The pair, who are gearing up to reprise their roles as palaeobotanist Ellie Sattler and palaeontologist Alan Grant in “Jurassic World Dominion,” reflected on Steven Spielberg’s decision to cast them opposite each other as love interests in the original film.
Dern was 23 at the time and Neill was in his early 40s.
“I am 20 years older than Laura! Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady,” Neill told The (London) Sunday Times of the casting.
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He added: “It never occurred to me until I opened a magazine and there was an article called ‘Old geezers and gals.’ People like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery acting with much younger people. And there I was, on the list. I thought, ‘Come on. It can’t be true.’ “
Ford starred in “Six Days, Seven Nights” in 1998 opposite Anne Heche when he was 55 and she was 29. Connery was 39 years older that Catherine Zeta Jones in the 1999 movie “Entrapment.”
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Dern also discussed being 20 years junior to Neill. “Our age gap in ‘Jurassic Park’ was completely inappropriate,” she said, looking at it through today’s lens.
At the time, she said, she thought it was “completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill.”
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“And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, ‘Wow! We’re not the same age?’ ” Dern reflected.
“Jurassic World Dominion” is out June 9.