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“This was exactly the way the Statue of Liberty was built”: Steven Spielberg Brought His Dinosaurs to Life Using One Insane Method That Left Jackie Chan Speechless

Steven Spielberg Brought His Dinosaurs to Life Using One Insane Method That Left Jackie Chan Speechless

Jurassic Park has pushed all the boundaries of filmmaking. The director has employed some of the best classic techniques through masterful special effects and craftsmanship, which instilled a sense of awe in the films.

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

Known as a major figure of the New Hollywood era and pioneer of the modern blockbuster, Steven Spielberg was the one who directed Jurassic Park movies – that’s the reason they are so clicked. But it’s not the sole effort of Spielberg only.

Stan Winston, one of the most important and influential special effects artists in film history, helped the director turn Jurassic Park into reality.

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Also read: “That’ll scare the hell out of you”: Steven Spielberg Was Stunned With Clint Eastwood’s Reaction After Director Gave ‘Dirty Harry’ Star an Early Access To Jurassic Park

Giving Life to Dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was a Long Haul

Steven Spielberg on the sets of Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg on the sets of Jurassic Park

Winston has worked as a makeup and visual effects artist on movies like Terminator, Predator, Aliens, and Edward Scissorhands since Jurassic Park was in the works. It was his first time working on a film like Jurassic Park. He and his team used a mix of hands-on models and intricate mechanics to bring the dinosaurs to life.

They first designed the dinosaurs on paper to show Spielberg their appearance and concept artist Mark “Crash” McCreary did the final rendering. Then, the crew transformed these drawings into smaller sculptures, around one-fifth the size of the actual creatures. These sculptures acted as models for the full-sized animatronics and the computer-generated effects of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

After this, the critical task for Winston’s team was to turn these models into moving dinosaurs. The artist explained the whole process in an article featured in the American Cinematographer magazine:

“We covered the wooden patterns with fiberglass to create a smooth solid surface, then started putting clay on it to make our finished sculpture, and that became our sculpting armature. It ended up looking exactly like a very large version of those wooden dinosaur skeleton toys you can buy!

Winston continued:

“The form of the dinosaur was done virtually by mechanical drawing, so our full-scale creations were identical to our 1/5th-scale maquettes. All we had to do then was to sculpt the skin and the detail. Later, I learned this was exactly the way the Statue of Liberty was built!”

Creating living dinosaurs on film was an uphill battle, but the illustrators, sculptors, puppeteers, and mechanical engineers finally did it and gave Spiellberg’s vision a life.

Also read: “I don’t think I’ll do that”: Steven Spielberg Cut One Scary Jurassic Park Scene After His Own Traumatic Experience While Filming $476M Movie That Endangered The Cast

Steven Spielberg’s Visionary Dinosaurs Gave Chills to Jackie Chan

Action star Jackie Chan
Action star Jackie Chan

Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park, released 30 years ago, has changed the cinematic landscape of Hollywood forever, but the making of the film wasn’t just child play. On The Steve Harvey Show, Jackie Chan told Harvey about an incident related to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which left him in a pickle.

Despite being a first-rate action star, Chan was absolutely star-struck when he met Spielberg. He was left speechless but eventually gathered the courage to ask the filmmaker about how he shot the humans and dinosaurs together with such perfection.

“I remember the first time I met Steven Spielberg…’Wow! Steven Spielberg!’ You know…’What should I talk to him?’ So exciting, and as soon as I see him, ‘Oh! I just see, you know, the dinosaur…how can you make that movie…human dinosaur jumping together?’ [Spielberg answered] ‘So easy, Jackie I just pushed the computer.”

Of course, many technicalities go into making a film like Jurassic Park, but the spellbinding reaction of Chan was worth seeing for Spielberg.

Also read: “We don’t care about life, we don’t care about human rights”: Jackie Chan Must Have Spooked Steven Spielberg After Talking About ‘Jurassic Park’ Secrets

Source: The American Society of Cinematographers

Written by Shreya Jha

Shreya is naive, diurnal and a pop culture fanatic who serves as a celebrity news writer at Fandomwire.