At the time, the rubber-faced comedian was best known for his work playing outrageous characters like Fire Marshall Bill on Fox's "In Living Color," but was not yet a household name. When the film was casting in 1992, he was two years away from his breakout role in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective."
However, he impressed the "Jurassic Park" team with his audition for the role of Ian Malcolm, the mathematician and chaos theoretician so brilliantly portrayed by Jeff Goldblum.
"I read the book and I thought of Jeff Goldblum right away," Janet Hirshenon, the film's casting director, recalled. "There were several other people we taped for the part, though. Jim Carrey had come in and he was terrific, too, but I think pretty quickly we all loved the idea of Jeff."
The film also can thank a big-name guardian angel for steering Laura Dern to the project. The actress had just scored an Oscar nomination for her starring role in "Rambling Rose" when she was approached for the project.
"I was talking with Nicolas Cage, and we had just done 'Wild at Heart' together, and I said to him, 'Nic, they want to put me on the phone with Steven Spielberg, but they want to talk to me about a dinosaur movie…,'" Dern said. "And he was like, 'You are doing a dinosaur movie! No one can ever say no to a dinosaur movie!' I was like, 'Really?' And he’s like, 'Are you kidding? It’s a dream of my life to do a movie with dinosaurs!' So he was such an influence on me."
"Jurassic Park" gets a 3D re-release this week.