James Cameron Almost Directed Jurassic Park
The battle to adapt Jurassic Park to screen started and ended before the novel even came out. Steven Spielberg was in touch with Michael Crichton while the author was still working on the book, and he got the people at Universal bidding for the rights. Also in the bidding were Warner Bros., who would have put Tim Burton at the helm, and Columbia, who'd have picked Richard Donner.
James Cameron was in the mix too. He came within hours of winning the rights, he claims. He says it's for the best that Spielberg got the job, though. Cameron would have made a much more grown-up picture, while Jurassic Park worked well in Spielberg's hands because "dinosaurs are for eight-year-olds." This statement of Cameron's is what is known as a humblebrag, as well as a left-handed compliment.
Just what would a Cameron Jurassic Park have looked like? We have a pretty good idea, thanks to the rest of his filmography. We've already seen how he handles a battle against a predator, maybe even a mother predator with eggs. In his own words, Cameron says his Jurassic Park would have been "Aliens with dinosaurs," "further, nastier, much nastier" than the movie we got.
But unless he planned to depart dramatically from the book, horror is only part of the Jurassic Park story. Before that, we have a very non-Aliens setup in which the character marvel at the wonders of Isla Nublar and its wildlife. We have a pretty good idea of what that would look in Cameron's hands as well. We've already seen him make a movie that starts out that way: Avatar.
Yeah, we were all so busy patting ourselves on the back for recognizing the similarities between Avatar's plot and so many previous natives-versus-invaders stories that we missed its other influence. The direction in Avatar closely resembles that other jungle blockbuster, the one that had been the highest-grossing film of all time till Cameron grabbed the title. We're talking about those scenes of characters gaping at the landscape (sometimes by air), and the ones of them standing in awe of giant animals. Few movies set those same moods—those scenes in Avatar did a better job of capturing their sprit of their Jurassic Park counterparts than the Jurassic World movies have.
We don't know if Cameron would have also included scenes of a hero using his member to sexually dominate the wildlife like Avatar did, but if so, that would really explain what he meant when he said his version would be "nastier, much nastier."
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Top image: Universal Pictures, Gage Skidmore