Jurassic Park Stars ‘Only Now’ Realise Their Age Gap Was ‘Inappropriate’ In First Film

Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern and Sam Neill are 'only now' realising that their age gap in the first film was 'inappropriate'.
Credit: Universal

Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill and Laura Dern have ‘only now’ realised that their age gap in the first film was ‘inappropriate’.

The 1993 blockbuster is one of the most adored films in history, with its groundbreaking visuals and iconic soundtrack.

The romantic leads in the film were palaeobotanist Dr Ellie Sattler (Dern) and palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant (Neill).

However, critics found the actor and actress’ age difference to be unsuitable and now the pair have had their say on the matter.

Watch the trailer for the original Jurassic Park below…

Talking to The Telegraph, the pair discussed their near-20-year age gap and how it was received following the release of Jurrasic Park.

Dern was just 23 years old at the time of filming, while Neill was 42.

On sharing the screen with Dern, Neill says: “I am 20 years older than Laura! Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady!

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“It never occurred to me until I opened a magazine and there was an article called ‘Old geezers and gals’.

“People like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery acting with much younger people, and there I was, on the list.”

Dern adds: “Well, it felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill.

“And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, ‘Wow! We’re not the same age?’.”

Laura Dern and Sam Neil.
Laura Dern and Sam Neil are ‘only now’ realise their age gap was ‘inappropriate’ in the first Jurassic Park film. Credit: Universal

Dern says she didn’t let her age get in the way of her focus, rather, she wanted to make sure her character pushed forward female representation on the big screen.

She cites Dr Sattler as being in the same category as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the Alien franchise as characters who changed Hollywood’s view on female action heroes.

Even though there was unease about Neill and Dern’s age difference, it could have been a lot worse had director Steven Spielberg got his first choice for the role of Dr Grant.

He tells Entertainment Weekly that long-time collaborator Harrison Ford was actually his top pick for the role, despite being 50 years old at the time of production.

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The director says: “Sam does a phenomenal job, but my first choice was Harrison.

“I went to the art department, and I had them do a photorealistic painting of the T-Rex chasing Harrison with two kids, and put Harrison’s face on the character of the archaeologist, and sent the script, the book, and the picture to Harrison.

“The next day I got a call, and he said, ‘This is not for me, pal’.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.