Rewrites – an incredibly common and healthy thing in film, yet it often triggers a panic response from fans on the internet. Ok, sure, when you hear stories of a troubled production coupled with script doctors and reshoots, the response is fair, but normally it is indicative of the continued fine tuning of a film. Considering we have heard no such horror stories regarding Jurassic World 2, I am not worried about the implications of the article that follows.
So, why write the article, or preface it like above before jumping to the subject? I think the concept of rewrites is a valid, fun discussion point about the upcoming Jurassic Park sequel, but I want to make it clear this article isn’t kneejerk reaction to the topic at hand. I know others will have that reaction – especially from those who read the title and nothing else (ever read the comments on our articles and Facebook? It’s way too common). No, I simply want to enjoy this peek behind the curtain of the filmmaking process, make record of it, and ponder things we can never really know.
Full credit goes to TheJHNFiles.com for first pointing this out!
— The Awkward Yeti (@theawkwardyeti) June 15, 2017
Earlier today, Twitter account The Awkward Yeti posted a picture provided by Bryce Dallas Howard, where she posed with a plush brain and her copy of the Jurassic World 2 script. At first glance, there’s nothing to be gleaned from the image, which was just shared in good fun – the page visible is either entirely blank, or has been photoshopped clean. I didn’t think much of it, other than ‘oh cool, I would kill to have a copy of that script book’ – but then John pointed out the meaning of yellow pages within, sourcing the following quote from Jurassic World cinematographer John Schwartzman
“Every time a scene gets rewritten… you get what’s called a Coloured Page… your first rewrite are yellow pages. Then there are blue pages… pink pages. Jurassic World is one colour… it is white… we shot Colin’s script and we didn’t change a thing…”
The quote is from a interview from our friends at JurassicCast – and while it refers to Jurassic World, and not the upcoming sequel, it is key to deciphering the image posted above. As you can see, most pages within the script are white, however there are roughly 3 distinct yellow portions – most noticeably what appears to be the entire final 1/5th of the booklet.
So yes, it appears that some time after the ‘final draft’ of the script was turned in, a very large portion was rewritten – including the entire ending. Now, judging from the John Schwartzman quote above, it looks like these changes were all made at once – the script is decidedly yellow and white, which seems to indicate a decisive unified update to the story coming in all at once, rather than constant changes over a longer period of time.
This isn’t entirely surprising – Colin Trevorrow (via Comingsoon) recently stated that he was there for JA Bayona during the process of filming as a writer:
“‘Jurassic’ ended up taking up more time and attention than I expected just because I care about it so much, I surprised myself by how much I wanted to be there for J.A. [Bayona], just as a writer. I remember directing a ‘Jurassic Park’ movie and how much I would have loved to have a writer to think about the dailies and wonder what alterations we could make that would make it that much more effective. I was there with him every day to try and provide something for him that I didn’t have myself.”
While JA Bayona has been signed on since last year around this time, when the real grit of the writing process kicked off, his input towards the screenplay remains relatively unknown. What we do know is that Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly wrote the story with JA in mind, and aimed to make a scarier film closer to the sensibilities of Jurassic Park. Perhaps once JA Bayona and Colin Trevorrow sat down and discussed the final draft, the rewrites seen above were inspired, fine tuning the story into the best version it can be under JA Bayonas direction.
Odds are, we won’t know – not unless they discuss the changes and rewrites in interviews. What I would love to know personally, is if the ending changed in a way that effects the entire story – or if they simply tightened up the closing act, but stayed relatively true to the initial vision.
Filmmaking is a collaborative effort – the stories told and art created are guided by numerous talented individuals – and rewrites are a natural part of that process. We’ve heard nothing suggesting the studio has interferred with the story JA Bayona wants to tell, so it seems likely these were prompted to make the story the best it can be. Again, as the script isn’t a multicolored collage of pages, it seems fair to interpret the vision being a consistent effort.
As some will no doubt cite, the ending of The Lost World was rewritten fairly last minute – a sequence was planned with Pteranodons, Velociraptors, and motorcycles – but it was all cut and swapped in favor of the Tyrannosaurus on mainland. That decision, perhaps controversial, certainly led to some iconic imagery (though in that case, I do much prefer the original concepts).
What are some of your favorite stories of rewrites making a better film? Sound off in the comments below, and stay tuned for the latest news – Jurassic World 2 is on its final stretch, and now filming in Hawaii!