m not mistaken you also have a few things that you’ve shot, I believe The 5th Wave. What was it like making that, what can you tease people about it?
ROBINSON: Well, it was a great experience. I haven’t seen the film yet, obviously, but it’s based on a book series by Rick Yancey and I know that there’s a lot of really die-hard fans of the series out there so I was excited to be a part of that, and it’s directed by J. Blakeson who did The Disappearance of Alice Creed, which is a great movie.
By the way, that’s the entire reason I’m looking forward to this movie.
Because of his talent.
ROBINSON: He is incredibly talented, he’s such a smart guy, and I’m very excited to see what he ultimately does with it. I think that’s a pretty good endorsement right there, just J Blakeson if you’ve seen his previous work. But yeah, there a lot of great people, we have [Liev] Schreiber, Maika Monroe, Chloe Moretz.
[Sarcastically] Some of these people are OK.
ROBINSON: [Sarcastically] Yeah.
A little bit. With a movie like Jurassic World, it can obviously change where you go in your career because so many casting directors will see it, so many filmmakers will see it. What has it been like maybe the last few months or coming up, meeting with people, in terms of projects you’re looking at? I would imagine you’re being offered things or maybe reading better quality scripts.
ROBINSON: Yeah, the opportunities that a film of this size provides are overwhelming at times, but I would like to just meet as many people as possible and just kind of get a feel for everyone because I’d like to go back to making some smaller stuff, a little more intimate.
What was the movie you remember as a kid that made you fall in love with movies? Is it one, or was it a TV show?
ROBINSON: There were a few, I’ve got a few that come to mind right now. Indiana Jones’ Raiders was amazing, Davy Crockett which does not actually hold up on second viewing, it’s incredibly racist but I grew up watching it and I loved it.
But when you were a kid…
ROBINSON: That went right over my head. It was just Fess Parker grinning down bears. Also within that vein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I really liked that one, and then there were a bunch of other kind of weird films, one of my favorites was Zulu and like The Longest Day.
That is not the answer I was expecting.
ROBINSON: No. But definitely Raiders is up there as far as films that made me wanna get into this.
Being in Jurassic World, does that mean you have an all-access Universal Studios pass for life?
ROBINSON: I wish.
[Laughs] You really need to work on that.
ROBINSON: I wish, I’ll talk with some people.
Right, because I heard they’re opening a new Harry Potter exhibit here.
ROBINSON: Yeah, they are.
Exactly, and I’ve been to the one in Orlando and it’s kind of good.
ROBINSON: I have not been to the one in Orlando but I’ve only heard good things, I was actually talking to somebody about it.
Yeah, they serve butter beer there, and it’s basically pure sugar and it’s amazing.
ROBINSON: You know, from the description of the books I’ve always wanted to try butter beer, so I hope it holds up.
It does, when you go to the one here in Hollywood when it opens next year, make sure you get the frozen kind.
ROBINSON: A frozen butter beer?
Yeah, they have the frozen and the not frozen, and the frozen is…
ROBINSON: Hands down?
Dude, it destroys the other one.
ROBINSON: Alright, I’ll do frozen.
Working with Colin, Frank Marshall, all these people; did you hear any advice on set or did you hear people talk about stuff that you sort of gleaned and said, ‘Wow, that’s actually really good. I need to incorporate that’?
ROBINSON: I tried to just observe as much as I could and see how those guys worked, but between Colin who has the vision and Chris who’s the most lighthearted, fun guy, it was a really fun dynamic. It was mostly just through observation that I watched those guys and how they worked.
My last thing for you. Being on a movie of this scale, It’s just so massive, what was the big surprise as someone who hasn’t worked in this large arena before that maybe really surprised you about the process?
ROBINSON: I think that despite all the hype and how big it is and how much money is involved, what surprised me was kind of the intimate nature that Colin was able to create on set which was very much one-on-one and performance-based and just talking throughout the scene, which was really helpful.
I’ll leave it there and say congratulations.
ROBINSON: Thank you.