Once more with feeling! The dinosaurs are back again as Jurassic World Dominion heads to our screens. Its star Mamoudou Athie tells us about making the film.
You might recognise Mamoudou Athie from Brie Larson’s Unicorn Store or perhaps from Netflix’s dark and intriguing Archive 81. The actor has appeared in many great works of cinema and TV, but have you ever wondered what his favourite dinosaur is? Click play on the video or read on to find out the answer to that (and more), as the actor chats to us about Jurassic World Dominion.
Congratulations on Jurassic World Dominion. What a way to end a trilogy. First and foremost, do you have a favourite dinosaur?
I was hoping there was a connection here!
Do you have a least favourite then?
I don’t think they really count but those locusts in the movie. Those are disgusting.
You do get to act with some dinosaurs in the film, were they animatronic or were some of them CGI?
All the ones I interacted with were CGI. They were mostly animatronic in the movie, so I was like ‘Oh, come on.’ But I did get to go to Creature Shop. And I was on set for some of those other days. So it’s pretty cool.
I remember watching the first Jurassic Park and there’s such a sense of wonder. Did you have that same sense still?
Absolutely. Even with the CGI stuff, when you’re just imagining, it’s just like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I remember, Colin [Trevorrow, director] took me over to the monitor one day and said, ‘Hey, you look like you’re real excited to see this dinosaur.’ And I said, ‘No, I just looked like a kid in a candy shop.’
Do they teach you in drama school how to act in roles such as this; I don’t know, did you have a tennis ball or something to mark?
No, they just teach you to utilise your imagination. And then that can just serve you in every circumstance, whether it’s a blockbuster like Jurassic Park, or just an intimate family drama.
I watched an interview with you where you said that the more you work, the more you learn. And this is probably the biggest film you’ve done. So what did you learn?
It was a different style of filmmaking than I previously encountered. It’s a lot more technical, because there’s CGI, so you really have to interact in a very precise way. Where some other movies, it could be a lot more loose, for lack of a better word, this one I had to be a lot more precise with movement. So that was new and, in the beginning, a bit challenging. But you always find a way to appreciate it.
And you’re joining a massive cast, not just Jurassic World regulars, but Jurassic Park original cast. Was it intimidating being the new guy?
For sure. Are you kidding me? Sam Neill and Laura Dern, those were my first two scene partners, I was like, ‘Come on, man.’ But also, what a gift and a joy. I had admired those two for so long, and then to work with them… And Jeff, obviously. It was just the coolest.
He’s always cool. Did he impart any wisdom upon you?
You know what, no! I gotta talk to him later today, like, ‘Hey, do you have any advice?’ I should ask him about that.
How was it working with Colin Trevorrow?
Colin is great, really just placed emphasis on collaboration, and having a good time on set and made sure everyone was treated well, and that’s very important to me. It was just a very positive vibe on set and we had a really, really good time.
That’s what you want really from work isn’t it?
Hopefully! Also, when you’re making movies, it’s ridiculous when it’s any other way. This is an ideal filmmaking experience for sure.
You’ve had quite a year with Archive 81, which I absolutely love. So what do you look for in a project before you sign on?
It starts with the people. You want to work with people you get along with, that you have the same values, and you want to like them. Frankly, you want to make sure they’re decent people. I know that sounds like really lofty goals these days. But honestly, that’s the baseline.
And obviously, the material and something that you feel is useful. So that loads into that baseline. Those are the two things. After that, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it feels like a worthwhile project and with good people, I’m probably down.
And just lastly, if the call came in, would you sign on for a sequel?
What am I gonna say, no? *laughs*
Jurassic World Dominion is out in cinemas on 10th June.