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According To Dern The Age Difference Between Ellie And Alan In Jurassic Park Was Inappropriate

Laura Dern, who plays Ellie Sattler in the original Jurassic Park film, thinks the age disparity between her character and Alan Grant (Sam Neill) is improper

When Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park was released in 1993, it instantly became a tremendous smash as viewers rushed to witness dinosaurs come to life on the big screen like never before. The film follows paleontologists Ellie and Alan as they explore a cutting-edge dinosaur theme park, which swiftly devolves into a nightmare survival fight as some of the dinosaurs escape their confines.

Dern did not appear in the film's immediate sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but did have a minor role in the third installment, Jurassic Park III. Ellie and Alan were in a relationship in the first film, but they argued on whether or not to have children. Ellie and Alan were no longer together by Jurassic Park III, and Ellie was married with children, however the two characters remained friendly. Dern is set to reprise her part in Jurassic World: Dominion, which will be released later this summer alongside original Jurassic Park co-stars Neill and Jeff Goldblum.


Dern comments on her position in the original Jurassic Park in a recent interview with The Times, highlighting the enormous age gap between her and Neill. Neill was a full 20 years older than Dern during the production of Jurassic Park, with Dern pointing out the significant difference when Neill exclaims, "I am 20 years older than Laura!" Dern's complete comment is available below:

"Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady! It never occurred to me until I opened a magazine and there was an article called ‘Old geezers and gals... 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?’ […] Our age gap in Jurassic Park was completely inappropriate."

The original Jurassic Park script describes Ellie as being in her late twenties and Alan as being in his mid-thirties, but the age gap between the real actors who would portray the parts is significantly greater. The film does not explicitly state how old each of the characters is, although Ellie is plainly younger than Alan. Because the picture was released in 1993, when less attention was paid to problematic interactions between men and women in cinema, it's likely that the makers were unaware (or didn't care) that the age gap was wrong.

Despite the fact that Jurassic Park remains one of the most significant and adored films of all time, it's evident that not everything in the picture has aged well, regardless of the filmmakers' intentions. It remains to be seen if Ellie and Alan will be romantically linked in the next Jurassic World: Dominion, but if Jurassic Park III is any indication, the protagonists seem content to be pals. Dern's remark serves as a timely reminder that even great films like Jurassic Park can include themes that would be unacceptable if filmed today.

Source: The Times

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