Joseph Mazzello plays bass guitarist John Deacon in the upcoming Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And in honor of the much-anticipated film’s release, we asked the actor to look back at one of his earliest — and most unforgettable — roles: Tim in 1993’s “Jurassic Park.”
“When I first read the script, I was scared to death,” Mazzello told TODAY of the movie, in which he played the grandson of park creator John Hammond. “It just seemed incredibly intense and really fun. And my imagination just ran completely wild. I was really looking forward to see these dinosaurs. I remember that for the first couple weeks or about a month that we didn't do any scenes with the dinosaurs. And I was just dying to see them. And the first one I saw was the triceratops laying there when he's sick and just couldn't believe my eyes at how incredibly lifelike it was.”
He added, “To this day I feel like the animatronics with the computer generated CGI elements, that the way they were married in that movie, it stands the test of time. And I don't know that I've seen a film even since then that has really understood how you need both of those elements together to trick your eye into believing that everything is really there.”
Mazzello’s favorite scenes included “anything that involved climbing.” “I really had no fear heights as a kid,” he revealed.
One of his most intense moments of filming was during the famous kitchen scene, when Tim is being chased into a freezer.
“It was a raptor on wheels that was to follow me, and I'm supposed to go left, and it's supposed to go to the right,” he recalled. “We did a bunch of takes. And one time I went left and I sort of turned around to look up and see the raptor turning the same way as me. And its claw, which was metal, hit me in the head because I was that height. And I fell down. I was a little bit dazed. It also was my birthday. I turned 9 years old. And so Steven (Spielberg) after checking that I was okay, said, ‘I think this is the perfect time for this,’ and had the entire crew sing happy birthday to me.
Mazzello’s favorite part about his character was that “he was a little bit of a wise guy” around onscreen sister Lex (Ariana Richards).
“I have an older sister,” he said. “And so it was sort of fun to tease and poke and prod Ariana the way I would like my own sister.”
Mazzello also had a playful relationship with the adult cast members, such as Jeff Goldblum, who’d entertain the kids by coming up with skits for them to perform during downtime.
“The entire cast was so warm and friendly to us kids. You know, we never felt like outsiders. Or we never felt, like, condescended to. We felt like part of the gang,” he said. “It was just a really just warm and sort of fun atmosphere whenever Jeff was around. It was awesome.”
Mazzello says “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which opens Nov. 2, was “another one of those completely iconic out-of-body experiences that I'm just going to remember for my entire life.”
He added, “What ‘Jurassic Park’ was for my childhood, I feel like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is for my adult life.”