Jurassic World: Tale of Two Brothers

In classic Spielberg fashion, audiences first experience the magic and wonder of Jurassic World from the perspective of a child.

As the story begins, Claire is visited by her sister’s boys, Gray and Zach, who have been shipped away while their parents negotiate their impending divorce.

Gray is an 11-year-old boy full of limitless curiosity and energy who is wide-eyed with excitement from the minute he boards the ferry for Isla Nublar.  Anxious to explore every inch of Jurassic World and acutely perceptive of details in the world around him, he is awed by seeing dinosaurs that he’d only read about in books come to life.  Gray is on the adventure of his young lifetime, and his natural inquisitiveness—and some pressure from his big bother—drive him to go beyond the boundaries of what his parents would ok.

“The great thing about the manner in which the story is told is that we enter Jurassic World through the eyes of Gray,” says Frank Marshall.  “That was a key element for Colin.  He wanted us to see the wonder of the park first, and to see it through the eyes of our two young characters is the perfect introduction.”

Ty Simpkins as Gray

For the role of Gray, filmmakers cast young actor Ty Simpkins, familiar to audiences from his work co-starring alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 and in director James Wan’s Insidious series.

Although Simpkins was very young when first viewing Jurassic Park, the young performer recalls the lasting impression it made on him: “I was three when I first saw it, and although I don’t remember watching it for the first time, I remember that I became obsessed with dinosaurs.  It has always been one of my favorite movies, and I still can’t believe I am a part of this. ”

Gray’s older brother, Zach, is as disaffected by the wonders of Jurassic World as his brother is in awe of them.  Roaming the unbelievable attractions with his face cast down toward his smartphone, Zach slowly starts to admit that the park is actually pretty cool.  Although Zach and Gray have a chaperone assigned to them by their Aunt Claire, they must stay mindful of any prehistoric threats that await them in the lush jungle directly ahead.

Nick Robinson

For the role of the disaffected 16-year-old, Trevorrow turned to Nick Robinson, an up-and-coming actor whom he’d seen in the independent film The Kings of Summer.  During casting, Robinson was brought in with potential co-star Simpkins to read various scenes, some of which hinted at the type of unusual methods that the role would require.  “We had to do a thing where we were scared of something that wasn’t there, which was good practice for what we ended up doing a lot,” says Robinson.  “Ty killed that audition, and I felt like I had to follow up his masterful work there.”

Producer Crowley offers praise for the young man: “When Nick first came in, we thought of him as a Montgomery Clift-type, and there’s no doubt that in another couple of years he’ll be that heartthrob.  He is a consummate actor and really underplays the role.  His performance is riveting.”

When chaos erupts on Isla Nublar—and it always does—the brothers are forced to rely on each other to survive, something that breaks down the walls between them and brings them closer together.

The quick off-screen bond between Simpkins and Robinson played into their performance and mirrored that of their on-screen relationship.  “Nick and Ty have a true brotherly dynamic with one another,” reveals Howard.  “Nick has two younger brothers who are Ty’s age and Ty has an older brother, so they instantly became like real brothers. It was beautiful to watch, and they brought so much honesty to those characters and to that dynamic.”

When production commenced, Robinson and Simpkins looked to Trevorrow to guide them through the emotional story line of their evolving relationship, as well as the intense technical aspects required to complement the visual effects.  “It was Colin’s top priority to make sure we hit all the emotional beats of the scene while also hitting our technical marks,” says Robinson, “so he could later then worry about adding the crazy dinosaur that was trying to kill us.”