Warning: This post contains some minor Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom plot spoilers.
With box-office hits like Black Panther, Deadpool 2, and Ocean’s 8, Hollywood movie studios have seen a serious return on investment this past year by diversifying some of their biggest franchises. That trend continues with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which adds Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith into the five-films-and-counting Jurassic series as new heroes and potential dinosaur food.
Pineda plays paleo-veterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez, while Smith is IT specialist Franklin Webb, both of whom join returning dino experts Owen Grady and Claire Dearing (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) in making the perilous journey to and from Isla Nublar. However, as Pineda revealed in a recent Yahoo Entertainment-moderated chat at Build Series Studio, there’s an important aspect of her character that’s not in the movie: Rodriguez is a lesbian, a detail disclosed in a scene that didn’t make the final cut. (Watch the clip above.)
As Pineda explains, the scene in question happens relatively early in the film when Zia and Owen are riding together in a military vehicle alongside a group of mercenaries employed by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), aide to wealthy scientist Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who worked with Jurassic Park founder John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to create the cloning technology that brought dinosaurs back to life. On Lockwood’s orders, Mills spearheads a rescue mission to the now-shuttered Jurassic World to evacuate some of the dinosaurs before they experience another extinction event — an erupting volcano.
But before the action kicks in, Owen and Zia are still in the “getting to know you” phase, so the paleo-veterinarian takes a moment to size up the ex-raptor trainer. “I look at Chris and I’m like: ‘Yeah, square jaw, good bone structure, tall, muscles,’” Pineda remembers. “‘I don’t date men, but if I did, it would be you. It would gross me out, but I’d do it.’ I love that I’m looking at Chris Pratt, the hottest guy in the world, and I’m like, ‘It would gross me out, but I guess I would do it!’ It was also cool, because it was a little insight into my character. But they cut it.”
According to Pineda, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s creative team of director J.A. Bayona and co-writer/producer Colin Trevorrow were behind the choice to have Rodriguez reveal her sexual orientation. The duo also made the call to cut the scene, a decision that was largely due to run time. “Originally the cut was two hours and 40 minutes, and they were like, ‘This is too long,’” the actress tells us, adding that the scene ultimately wasn’t “relevant to the story, but it was a little glimmer into who she is.”
While that’s an understandable explanation, what makes the omission notable is that Fallen Kingdom is the latest blockbuster to downplay or elide the question of a character’s sexuality. Last year, the Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok reportedly cut a scene that confirmed that Tessa Thompson’s Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie, was bisexual — a bit of backstory that the actress had previously disclosed on Twitter. Meanwhile, the reboot of Power Rangers made a point of identifying one of its heroes as a lesbian, but only in a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. And then there’s Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, about which director Bill Condon publicly stated that Josh Gad’s character, LeFou, is gay, but that’s never mentioned directly in the film. Intentional or not, it’s hard to escape the feeling that even as Hollywood is making great strides in improving the gender and racial diversity of its blockbuster offerings, the same isn’t yet true for sexual orientation.
For her part, Pineda says that if she returns for the third Jurassic World adventure — due in theaters on June 11, 2021, with Trevorrow back in the director’s chair — she’d love for Zia’s dating life to be an official part of the franchise’s canon. “I’d like to see more of that,” she remarks pointedly. “Especially in big-ass movies!”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in theaters on June 22.
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