James Cameron Almost Directed Jurassic Park

By Rudie Obias | Updated

Updated to clarify Cameron’s “aliens” comment.

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 recently 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, perhaps resulting 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.

This story reminds me 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.