A raptor almost bit my head off, today. Well, an actor in a 140-pound dino suit almost bit my head off | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A raptor almost bit my head off, today. Well, an actor in a 140-pound dino suit almost bit my head off

A behind the scenes look at Jurassic World Live

Jurassic World Live is on stage at PPG Paints Arena all weekend, and from what we at the behind-the-scenes event were told and shown, I went from skeptic to believer.

It's easy to become numb to media that on its surface appears to be an easy money grab off an established franchise. And I'm guilty of rolling my eyes at the TV commercial for Jurassic World Live. (To be fair, I roll my eyes at 90 percent of what happens around me.)    

But after getting a look at the set, one of the dinosaurs, and that weird orb conveyance — which was built specifically for this show, as the orbs featured in the Jurassic World movie were computer-generated — it was hard not to get excited about the show based solely on its production.
Actors, who end up strapped into 140-pound dinosaur suits, audition for the dinosaur rolls by wearing the kind of dinosaur puppets you'd see in a children's library and "acting like dinosaurs."  I wasn't told how accurate their prancing and neck-craning has to be before they are then flown to a location where the dinosaur suits are kept.
 
They are then evaluated in the suit and their ability to use the mechanics that bring the dinosaurs to life. The role of dinosaur is so physically taxing that the production company travels with its own gym and athletic trainer to keep its actors in top shape. 
click to enlarge Performance Director AJ Peterson show how the dinosaur heads and jaws move - CP PHOTO: JOSH OSWALD
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
Performance Director AJ Peterson show how the dinosaur heads and jaws move
There are about 21 dinosaurs involved in the show, including Blue the velociraptor and the genetically engineered hell beast indominus rex that Chris Pratt's character tries to warn everybody about but, well, you know. Most of the dinos are actors in rigs, but the larger dinosaurs are operated via remote control.
 
Jurassic World Live falls somewhere along the timeline of Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and was created with consultation from Steven, Spielberg who directed the first two films and has been an executive producer on most all of the subsequent movies. The story follows an intern who was trapped in the park after indominus did what indominuses do, which is murder everything and everyone, in Jurassic World.
click to enlarge The actor who manipulates Blue the velociraptor legs popping out from the bottom of the suit - CP PHOTO: JOSH OSWALD
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
The actor who manipulates Blue the velociraptor legs popping out from the bottom of the suit
Audiences who go to see Jurassic World Live are going to get the roars, the close calls, and maybe even some of the carnage that keeps fans of this franchise glued to the screen. But this time, you'll get to see it in live-action. And I'd be lying if I told you that raptor wasn't terrifying, even when you do see the human legs behind all the scripted mayhem.    
click to enlarge Blue knows who the enemy of the people is - CP PHOTO: JOSH OSWALD
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
Blue knows who the enemy of the people is

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