Justice Smith is one of the newcomers in ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,’ and HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with the actor about his role in the iconic franchise. Plus, he breaks down that intense gyrosphere scene with Bryce Dallas Howard!
In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Justice Smith plays Franklin Webb, an IT technician, who teams up with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters to save the dinosaurs. This is his first foray into the Jurassic Park franchise, and Justice knows he got the opportunity of a lifetime. He grew up watching the movies, just like the rest of us.
HollywoodLife talked with Justice, 22, about working alongside Bryce, especially in that underwater scene, Franklin being the source of some amazing comic relief in the film, and that game-changing twist at the end. Check out our Q&A now! Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
What was your reaction to getting cast in a Jurassic World movie?
Justice Smith: I was a fan of them as a kid, so being cast felt great. It was kind of an unimaginable feeling because I used to go on these road trips with my dad, and we had this portable DVD player and would watch all three of the Jurassic Park movies in order. It brought me and my siblings closer together. It brought my family closer together, and it got me into horror movies as a kid. It meant a lot to me to actually end up a part of the franchise.
Franklin provides some comic relief in the movie, and he’s how I think anyone would react if they came face to face with a dinosaur.
Justice Smith: I feel like that’s what we were going for. Franklin is the audience. He’s how anyone would react in that situation.
With your character bringing some comic relief, what was it like working with Chris Pratt who is known for his comedy?
Justice Smith: Well, he is the reason I think I am funny in the movie at all because he would give us a lot of ideas, and he would just be an amazing person to respond off of. There’s a lot of scenes that got cut from the film, but there were a lot of moments in which we improvised and fed off of each other and a cool back and forth. By we, I mean the whole cast, not just me and Chris.
One of the most jaw-dropping scenes in the movie is when you and Bryce Dallas Howard’s character are underwater. It was a really intense sequence. What was filming it like?
Justice Smith: That was so much fun. I know it’s really intense in the movie, but it was really fun in real life because I got to learn to how to scuba dive. I had to take breath training, which I’d never done before. Also, fun fact about that scene, we couldn’t record any audio in the gyrosphere because of the water, so all of the audio in that scene is ADR.
It must have been fun to work on that with Bryce and not have to do it alone.
Justice Smith: Yes, it was a lot of fun. Bryce is amazing. She’s the nicest person, so I was really happy to have her there.
What was the most challenging aspect?
Justice Smith: Probably the stunts. I’d never really done stunts before, so that was really interesting and cool. The stunts were crazy, but they were really fun. It really got me out of my head as an actor, which I appreciated. You just feel like a kid again. One of the things they did for us was build this roller coaster, this mini roller coaster, to simulate the gyro sphere going over the cliff. Me and Bryce got to ride this roller coaster 10-20 times. Who doesn’t want to do that? That was my job.
You’re a young and up-and-coming actor. With joining this franchise, did you feel any pressure at all?
Justice Smith: Yes, there was a lot of pressure because this is connected to so many people, and you don’t want to mess it up. I was glad to have Daniella [Pineda] going through the same thing being a newcomer. As soon as we got to set, Bryce and Chris and J.A. Bayona just really took the edge off by making us feel comfortable and making the environment feel open enough where we could share our own ideas and improvise when we felt like we had something to say. Yes, the pressure was there, but it was relatively easy after a few days.
Were these animatronic dinosaurs, or did you just have to pretend they were in the room?
Justice Smith: There was one that animatronic that I worked with, which was Blue. She was incredibly intricate. She sweat, she drooled, her pupils dilated, she breathed, her veins pulsed. This thing was so well-crafted and so intricate. It was very easy to respond off of when we were filming. Other than that, we worked with a lot of tennis balls. My trick for acting alongside tennis balls was to pretend that I was afraid of tennis balls instead of imagining a dinosaur was there because I felt like that was smarter. it was a lot easier to make my character afraid of tennis balls.
One of the other big twists is that Maisie is a clone. Did you have a reaction to that? I feel like it could set the franchise in a whole new direction.
Justice Smith: Yeah, I agree. When I read the script, I was like, “Whoa, that is crazy. That’s so cool.” When I saw it in the movie, I thought they executed it really well. I’m excited to see where they take it.
Would be more like Franklin or more like Owen if you came face-to-face with a dinosaur?
Justice Smith: I don’t know who I would be because dinosaurs don’t actually exist, but I assume I would be a mix. I assume I would run away and be terrified, but I don’t think I would be as terrified as Franklin.