Rising star, Justice Smith, is bringing his charm to one of the biggest films in his career with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
In the anticipated sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, Owen Grady (Christ Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) returns to the dinosaur amusement park island to save as many dinosaur species as they can from an erupting volcano. However, there is a more sinister plan for the dinosaurs in the works.
New cast members for the film include Rafe Spall, Justice Smith Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell and Toby Jones.
LRM Online had an exclusive phone interview with Justice Smith, who plays the young tech geek Franklin Webb in the film. He is a familiar face in supporting roles for many young adult films like Every Day, Paper Towns and also appeared in Netflix’s The Get Down. He has the lead role in next year’s Detective Pikachu.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
Read our interview transcript below.
Justice Smith: Hey, Gig. It’s Justice.
LRM: Hey, how’s it going over there? How’s Hawaii?
Justice Smith: It’s going pretty good.
LRM: I know. I wish I was there, but at least you’re there. [Chuckles]
Justice Smith: At least one of us. [Laughs]
LRM: That’s right. Tell me, Justice, why were you attracted to your role of a playing Franklin?
Justice Smith: One, I was attracted to the series and not necessarily the kid. I definitely was going to do it regardless of the character. What I really liked about Franklin is that he’s a comic relief of the story. He represents the audience reacting to everything that’s happening around him in the same way that know anyone would react. Any normal person would react. That was really fun to play that the way the audience essentially. That was fun.
LRM: You screamed quite a bit in this movie and all your screams are hilarious. Did you work on that?
Justice Smith: No, I didn’t, but the scream that I do in the bunker with Bryce Dallas Howard was actually her idea. It was scripted that Claire was going to scream and she thought it would be funnier if I did it. I was absolutely on board. I knew exactly how to scream in order to get a laugh. So I did it. Here we are talking about it. [Laughs] I owe that to Bryce.
LRM: During the production, how much of this stuff was outdoors and how much of it was indoors and green screen?
Justice Smith: There was not a lot for granted. We shot three months in London and one month in Hawaii. In London, we shot all the interior stuff and then in Hawaii, we shot all the exterior stuff. That should give you an idea.
LRM: Now, are you a tech Geek, yourself?
Justice Smith: No! [Lauchs]
LRM: Basically, you just had to pretend like you know what you’re doing with computers like in the movie.
Justice Smith: That in my job. I just have to pretend to know on what I’m doing. [Laughs]
LRM: What do you suppose was the most difficult thing you had to do on this project for yourself?
Justice Smith: Probably, be funny on purpose. I’m not really good at being funny on purpose. I know how to be funny in conversation or by accident, but when it comes to making a choice that is going to get a laugh–that’s beyond me. So that was a learning experience.
LRM: It sounds like there wasn’t much improv for you in this movie, right?
Justice Smith: No, there was! JA [Bayona] actually encouraged us to improv a lot. Chris [Pratt] naturally improvises all the time. We actually had a lot of improv. A lot of it didn’t make the movie, because of just the nature of the pace of the film. I think on the DVD there’ll be a lot of outtakes. You’ll see that we did a lot of improv.
LRM: Which scene was the most exciting or most fun for you to actually do?
Justice Smith: The underwater stuff. It was the scene with the gyrosphere sinking underwater. I got to learn how to scuba dive. I got to do deep breath training, in which I’ve had never done before.
LRM: Oh, wow! I actually thought that was all green screen. Did they actually put you in a tank of water?
Justice Smith: There was no green screen. There was hardly any green screen throughout the film.
LRM: I’m glad you learn how to hold your breath for a long time. That’s awesome. [Laughs]
Justice Smith: Oh, yeah.
LRM: Talk about working with the rest of the cast members. How was that? Who was great?
Justice Smith: They were all great. They were all a lot of fun. It was a little scary coming to a film that’s already established. It’s nice to have someone to connect to, because you have this responsibility on your shoulders. You don’t want to mess it up. Bryce, Chris, JA and the producers made me and Danielle [Pineda] feel like we could explore our characters in our own right and we could offer our ideas where necessary. We can just relax, which is what I really wanted.
LRM: Now you’re a fairly young guy know Jurassic Park is like 25 years old. Which Jurassic movie was first introduced to you?
Justice Smith: Well, I saw all three of them at same time. I took the family road trips with my dad. We had this portable DVD player. We would watch all three movies back to back to back. That was my first introduction to film and I fell in love with them. I was like seven or eight. I’m a big horror movie fan now. I think this much more of a horror than the first one.
LRM: Was the first one your most favorite? Why?
Justice Smith: It’s incredible. I don’t really know what to say about that. It’s an incredible film. Steven Spielberg did an amazing job with it. The acting is incredible. Everything.
LRM: You actually consider this film more like a horror movie in your opinion? Why?
Justice Smith: Yeah, I think that’s scarier than the other films. I think that’s how JA separate it from the other films. He added more horror to it. He also added more mysticism and fantasy. It almost has the dark fairytale quality, which was really cool to see.
LRM: How was the director on set? Did you like his style?
Justice Smith: Yeah, he was great.
LRM: What was his direction? What kind of style did he use?
Justice Smith: I mean he’s great. One of the things he did that was really cool is to play great music whenever we were in a scene, so we would understand tonally what he was going for in the end product. It was really cool. He would help me with my character by not telling me when things are going to pop out or scare me that way you can get a proper reaction for Franklin. Yeah, basically, he is a true artist.
LRM: That is pretty awesome. Can you talk about any future upcoming projects for yourself?
Justice Smith: I just wrapped a movie a few days ago and that comes out next year. I’m not really sure when, but I’m really excited for people to see it. I think it’s an amazing story and people are gonna love it. [Laughs]
LRM: What movie was that? I didn’t catch it.
Justice Smith: The Pokemon movie.
LRM: Oh, that’s right!! You know what? You’re going to gain a lot of fans for that. [Laughs] One last question for you, and I know you probably answered this many, many times, but you know what? I’m going to go ahead and ask. What is your favorite dinosaur and why?
Justice Smith: Oh, I love this question! The mosasaurus is my favorite dinosaur.
LRM: Oh, yeah? Why?
Justice Smith: Because in my soul, I am a fat whale. I eat everything in its path.
LRM: Great answer. Hey, it’s my pleasure speaking with you. I love your character in your film. Thank you very much.
Justice Smith: Thank you so much.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive