This interview with Ty Simpkins contains a few spoilers for Jurassic World. When I saw some of his stunts and some of the vehicles he rides in, I just had to ask him about them. Most of them are at least suggested by the trailers, and some of the Easter Eggs have been spotted well in advance, but if you’ve kept it fresh so far, here’s your warning that I go there with Ty Simpkins.
Simpkins plays Gray, a boy visiting Jurassic World with his brother Zach (Nick Robinson). Their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is in charge of the now thriving dinosaur theme park, but once a genetically modified creation breaks loose, it doesn’t exactly obey the park rules. Jurassic World opens Friday, June 12.
Nerd Report: Have you gone to Universal Studios as a tourist and gone on the Jurassic Park ride?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, I have. I have an annual pass so I go every other weekend with my friends. I go on the Jurassic Park ride a lot. I’m going to be going a lot this summer.
Nerd Report: Did that make it extra special to be in a Jurassic Park movie?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, I’ve actually never been on the Jurassic Park ride until September. We were just finishing up some extra stuff a few months after the film, a couple of other shots and then Colin was like, “We’re going to go to the Jurassic Park ride. You wanna go?” I’m like, “Oh, no, no, I don’t like drop rides. I’m fine.” Then I told my parents and they were like, “Oh yeah, we should go.” So then all right, I’ll go. Then I told Nick and he went with us as well. We finally got on and I was nervous about this because I don’t really like rides that much. Then when we got down the drop I was like, “That was so much fun! I’m going to go on this so many times!” It was really fun.
Nerd Report: If you don’t like drop rides, how did you like falling out of the gyrosphere?
Ty Simpkins: That was fine because that wasn’t that high off the ground and that was on a pad. It was less than four feet.
Nerd Report: In the rest of the gyrosphere scene, what is it like to ride in them?
Ty Simpkins: It was on a track and at first it was really exciting, and then it kind of got annoying because you’ve been sitting down for a really long time. We filmed that entire sequence for two months.
Nerd Report: How did you like sitting in the splash zone for the Mosasaurus?
Ty Simpkins: That was fun, that was fun. It started out really fun getting wet and then it got to nighttime and it got pretty cold. People were splashing people with hoses.
Nerd Report: That scene takes place during the day. Wouldn’t they have to stop when it gets dark?
Ty Simpkins: Well, you know that part where they go under into that little underground area? That was filmed at nighttime so they could get the blue shine.
Nerd Report: And you were still wet?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah.
Nerd Report: So how many times did they splash you?
Ty Simpkins: I want to say 10 times maybe.
Nerd Report: Did they put anything in the water for you to look at?
Ty Simpkins: No, no. That was all green screen and they just had huge hoses spraying people.
Nerd Report: How cool was it to ride in the classic Jurassic Park jeeps?
Ty Simpkins: It was really cool. I was so excited when I first saw it. I got to ride in it and sit in it and that was just so cool. I actually got to drive it off camera behind the scenes.
Nerd Report: You don’t have your driver’s license yet so who let you do that?
Ty Simpkins: The stunt coordinator and my parents.
Nerd Report: Since you saw the movie as a kid, was it weird to see the jeeps from the inside?
Ty Simpkins: No, I think it was really cool actually to just be inside of it and see how it all works and looks and smells.
Nerd Report: Oh, what did it smell like?
Ty Simpkins: It smelled like old car. It also smelled like mud.
Nerd Report: Are you able to cry on your own when the scene calls for it?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, yeah. I’ve got to think about some stuff first. Then I’ve got to take a few minutes and I can get it done.
Nerd Report: Can you share what sort of things you think about to make yourself cry?
Ty Simpkins: No, no, I can’t, sorry.
Nerd Report: Sure, that’s personal. When the Pteranodons stick their beaks up to your face, is there by any chance a real beak up close to you?
Ty Simpkins: Sometimes they have little plastic heads for CGI stuff and they put it really up close to our faces. So that was kind of fun.
Nerd Report: How about the waterfall jump. Did they let you jump into the water?
Ty Simpkins: No, but they did let us swim at the end. Then in that shot where we land in the water, that was filmed that day we actually went to Universal Studios to ride the Jurassic Park ride. They had us eight feet up on a crane and then we jumped down into the water and landed. We had to stay under for a few seconds and then we got to go up.
Nerd Report: Did you get to meet Steven Spielberg as your producer?
Ty Simpkins: Yes, I did. He came on the last day when we were doign a photo shoot. He came in for that and we all got to meet him and take photos with him.
Nerd Report: Did you get to talk to him?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, he’s really nice. He’s really very nice.
Nerd Report: What did you get to talk to him about?
Ty Simpkins: I got to talk to him about just how I loved his movies, and this movie.
Nerd Report: Did he have any advice for you?
Ty Simpkins: I didn’t really ask him about that kind of stuff.
Nerd Report: Is it a little weird to you that there’s an Insidious 3 out this weekend and you’re not in it?
Ty Simpkins: It’s not that weird. I hope it does well and I wish them the best.
Nerd Report: Maybe one day we can catch up with Dalton Lambert when he’s a little older.
Ty Simpkins: Yeah.
Nerd Report: What are we going to see you in next?
Ty Simpkins: Hopefully another Jurassic Park film.
Nerd Report: That would be great, but those take a long time. Are you going to work on anything this summer?
Ty Simpkins: A film is coming out next year called The Nice Guys and I’m in a small part, but it’s Shane Black with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.
Nerd Report: I heard about that, it’s a detective story, right?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, yeah, a detective story about a murder mystery and they have to find out who murdered this porn star.
Nerd Report: Is Shane Black a little different to work on in The Nice Guys than on Iron Man 3?
Ty Simpkins: No, he’s still the same about it.
Nerd Report: When you’re out, do people recognize you from Iron Man 3 or Insidious?
Ty Simpkins: Not too much. Sometimes I go to the movies with my friends and they recognize me there, but not too much.
Nerd Report: Besides movies and your career, do you have any plans for school or college?
Ty Simpkins: Yeah, I want to go to college. I want to go to Washington State.