Laura Dern’s Jurassic Comeback | Fashion

What are some of your key memories from filming in Hawaii? I read that production had to be halted early due to a hurricane.

In the third week of shooting, we survived a Category 5 hurricane on Kauai. It was devastating to the island and a very a close call for all of us. Steven and I walked around our base and a door flew open; we were thrown against a wall and when we looked outside everything moved sideways: cars, roofs, palm trees. It looked like a scene The Wizard of Oz. I just remember looking into his eyes and thinking Okay…that’s what’s happening and we have no idea how things might end up for us. Going through that with Sam and Jeff was certainly a radical bond. Since then we’ve been like a family.

What impact Jurassic Park on your career at the time?

Suddenly, I had an opportunity to do a lot more than be a badass action hero – although part of me thought Well, should I do that again? I think being raised by radicals has a spirit of ‘okay, I did that, now I have to do something completely different! My parents always said that when I’m lucky, I have to pass it on and help someone else do something unexpected.

Dern and her action figure Ellie Sattler in 1998.

Photo: Getty Images

I am fascinated by the projects you decided on immediately afterwards Jurassic Park. I assume you were given free rein after the film was so successful, so I think it’s great that you decided to do something as outrageous as Citizen Ruth.

Oh yeah, and I wasn’t endorsed at any level. Everyone has definitely tried to stop me from playing a pissed off addict in an abortion comedy. But I love being with filmmakers who are trying to say something that nobody else is talking about, like Alexander Payne tried to do Citizen Ruth. And around the same time, I had the great privilege of meeting and working with Ellen DeGeneres on The Puppy Episode.

I assume your agent wasn’t too keen on you at the time.

[Laughs.] In any case, I managed to make her life a bit poor – but with so much pride! It definitely made for some interesting times, and everyone’s had one a lot of of strong opinions. But I knew what I wanted to do with that moment of success, which was to support Ellen to do something radical in her life. I always want to be with people who are trying to break down walls. And I feel like Jurassic Park had the same sense of wonder. I know I’ve never seen anything like this before.

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