Jurassic Park would not have been the same without Jeff Goldblum’s iconic performance as Dr. Ian Malcolm, chaos theory advocate and black leather enthusiast. But though Malcolm’s a character from the pages of Michael Crichton’s source novel, he almost didn’t make it into the film.
According to a video interview conducted by Vanity Fair (on the occasion of Goldblum’s turn in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, though of course he’s back as Malcolm in this summer’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), Steven Spielberg’s film almost combined Malcolm and Dr. Alan Grant (the character played by Sam Neill) into one character.
“I [read] that Michael Crichton book—Ian Malcolm, wow! Smart, funny, interesting character,” Goldblum says, recalling how he prepared for his meeting with the director. “[Spielberg] was so nice... but he said, ‘You know, there’s a sort of movement afoot... to have that part removed from the script. So since we’ve had this meeting, there’s this little wrinkle that may… render this moot.’ I kind of said, ‘Well, gee!’ I felt moved to advocate for my inclusion!”
Fortunately—after meeting with the uniquely charismatic and apparently rather persuasive Goldblum—the Jurassic Park team realized there was room in the story for both characters. Thank goodness. Check out the entire video to hear other Goldblum gems, including his delightfully theatrical pronunciation of Independence Day director Roland Emmerich’s name.