[Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Safety Not Guaranteed follow.]
How does a filmmaker with one indie land a job directing something as big as Jurassic World? It helps if that indie is a hit, either with critics or audiences or accolades, and probably if it's a genre film. But it wasn't just that Colin Trevorrow had delivered a popular sci-fi movie in Safety Not Guaranteed that attracted producer Steven Spielberg to his talents and blockbuster movie potential.
"I looked at his movie and thought it was really good," Spielberg says in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "but I wasn't convinced until the last scene 'cause that film could have gone two ways. When this [character] who I thought was certifiably insane actually invented something that could travel through time, that crystallized the choice that it had to be Colin to do Jurassic World."
The thing is, Safety Not Guaranteed did indeed go both ways. The original ending was the complete opposite, with the time machine not working. When that fact is brought up in the interview, Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall states, "Well, he didn't have the money to do the effect." But the original ending is actually the one that was in Derek Connolly's screenplay.
"Had that machine not worked, Colin would not have directed Jurassic World," Spielberg admits before going into the younger filmmaker's other reasons for being a good fit for the sequel. "Colin was a fan of all the Jurassic movies. And he spoke so much like a moviemaker, not like an essayist. I've heard a lot of people talking about movies in very analytical ways, and some of that is impressive and some of that is just analytical. But Colin spoke about the audience and what it felt like to be in the movie theater watching the Jurassic movies. And then he took the other approach of talking about structure and how he would tell the story. And he basically sold himself to me in the room."
So maybe it wasn't just the Safety Not Guaranteed ending that clinched the deal ("We spent a lot of time with Colin," says producer Kathleen Kennedy), but it seems to have been a big factor in getting Spielberg on board after Kennedy and Marshall were already interested in Trevorrow. Imagine if it hadn't gone the way it did. Maybe Trevorrow also wouldn't be set up to direct Star Wars Episode IX.