It’s been 20 years since Jurassic Park first hit theaters and this weekend it will return to the box office in 3-effing-D. To mark the occasion, we thought it would be fun to look back on life after the film series for the actors who played the main roles. Who benefited from being chased down by dinos and whose career died with their onscreen death? Ready? Let’s go…
1. Julianne Moore (Dr. Sarah Harding – The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
In an unexpected move, Moore followed her Oscar-nominated turn in Boogie Nights with The Lost World. Much like her character in the film, her career walked away unscathed. She quickly returned to the world of drama, picking up Oscar nominations for The End of the Affair (just two years after her dino chase), Far From Heaven and The Hours. But that didn’t stop her from making pitstops in smart sci-fi flicks like Children of Men.
2. Samuel L. Jackson (Ray Arnold – Jurassic Park)
Jackson has built a career on being attacked by creatures — velociraptors, sharks (Deep Blue Sea), snakes (Snakes On A Plane), aliens (Sphere) and Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan – still not sure what happened there). Just one year after his severed arm groped Laura Dern in a shed, Jackson starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, thrusting him into A-List territory. Though it didn’t stop him from tempting fate with the disaster that was The Man co-starring Eugene Levy.
3. Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen - The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
The years immediately following The Lost World were the dark period in Vaughn’s career when he mistakenly pursued dramatic roles in films like Return To Paradise, Psycho and The Cell. It wasn’t until Zoolander that he returned to form and got back into comedy (Old School, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Wedding Crashers). He even managed to survive RomCom territory (The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston). As long as he stays away from Katherine Heigl he should continue to be fine.
4. Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler - Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III)
Following Jurassic Park, Laura Dern starred in a string of critically acclaimed dramas (We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Inland Empire) before turning to TV. She famously helped Ellen out of the closet in 1997 in between JP stints. And then she finally started getting the recognition she deserved by taking on roles that came with awful hair: Katherine Harris (Recount) and Amy Jellicoe (now canceled Enlightened).
5. William H. Macy (Paul Kirby - Jurassic Park III)
The actor did everything right up until JPIII! He starred in Fargo, Magnolia, ER and Sports Night. And then he got stranded on Isla Nublar with Tea Leoni. It was a bumpy road back to prestige: There was the good – The Cooler, Thank You For Smoking; and the bad – Cellular, Bobby. Now he’s the patriarch in the demented family dramedy, Shameless.
6. Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm - Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
After being terrorized by the T-Rex for two films, Goldblum continued to have an eclectic career by starring in everything from Cats & Dogs to Igby Goes Down and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to The Switch. Most of that time, though, he spent it watching you poop or reminding people that, despite what Twitter said, he was not dead. Following a random turn as Detective Zack Nichols on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (still wrapping my head around that), Goldblum settled into being the ultimate TV dad with spots on The League and Glee.
7. Wayne Knight (Dennis Nedry – Jurassic Park)
Most famous for playing Newman on Seinfeld, the actor has successful runs on other TV shows (3rd Rock from the Sun and two aging actors series, Hot in Cleveland and The Exes). Newman also has had a successful voice-acting career with roles in The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars, Tarzan, Toy Story 2 and Kung Fu Panda.
8. Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy - Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
The likable one in JP all but disappeared after co-starring with Meryl Streep in 1994 film, The River Wild. Thankfully, he sparred us the awkward puberty years. A grownup and almost unrecognizable Mazzello returned notable roles in The Social Network, HBO’s The Pacific and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Timmy he is no longer.
9. Pete Postlethwaite (Roland Tembo - The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
Deemed “the best actor in the world” by Stephen Spielberg, the character actor had a steady career with parts in The Constant Gardener, The Omen, Inception. His last role was as the most badass flower shop owner ever in The Town before he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2011.
10. Tie: Richard Schiff (Eddie Carr - The Lost World: Jurassic Park) & B. D. Wong (Dr. Henry Wu - Jurassic Park)
One of Schiff’s first major roles was The Lost World so he had anywhere to go but down. Following a series of bit roles here and there, Schiff landed career-defining part as Toby Ziegler on The West Wing. But after seven seasons in the White House, he has done much since.
Even though Wong followed Jurassic Park with a major role on Oz as Father Ray Mukada, he will forever be known as Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where he has helped with 228 cases and counting.
11. Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant - Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III)
Neill’s most notable gigs have been a string of TV roles. He was Merlin in the award-winning mini-series of the same name, had a recurring part on The Tudors and was the lead in the now canceled J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama, Alcatraz. Even though he starred in the awesome sci-fi horror flick, Event Horizon, his career has failed to surpass the glory of Dr. Grant.
12. Camilla Belle (Cathy Bowman - The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
Remember that girl that got attacked by a Compsognathus? Yeah, well that was Camilla Belle who went on to share the screen with Steven Seagal (The Patriot), Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock (Practical Magic) and Daniel Day-Lewis (The Ballad of Jack and Rose – her breakout role). Even though she landed the female lead in Roland Emmerich’s prehistoric epic, 10,000 BC, her career stalled when she started dating Joe Jonas. Damn purity rings.
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