Clever Girl! The Making Of The Raptor Suit For JURASSIC PARK
I can't tell you how many times I've watched that scene in the kitchen where John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) grandchildren, Alexa (Ariana Richards) and her brother Tim (Joseph Mazzello) are hiding, but I can tell you at no time, ever, did I stop and think that I was watching a man in a dinosaur suit. And that my friends is the magic of Stan Winston Studio.
The main suit performer was John Rosengrant, and concept artist Mark “Crash” McCreery filled in on another suit when a shot required two Raptors. The suit was created by making a body cast of Rosengrant, and then the dinosaur's form was sculpted around that.
For Rosengrant, this was his first major role, he poured everything he could into. He learned to imitate the Raptor's movements by looking at illustrations, and worked with a physical trainer prior to shooting knowing that he would have to be able to hold an uncomfortable position for hours on end. The position, that was a skiing pose, and at times during filming he had to hold it for four hours.
Stan Winston Studio created multiple raptors for JURASSIC PARK, including full-size cable-controlled puppets, half-puppets, insert legs and men-in-suits.
This exclusive "Making of" video, narrated by raptor suit performer, 25-year SWS supervisor & co-founder of Legacy Effects, John Rosengrant, walks you through the evolution of JURASSIC PARK's raptor suits, from first foam fabricated "garbage bag test" to the finished suits that you see in the final film.
John Rosengrant - “All of their work can be for nothing if you can’t bring that character to life inside the suit. In the past, there have been times when a character we put a lot of care into was not as good as it could have been because the performance just wasn’t there. That’s why people who do this work are so often driven to perform in the suits themselves. It is a way to maintain some level of control over what you’ve created. Being in those suits is so difficult, is such a pain in the ass, you have to be really motivated to do it. You have to have a vested interest in the character; and no one has more of a vested interest than the people who created it. Performers who aren’t that motivated are going to get fed up with the physical discomfort and the heat and the inability to breathe. They’re likely to say: ‘Get me out of this stupid thing. It’s not working.’ Of course, it could work — you just have to have someone in there who has a higher commitment to making it work.”