Jurassic Park’s Original Plan Was An Entirely Different Director

By Rudie Obias | Published

jurassic park

In an alternate reality, we could watch existing movies made by a different director. Imagine if Stanley Kubrick made A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead of Steven Spielberg, or we could watch David Cronenberg’s version of Return of the Jedi. Another popular film that was close to having a Bizarro World director was Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.

James Cameron was a few hours late in securing the film adaptation rights to Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel, which left the project in the capable hands of Spielberg.

James Cameron once recounted how he almost made Jurassic Park before Spielberg beat him to the punch.

If Cameron had the opportunity to make Jurassic Park he said he would’ve given the movie a darker tone similar to his movie, Aliens. Ultimately, Cameron was happy with what Spielberg did with the film:

…when I saw the film, I realized that I was not the right person to make the film, he was. Because he made a dinosaur movie for kids, and mine would have been aliens with dinosaurs, and that wouldn’t have been fair,” Cameron explained.

“Dinosaurs are for 8-year-olds. We can all enjoy it, too, but kids get dinosaurs and they should not have been excluded for that. His sensibility was right for that film, I’d have gone further, nastier, much nastier.”

Also, taking a darker approach to the source material would have perhaps resulted in a Jurassic Park that was closer in tone to the sequel, The Lost World. 

Thankfully, Spielberg got the job and we got a classic movie.

jurassic park

That being said, imagining James Cameron’s take on Jurassic Park in this vein does lend itself to a certain sliding doors scenario where possible the movie is just as heralded, but for entirely different reasons. We know Cameron can handle this type of sci-fi material, and if he was going to go the tense, horror, blood, and guts route with the dinosaurs, well, there’s no denying a place for it.

For starters, one would have to think it would have conflicted in some was with Terminator 2: Judgment Day which came out in 1991 (Jurassic Park was in 1993). Cameron came out with True Lies in 1994.

And maybe the James Cameron Jurassic Park movie would have been so big, leading to such a massive franchise, that he never thinks about Titanic (1997) or later Avatar (2009). It’s fascinating to think about. We are more than happy with James Cameron’s career choices mind you, but adding some dinosaurs to the ledger would have been very cool.

There’s no denying that a Jurassic Park with James Cameron in the driver’s seat would have had a totally different look and feel. Maybe Jeff Goldblum is still there, but the two kids? Almost for sure they are put in a bit more mortal danger, or maybe worse.

This story reminds us of the short film Impossible Dreams, by Israeli director Shir Comay. It’s about a video store in a parallel universe where movies such as the aforementioned Kubrick A.I. and Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi line the shelves.

We’re betting you could find a copy of James Cameron’s Jurassic Park there, too.