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The Jurassic Park Moment That's Forever Ingrained In Laura Dern's Memory

Laura Dern has found herself in some truly remarkable scenarios over the years. She's helped lead the Resistance in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," mediated the spectacular self-destruction of a marriage in "Marriage Story," and been put in countless strange and haunting situations by David Lynch.

Still, even after all of this, for many people, Laura Dern will be most recognized as Dr. Ellie Sattler in "Jurassic Park." The paleobotanist, invited along with Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to give their sign-off on John Hammond's (Richard Attenborough) spectacular dinosaur amusement park, is, of course, a beloved character in the "Jurassic" franchise. Even if, like most other characters, she appeared in maybe half of all the films.

Perhaps it's because Dern knew from the outset that her character, though a highly educated and serious scientist, would need to be awed by the reality of seeing a dinosaur in front of her. In a profile for Vogue, Dern recalled her first meeting with Steven Spielberg: "He said, 'I want you to come be the female lead in my movie and watch in awe as I try to bring dinosaurs to life.'" It would seem that direction, more than any other, has stuck.

Laura Dern will never forget seeing her first dinosaur

Speaking with Time Magazine, Dern was asked what it was like to reunite with the massive animatronic dinosaurs while filming "Dominion." She admitted that it was amazing, though it still pales compared to the first time she was on set for "Jurassic Park."

"It was equally as jaw dropping," said Dern, "but nothing will be like that first moment I walked through a field on Kauai with Sam Neill and I looked ahead and I saw a triceratops. That was my first dinosaur and I will love that dinosaur the most forever." This is a telling testament to the skills of Stan Winston and his visual effects crew. Winston, who had already impressed audiences with the effects in "Aliens," both "Terminator" films, and two "Predator" films, very much challenged himself on "Jurassic Park." It ended up winning him his fourth Oscar (via IMDb).

Dern is, of course, well aware that the triceratops wasn't real, knowing that puppeteers and electronics operated it. She was awestruck nonetheless. "It was working with a real animal," she said. In other words, Dern is one of a lucky, infinitesimally small number of people who will likely come closest to ever interacting with a real-life dinosaur. Let's all try not to show our jealousy.