EXCLUSIVE: Jurassic World: Dominion started preproduction more than 18 months ago when the world was a very different place.
The $ 165 million universal blockbuster wrapped up this morning at Pinewood Studios, UK, after an unprecedented shoot that required 40,000 COVID tests, millions of dollars in logs, and months of isolation of cast and key crew in a bubble.
“There are a lot of emotions,” director Colin Trevorrow told me last night on the way to the finale of the film, with “Jurassic Legacy actors Sam Neil, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard” and newcomers to the movie like Mamoudou Athie and DeWanda Wise … and of course some dinosaurs. “
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“I’m not sure I can put it into words,” Trevorrow continues. “It was remarkable. Our crew and cast were so resilient. All producers worked around the clock to make the most of it. It was inspiring. “
This energy that can be made came from many and started at the top. Donna Langley, President of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, told us, “As we continue to face the challenges our industry faces during a global pandemic, we were able to safely complete nearly 100 days of shooting thanks to this production working together, and we are proud of that, what this team could do. “
Jurassic World: Dominion
As we announced in the summer, Dominion was the first major studio film to go back into production after the spring pandemic cut everything and turned the entire industry upside down.
Universal hired a private medical facility called Your Doctor to manage the medical requirements of all production. Tests were the backbone of security measures. The deadline can show that more than 40,000 COVID-19 tests have been done, with 0.25% positive. That’s around 100 positive results. Some of these were false positives, others were returned prior to being hired by Pinewood.
The studio set up a police “green zone” for the cast and crew, and all workers were temperature checked every day. Two walk-in temperature test stations with a capacity of 1,000 crew members over two hours were built at each end of Pinewood Studios, and each test station consisted of doctors, nurses and isolation cubicles.
Pinewood had more than 1,800 COVID-related signs, 150 hand sanitizer stations and 60 additional sinks. The cleaning was doubled and in the evenings all common areas and facilities were antiviral fogged.
Overall, the studio spent between $ 6 million and $ 8 million on logs alone.
Langley explains, “We designed our return to production policy with safety first and everyone associated with Jurassic World: Dominion stepped up and held itself and its surroundings accountable, and the results have been amazing. Congratulations to our filmmakers and actors for their relentless efforts in paving the way for other productions in the industry to get back to work. “
That effort included the cast and crew who formed a bubble in a UK hotel.
“We lived together, ate together, told stories, shared our fears and hopes, played Frisbee on the lawn … there was a lot of laughter when it was difficult to find things to laugh about,” explains Trevorrow.
“We were all far from those we loved at a time when we wanted to be closest to them. I missed my family very much. I was away from them for four months. But the cast in our bubble became a different family. “
Jurassic World: Dominion
Trevorrow hopes the experience will improve the final film.
“I think the closeness to each other made the film better. Anything we went through emotionally, we would share. We rehearsed on Sundays, we created the characters that enriched the emotions of the film. I think the movie will be stronger for that. “
The filmmaker claims that the restrictions and delays – filming was initially postponed from February 2020 to July 2020 and then had to pause again in October due to positive COVID results – did not change the way he shot the film. The designers handcrafted the dinosaurs for months, and a second unit has still made it to Malta. There won’t be any need to resort to additional VFX, he said, “You won’t see entire worlds being created digitally.”
“I’ve never been so involved in a filmmaking process,” he continued. “Because of the logs, the actors weren’t far from the set. The removal has been removed. There were things in this film that I hope I can continue with in future productions. “
For Trevorrow, Dominion speaks uniquely for the pandemic.
“This film is about the need to exist together and survive together. If this pandemic has taught us anything, we need different generations to protect one another. It was the right movie for the moment. “
How do you celebrate the graduation of such a company?
“Tomorrow I will drive back to my house with a few boxes and see my family: It starts there,” he says.
Like most in the industry and across much of the world, the team followed this week’s tumultuous US elections. “We were all aware of what was happening in the US. I hope we can all move forward together soon. A Biden win would be the perfect gift, ”he admits.