Laura Dern praises the feminism of her ‘Jurassic Park’ hero Ellie Sattler

jurassic park
via Universal

Time has proved the original critics of 1993’s Jurassic Park wrong. The core trio of Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm all went on to become eminently memorable and quotable characters. They’re back together in Jurassic World Dominion, and for the press campaign, all three took time out to reflect on their time in Isla Nublar.

In a new interview with Comic Book, Dern gives her perspective on being the only woman in the original cast and how Spielberg ensured her voice was heard:

“I mean, it was so important on the first film, as a very young actor — frankly, the only female on the movie — to go to the extraordinary team making the film, and use my voice to advocate for her fierce independence and her feminist dialogue and the way she would look in the movie. Steven Spielberg was a master, and also incredibly open about this, and his producer, Kathy Kennedy, was so protective of that, as were the writers.”

On re-watching Jurassic Park (which you should do at basically every opportunity) it’s notable how forward-thinking Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler is. She calls out the men for “sexism in survival situations”, gently chides Malcolm as to his male-centric allegories, and is never a screaming damsel in distress.

Dern continued:

“Feeling that kind of support, but also feeling the newness of using your voice as a woman was radical at that time, I have to say. So I do feel moved and proud at how this franchise has evolved. I got a bit teary-eyed remembering the 23-year-old me, feeling like it was going to be hard work to fight for something. And now be standing between Bryce and DeWanda, and feeling that power, was really moving.”

Sattler’s appearance in Dominion will be her first in the Jurassic World trilogy, and her first appearance in the franchise since Jurassic Park III in 2001. Dominion, of course, will have the original cast reflecting on the events immediately after Fallen Kingdom, where humanity has to learn how to live with dinosaurs after they were released into the wild.

You might wonder how exactly apex carnivores and enormous herbivorous animals can take over the Earth in an age of ICBMs, chemical warfare and humanity’s talent for making other species extinct, but we’re sure Dominion will dot its Is and cross its Ts. Exactly how it does that, however, we’ll find out when Jurassic World Dominion hits the United States on June 10.