Wait, What? My Coworker was a Voice-Over Hyperventilator for 'Jurassic Park'?

One never knows what each new day will bring. Case in point: today at the office, chatting about today's opening of Jurassic World, KQED Arts writer and editor Emma Silvers let it slip that the sound of her breathing can be heard in the original 1993 film Jurassic Park.

This is not a fact that is easily ignored, so I DMed her furiously about it for the rest of the day.

Emma! So, wait, you were really in Jurassic Park?

Well, kind of! The sound of me hyperventilating was. Just in a couple scenes, there's probably less than a minute of it altogether.

Really? This is crazy and I have so many questions. Starting with: which scenes?

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The scene in the car, when the kids are left alone and the T-Rex is attacking. And then also in the kitchen, when they're scrambling around hiding from the Velociraptors (I think)? I guess the main times you hear child-size hyperventilating in general.

But you yourself aren't pictured in the movie -- so the original actors' breathing was like, not convincing enough? Are you telling me you were employed as a voice-over child hyperventilator?

Well, "employed" would imply that I was paid, which I was not. I don't really know what was wrong with the original audio -- I think it was mainly the boy -- but for some reason it wasn't worth it for them to get the actors back in the studio. And my dad was working on the movie -- he's a sound editor at Skywalker/Lucasfilm -- and I was eight years old, so he just brought me in.

Do you remember much about the session? Did they just show you terrifying images of dinosaurs attacking people and record your natural reaction, or did you have to get all Stanislavsky and "in the zone" at the age of eight?

I remember they were working on that chase scene with the rearview mirror gag, where Jeff Goldblum is all "faster, faster, must go faster," so we watched that a bunch of times. And they must have showed me the car scene. It wasn't my natural reaction, but I think the bulk of the direction was like, "You are very scared because you think you're about to be eaten by a dinosaur."

That's scary enough for an eight-year-old.

It was. I recall that it also seemed vaguely plausible. Those special effects looked damn good in 1993.

So the movie comes out, you go to see it in the theater, and... did you recognize your own breathing? Did you jump up and be like, "THAT'S ME, HUFFING AND PUFFING, RIGHT THERE, Y'ALL"?

You know, I don't actually remember going to see it in theaters. I must've told a lot of people though, because I know I was cool in elementary school because of it for about six months. That was actually the coolest I've ever been. It came out in the summer of '93, so...yeah, the next fall, fourth grade, was probably the peak of my popularity as a person.

What about now? Has it been demoted to just some random errata from your past that comes up from time to time? I mean, on weeks like this with Jurassic World coming out, you must be talking about it more and more.

Yeah, about a dozen people have asked me in the past week if I'm in Jurassic World. Which, I'm sorry to say, I am not -- they have yet to ask me back for any of the sequels. It has disappointed some of my friends, and I am trying not to take it personally. I should probably start acting like they asked and I declined, though, right? SORRY SPIELBERG, I'M OUT THE GAME.

Are parts of you in any other '90s movies? Did your dad make you cry for the soundtrack to Home Alone or anything?

Sadly, no. I know at "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" once they had a bunch of us run and stomp on a sound stage, I think for a scene in that Hugh Grant movie Nine Months? Which was terrible, right? I don't know if I ever saw it.

Let me check with my wife, she's the Hugh Grant expert.

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So yeah, it was awful. But speaking of Jurassic Park, there's a scene with kids and dinosaurs in Nine Months. And wait, Jeff Goldblum is in it, too! I guess the real question after all this is: are you now friends with Jeff Goldblum because you breathed in his movie?

Oh boy. Not in real life, no. But don't get me started on my love for that man, which, now that I think about it, germinated with Jurassic Park. The Fly and Earth Girls Are Easy (aka the Geena Davis era) were probably more instrumental in developing that. I've also thought a lot about buying a print of this Jeff Goldblum oil painting, and the song about the painting is now stuck in my head.  I have not yet met him in person.

We need to make this happen somehow.

You know, if it's supposed to happen, it'll happen. Life finds a way.

 

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If you are Jeff Goldblum and are reading this right now, please get in touch with Emma Silvers on Twitter at @emmaruthless. She breathed in your movie when she was eight! It's the least you can do, my friend.

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