Writing the raptor: from script to screen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This essay examines Jurassic Park’s script development between 1990 and 1993, highlighting key thematic and structural changes/additions as the film travelled from script to screen. In particular, I focus on three screenwriters, who all contributed to the film’s form and content: Michael Crichton (upon whose novel Jurassic Park was based), Malia Scotch Marmo and David Koepp. Discussing various screenplay drafts – January 1991 (Crichton), March 1992 (Marmo) and December 1992 (Koepp) – I explore how themes such as the dangers of technological “progress”, corporate critique, generational and familial relationships and gender politics were emphasised, added to and/or curtailed during the script development phase. The essay situates each draft within the writer’s broader oeuvre, suggesting ways in which they drew on visual concepts, narrative tropes, ideas and characters present in their earlier work as well as their relationships and collaborations with director Steven Spielberg and other creative personnel during Jurassic Park’s production. I also reflect on characterization (human and dinosaur), structure and the literary style of each draft, considering them in relation to broader debates on screenwriting and the screenwriter of the 1980s and 1990s (e.g. Hoxter, 2014; Price 2013). In doing so, the essay provides insight into the film’s complex production process and raises larger questions regarding creative collaborations and politics in 1990s Hollywood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Jurassic Park Book
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on the Classic 1990s Blockbuster
EditorsMatthew Melia
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9781501384844
ISBN (Print)9781501384868
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023


  • Jurassic Park
  • screenwriting
  • film history
  • blockbuster

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