Ian Malcolm was everyone’s favorite character in Jurassic Park, thanks to Jeff Goldblum’s performance (and having the best lines). Malcolm became the star of the sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and makes his first appearance in the franchise in 21 years in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He’s still telling the authorities to stop messing with dinosaurs, but as long as there’s big box office they won’t listen.
Jurassic Park introduced Malcolm as a proponent of chaos theory, a trendy new science in 1993. If anything, over the course of two dinosaur catastrophes and presumably witnessing a third in Jurassic World (it’s entirely possible Jurassic Park III was kept a private affair), Malcolm has realized he needs to put his position into layman’s terms.
“Well, the early chaos stuff was also against the park, the exploitation of animals and the exploitation of glorious science,” Goldblum told Bloody-Disgusting in a phone interview.
“Maybe I was ambiguous with a remark or two when first you saw me but now I’m certainly clear when I say science and scientists are to be honored and facts, human curiosity and intellectual curiosity and investigation, that’s all to the good. It’s stupid, grotesque, political, petty agendas and nationalism and militarism and exploitation and profit-making that needs to get managed.”
Malcolm was still pretty accessible in Jurassic Park when he said, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” But four movies later they’re still not asking the latter.
“We all need to wise up in the quickest and most urgent way because all these powers are now in our hands,” Goldblum continued.
“Genetically we can tinker with things. I wish we would cure some diseases with what we can do before we make amusement parks. Certainly, with the power to destroy ourselves, we’ve got to of course, as in the real world, get real smart real fast and learn how to resolve our conflicts without any violence, etc. Early on, chaos theory, that was just a sign of mathematical blueprint way of analyzing, assessing things that told me boy, a park like this, no matter my views on anything else… has all sorts of unpredictables and it won’t go in the way that you think it will. That’s what I was saying the first time.”
In a pivotal moment, Malcolm quotes the late John Hammond in his caution. When he says, “Welcome to Jurassic World,” it’s not as cheerful as Hammond’s unveiling of his creation.
“Well, it was a responsibility, a little callback and reprise, a quotation with some new resonance and dark irony I suppose,” Goldblum said. “I remember distinctly, Ian Malcolm does, the interesting, intriguing John Hammond, and well meaning John Hammond. The day that he said, ‘Welcome to Jurassic Park’ as we were first watching these creatures with unbelieving eyes, the three of us, Sam [Neill], Laura [Dern] and me. Now 25 years later, I’m always a little prescient about what’s going to happen in a few days, and I say if these things get out, now that we’ve done more, welcome to Jurassic World. It’s a new and more challenging era. Yes, I’m thinking of all that. Of course, as an actor, to in any way quote and do something with the shoes of the great Richard Attenborough.. I adore him to no end. What a sterling and spectacular filmmaker and actor he was. Boy, oh boy, oh boy.”
Not returning for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is Malcolm’s daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester) introduced in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. For the maligned sequel’s defenders (this author included), Goldblum assures fans that their relationship remains copacetic since their adventure.
“Mm, I loved our relationship and I love that actor and that character,” Goldblum said. “I imagine that in the last couple of decades, we’ve remained very close. I’ve done everything I could to support her continued empowerment and blossoming and intellectual freedom, etc. I bet we’re very close.”
Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona confirmed that there was never any talk of including Malcolm’s daughter, Kelly. “We never thought about that,” Bayona said. “It was not part of the conversation.”
Bayona confirmed that for his scenes testifying before Congress, Goldblum shot in a single day. However, he arrived early to make the scenes the best they could be.
“We had one day with Jeff Goldblum,” Bayona said. “He actually came three or four days before shooting the scene so we were able to work on set as we were doing all the scenes, to be working with Jeff going through the lines and trying to make the best of the performance that he has in the movie, the scene that he has in the movie. It’s not a major role but I think it’s very significant, meaningful role for the story. I think this being the second chapter in the trilogy, the moment that we see the Jurassic universe in the most uncertain way possible, it’s a Jurassic universe where we cross the red lines. I think that Ian Malcolm has always been this voice of conscience, a reminder. We all thought it was a good idea to bring him back in order to let us know what is the right thing to do.”
The film sets up a third sequel. Could Malcolm be drawn back into the field for a larger role in Jurassic World 3/Jurassic Park 6?
“I don’t know what the plan is,” Goldblum said. “I think they’re cooking up the plan. Nobody’s shared with me the plan but Colin Trevorrow is a wonderful guy and I talked to him on this movie, my little part. Really, the best thing we could do, he’s a wonderful writer, wonderful director. He and Emily Carmichael are writing this script that will be a movie in your local theater in summer of 2021 they say. Who knows? However humbly I can serve the story, if at all, I’ll be happy to do so.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in the U.S. June 22.