You don't talk to Jeff Goldblum as much as you hold on for dear life.
The actor, who just received a long-overdue star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- and has been having something of a career second-wind thanks to well-placed roles in movies big and small -- returns to the franchise that made him a household name with "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." And you can feel that electricity running through the legendary actor while talking to him.
For Goldblum, who once more plays the role of scientist and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm in the newest installment in the series, the performance feels just as important as it did the first time around, even if the total runtime adds up to little more than a cameo.
And that kind of effervescent energy is infectious. In our conversation, we talked about returning to the franchise, his many roles as a wacky scientist, whether or not he's seen his Marvel-approved mural in Disneyland, and what he remembers from his excellent performance on "The Simpsons."
It's a wild ride. Hang on.
Moviefone: When you signed on to the first "Jurassic Park" 25 years ago, did you ever think you'd still be playing the character?
Goldblum: No. It's all been lucky, to keep going, you know? I don't think we thought that there'd be any more than just the one. I certainly didn't think about it. And then there was that second one and, here we are, 25 years later, holy cats! It was a total surprise to me.
What was your reaction when they called you and said they wanted you back for "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom?"
I was very, very thrilled because I have nothing but rosy associations with all my experiences with them ... Michael Crichton's book, I loved. And I love that part. Steven Spielberg was a once-in-a-lifetime -- or, in that case, [a] twice-in-a-lifetime experience, working with him. And in the ensuing years, people have come up and I realized how thrilled people were with those movies. And when they called me and said J.A. Bayona -- because I had seen all of his other movies and I was a fan of his -- I wanted to work with him. Colin Trevorrow is just wonderful. He wrote and directed the last one, and wrote this one, and he's just great. So I was thrilled. I love this current cast. Chris and Bryce are spectacular. I was just delighted.
You've kind of become the "Jurassic Park" ambassador -- you're part of the videogame that is coming out, too, and you have made appearances at the theme park.
Yeah, that's true. Well, the videogame, they were very nice. They wrote a lot of Ian Malcolm-esque lines for me. I said a lot of them; probably more than in any of the movies. I met with them for a couple of days and recorded stuff. But I know that's got fans, so I was happy to do that. They did a state-of-the-art job with that kind of stuff.The end of this movie leaves things pretty open -- would you be interested in coming back for the third film?
Well, I am enjoying life. I want to keep going and keep waking up and taking nourishment and having my oatmeal and everything. This is a thrilling part of life. On one hand, I've done so much with these and I feel so satisfied, so if nothing else happened I'd feel grateful and lucky. But, if anybody felt like I could contribute something, I'd offer my humble service to anything that I might do to continue telling the story.
Ooooh, well -- I love those actors. Who knows what will happen. They're cooking it up right now, I think. They've said publicly that, by summer of 2021, they're hoping to have something out. (Editor's note: the third "Jurassic World" movie is currently slated for release June 11, 2021.)
Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael are writing the script now. And this character is so rich, I must say, it was delicious to try and reinvestigate [Malcolm's] thinking and feeling, which is kind of rich on the issues of making the planet work for everyone and being passionately anti-greed and anti-militaristic. He's an interesting cat.
You've played a lot of wacky scientists. Is Ian Malcolm your favorite?
Well, it's tough to play favorites. Now that I'm a father, I know that's not the coolest thing to do. Let's see ... Ian Malcolm, well, I'm immersed in the world right now so I'm particularly fond or a little bit in love with that character and that world, that's true. Who are the others?Well, Seth Brundle from "The Fly."
Oh, yes. Love Seth Brundle.
Your character in "Independence Day" wasn't exactly a scientist, but he was scientifically minded.
Yeah, some kind of smarty pants, some kind of MIT-trained man of technology. Hey, I have something in the can where I played a scientist. I played, in this movie called "The Mountain," directed by Rick Alverson, who made "The Comedy" and "Entertainment," two movies that I really like, and I play -- in 1954 -- a kind of version of the real-life character who pioneered pre-frontal lobotomies in America. He's a doctor and he's fallen from grace in our story, and he goes on a drunken adventure in the Pacific Northwest with Tye Sheridan under his wing. And Udo Kier is in it. It'll be an artful offering and I had a great time doing it.
I ran into Udo Kier in a furniture store in Palm Springs a few weeks ago.
Recently, you entered another great franchise as the Grandmaster in "Thor Ragnarok." What was that experience like?
I loved it to pieces. Taika Waititi is very brilliant and a comedic force of nature, and we had a great time together. We laughed up a storm. We improvised a lot. He made up stuff and I made up stuff. And all of the people at Marvel are really great to work with. They're very brilliant and creative and have great integrity. They want to make popular movies, but they want to make good movies. And they have newfangled ways of doing it and I enjoyed them to no end.
Do you think you'll come back in that Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Who knows. I have no idea. But I can imagine. The Grandmaster is immortal. You can't kill him. I think he played some game with the devil, and I think -- for he and his brother -- they got immortality. And he has more superpowers than anybody we've ever seen, but just amuses himself with games, as we've seen. It's fertile ground.Have you seen your mural at Disneyland?
That's so funny. I haven't seen that mural in person, but I've see it on Instagram. I like that. I've having an ecstatic moment, wiping all the pieces off the board. And I'm in my sandals! My feet are on display, too! I always like that.
Before I go, I have to ask you about your episode of "The Simpsons," which is one of my favorites ever.
Well, thank you so much. Those people are so great. It was fun and funny to do. Yes, to be the agent and manager and advisor to Troy McClure -- and to get him to resurrect his career with some sex scandal with a fish -- it's always a good idea! Yes! Good advice! I haven't done that myself, but I have it up my sleeve.
"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" stomps into cinemas everywhere this week.