It’s as if Oprah burst through the doors of Universal Studios and started screaming, “YOU get a submarine, and YOU get a submarine, and YOU get a submarine!!!” Actor Kevin Layne recently revealed that the upcoming Jurassic World sequel, much like The Fate of the Furious, is going to have an “epic” submarine sequence. And I’m willing to bet it features at least one dinosaur.
J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World 2 has kicked off production and has been adding cast members left and right for the past few weeks. We know Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt (and probably B.D. Wong) are reprising their roles from the first one, and a few new faces like Toby Jones, Geraldine Chaplin, and James Cromwell are joining up, but so far the exact plot is a mystery. Bayona shared the first image from the film today, and it definitely provides more questions than answers.
Many directors have actors they love to work with over and over — Quentin Tarantino often casts Samuel L. Jackson in his movies, Paul Thomas Anderson liked Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly. J.A. Bayona has worked with Geraldine Chaplin in The Orphanage, The Impossible, and last year’s A Monster Calls, and now he is about to introduce her to his scaly friends in Jurassic World 2.
Those dinosaurs are gonna need a whole lot of lotion. Ted Levine, the actor best known for playing iconic creeper Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, has joined the cast of Jurassic World 2, undoubtedly inspiring all sorts of ill-advised fan-fic ideas for the Tumblr community. With Levine on board, the cast is reportedly finalized for the sequel, which is set to begin production this spring with director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) at the helm.
Most people who know of J.A. Bayona know him from The Orphanage, which was the first film of his to get really big in the U.S. It probably helped that it was a horror film, and that it was produced by Guillermo del Toro, but Bayona is still relatively unknown. That’s all going to change as soon as Jurassic World 2 hits theaters, and he knows it. Colin Trevorrow took on the first Jurassic World after his indie Safety Not Guaranteed made a big splash, and now he’ll be in charge of Star Wars: Episode IX. Bayona’s A Monster Calls is about to open in American theaters within the next few weeks, and he’s excited about his blooming prospects, saying that he’s ready to take on a big blockbuster.
While not quite an award season darling, one of the more anticipated movies of the next two months is Juan Antonio Bayona’s adaptation of A Monster Calls, a movie about a young boy who dives into a fantasy world to deal with the pain of losing his mother. Sitting as a cross between The Iron Giant and Calvin and Hobbes, A Monster Calls is a film about childhood loss; those who saw the film on the festival circuit have already described it as an earnest tearjerker, including our own Erin Whitney at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down was Netflix’s most luxuriously expensive show to date, but didn’t make as many waves during its premiere as it was probably meant to, the buzz trickling away pretty quickly after Part 1 was released earlier this fall. But it did rocket its star, Justice Smith, into the spotlight, as he’s now been cast in J. A. Bayona’s Jurassic World sequel.
One of the peculiarities of the modern studio system is that we often know the date a movie will be released long before we know the date when a movie will actually go into production. For example, we’ve known since last year that Jurassic World 2 would be released in June of 2018, but here it is, the end of 2016, and we’re just now learning the timeline to actually make the darn thing. Production schedules, like box office gross, sometimes have a logic all their own.
We’ve gotten tons of information about the vague feel of J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World 2 — it’ll deal, metaphorically, with the modern-day treatment of animals — but we haven’t heard much about the actual plot. Today, though, it sounds like Universal is finally getting the ball rolling with news of an open casting call for a child actor. Jurassic World attempted to update the franchise for modern audiences, but at least one tradition has stayed the same: it’s not a Jurassic Park movie without kids running form dinosaurs.
Earlier this year, our own Britt Hayes wrote a brief history of the times when modern filmmakers compared their movies to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It was a pretty revealing trend; as movie studios scrambled to give audiences the dark and gritty franchises they assumed audiences wanted, more and more filmmakers used Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises as a kind of fanboy secret handshake.