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What links Nixon and the Kennedys to the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park? We go down a rabbit hole to find out | Culture

Fossil films

Cinemas may be in danger of extinction but some dinosaurs are keeping blockbuster season alive: first the revived Top Gun; now the sixth Jurassic Park movie. This picks up four years after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Original JP alumni Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum join Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt for this latest sojourn in the dinosaur cinematic universe (DCU).

Scene from Jurassic World: Dominion
The sixth Jurassic Park film stars Chris Pratt… Photograph: AP

In the genes

Leading man Pratt is married to Katherine Schwarzenegger, who comes from a family as embedded in US life as the fossils themselves. Her father is Arnold Schwarzenegger and her mother is the journalist and author Maria Shriver.

Katherine Schwarzenegger
… who is married to Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver … Photograph: Getty Images

Running mates

Shriver’s mother was Eunice Kennedy: she founded the Special Olympics movement and was, you know, a Kennedy. Shriver’s father, Sargent Shriver, meanwhile, was George McGovern’s running mate in his landslide presidential defeat by Richard Nixon in 1972. Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 offers a wild account of that dismal election.

American politician and activist Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr in 1956
… whose father, Sargent, was George McGovern’s running mate, defeated by … Photograph: Getty Images

You’ll always have Nixon to kick around

Dick Nixon’s travails have inspired many film-makers. Recent miniseries Gaslit (StarzPlay) has Julia Roberts as the woman who first raised the alarm about Watergate, while Alan J Pakula’s All the President’s Men is an enduring paranoid classic. The 1999 comedy Dick, featuring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, reimagines the story with teenage verve, while Oliver Stone and Anthony Hopkins gave him the biopic treatment with bloated bellicosity.

Richard Nixon in 1974
… Richard Nixon, who was the inspiration for many films … Photograph: Getty Images


Peter Morgan’s 2006 play Frost/Nixon gave a somewhat sympathetic airing to the disgraced president in its account of his interviews with David Frost in 1977; the 2008 film adaptation was directed by Ron Howard. Ron’s daughter is, of course, Bryce Dallas, who has been walking with dinosaurs since 2015’s Jurassic World, which kickstarted the latest round of the DCU.

Ron Howard
… including Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard, whose daughter, Bryce Dallas, stars in the Jurassic films. Photograph: Getty Images

Pairing notes

Watch Dominion’s director, Colin Trevorrow, started out with a small indie. His 2012 sci-fi comedy Safety Not Guaranteed is “funny in a troubling, low-key way”, wrote Philip French.

Eat Chris Pratt was spotted as a young waiter at a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant. We can’t vouch for the chain, but for New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, you’ll need a lot of butter, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Black and white cartoon rabbits going down holes in a red line

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