Laura Dern And Sam Neil Discuss Their ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Characters’ 20 Year Age Gap

It’s not just the dinosaurs that have evolved in the Jurassic World universe, turns out the humans have as well.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times franchise star Sam Neill, 74, observed that at the time of the first film in 1993 no one batted an eye at the age difference between he and onscreen love interest Laura Dern, who is now 55. The 20-year gap “at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady,” said Neill. His a-ha moment came years later.

“I opened a magazine and there was an article called ‘Old Geezers and Gals,’” he remembered. It included “people like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery acting with much younger people. And there I was, on the list. I thought, ‘Come on. It can’t be true.’” And then the actor says he realized, “I am 20 years older than Laura!”

Even Dern, no shrinking violet when it comes to issues of gender equality, says she didn’t notice at first.

“Well, it felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill,” she told the Times. “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?’”

The actress has, however, often observed through the years that her character, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, was not just window dressing. While Dern did not always see the implicit power imbalance in the age difference between Dr. Sattler and Neill’s paleontologist Alan Grant, Dern was proud of how character tweaked the patriarchy.

“There was a rather feminist line in response to something Jeff Goldblum says about ‘man creates dinosaurs, and dinosaurs eat man.’ Something like that,” Dern said in a 2017 interview with WWD.

“And then I look back and say the line, ‘Yeah – and woman inherits the earth,’ and that was such a big deal. It was like here it is, we’re in this formulaic, big movie and it’s this fabulous, fun, feminist moment.”

Jurassic World Dominion” opens June 10.

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