Alan Grant, from the original Jurassic Park (1993), was based on Paleontologist Jack Horner, whom both Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg consulted about dinosaurs behavior. For this film, the character Robert Burke is based on rival paleontologist Robert Bakker, with whom Horner has a friendly feud. Their major disagreement is over the behavior of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Horner argues that T-Rex was a scavenger, while Bakker insists that T-Rex must have been a predator. Horner reportedly asked to have Burke eaten by the T-Rex in this film. Bakker was apparently flattered, and wrote back to Horner, saying "I told you Rex was a predator!"
The snake that crawls into Dr. Robert Burke's shirt is a milk snake, which are completely harmless to humans. They are often confused with the highly-venomous coral snake due to their nearly-identical color patterns.
When Dieter Stark, played by Peter Stormare, is first attacked by the Compys (Compsognathus), he starts yelling and throwing stones at them, then he mumbles parts of various curses in Swedish, however he doesn't complete any of them. Steven Spielberg thought it was excellent and kept the take in the final cut.
The title of the novel was simply "The Lost World", with the cover showing the familiar Jurassic Park logo to establish it as a sequel. However, the studio feared that the public might confuse it with the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic of the same title (the title and many plot elements were indeed deliberate references by Michael Crichton), and originally considered naming the film "The Lost Island". In the end, the novel's title was kept, but "Jurassic Park" was appended to solidify the sequel connection.
As T-rex turns to walk between houses in residential San Diego, he glances at the basketball hoop in the driveway, then makes a distinct dribbling motion with his right arm as he passes behind the house.
Director Steven Spielberg had to attend an early screening for Swingers (1996) in order to give approval for the use of the Jaws (1975) theme. There he was so impressed by Vince Vaughn that he offered him a part in this film.
In the novel of "Jurassic Park", the characters of both John Hammond and Ian Malcolm died (though Malcolm returned in "The Lost World" (1997), explaining that "the doctors did excellent work"). In the film version, however, both characters survived, allowing them to return in this movie.
The gun Roland Tembo wields is a double-barreled rifle chambered in .600 Nitro Express. B. Searcy & Co., of Boron, California custom-made 2 rifles for the film at a total cost of $100,000. Steven Spielberg kept one for his private collection. He has said that he almost never fires it because it hurts his shoulder.
There was a special gadget developed for the movie: strobe lights in the theatre. Theatres had to install strobe lights on the walls. The projectionists had to put some metal-markers on the film itself whenever there was a flash in the film, that triggered the lights in the audience. The problem: there isn't a single flash in the whole movie. So after having installed the very expensive system, there was actually no "correct" moment to put the markers. In their despair, they put the markers somewhere during the storm-scenes. That resulted in either a cascade of strobes or almost none at all, so it was a different experience for watching it in different theaters. The audience was warned in advance, that there were strobe lights in the performance.
Several scenes were deleted from the theatrical cut. Two are included as special features on the DVD and Blu-ray: Peter Ludlow talking to the InGen committee, and Roland and Ajay talking in a Mombasa bar. A shot of Sarah running from the Stegosaurs saying "Isn't it great?" with Malcolm, Nick, and Eddie was cut, but can be seen in the trailer. Much more footage is on the cutting room floor but has not yet been made available outside of stills, adaptations, and scripts: More footage of Malcolm, Nick, and Eddie arriving on the island and setting up base-camp; more dialogue with Sarah and Malcolm on their way back to base-camp, adding background about the time between the films and their relationship; Ludlow drunkenly stumbling and breaking the baby Rex's leg; Kelly telling Malcolm he should marry Sarah. Certain puppets and animatronics created by Stan Winston during filming were later omitted, including several Velociraptors (whose tiger-stripes were far more visible in stills than in the finished film). Scenes such as Pteranodons attacking the helicopter and a Rex attack on the High Hide were developed but never filmed.
Originally, Dr. Ian Malcolm's team included a fifth member, a paleontologist named Dr. Juttson. He was obviously inspired by the character Richard Levine from the novel. Dr. Juttson was dropped due to an already overcrowded cast, and most of his lines were given to Dr. Sarah Harding.
Joe Johnston lobbied for the director's job but schedule problems during the post-production of Jumanji (1995) forced him out. Steven Spielberg was also adamant to direct this sequel himself, promising Johnston the director's chair for the third movie, which he indeed directed.
In the book, Sarah was an animal behaviourologist, not a paleontologist; the paleontologist who Malcolm went to Isla Sorna to save was a man named Richard Levine, a character who only made it to the film as certain aspects of the Sarah character.
Jeff Goldblum hosted Saturday Night Live to promote this film. Four years earlier, he had hosted a few months after Jurassic Park (1993) had opened. That appearance also included a brief appearance by cast mate Laura Dern, with whom Goldblum was romantically involved at the time.
Steven Spielberg and John Williams felt that the score of the film needed to be slightly different to that heard in the original film. Because it was a remote island chain, they added drums and bongos.
Writer David Koepp said that when he was writing the script to this movie, he taped a fan letter next to his computer screen. The letter was from a viewer of the original Jurassic Park (1993) film who complained he "waited too long" to show the dinosaurs in that film.
Steven Spielberg confessed that during production he became increasingly disenchanted with the film, admitting, "I beat myself up... growing more and more impatient with myself... It made me wistful about doing a talking picture, because sometimes I got the feeling I was just making this big silent-roar movie... I found myself saying, 'Is that all there is? It's not enough for me.'"
One shot from the film appears in the original entrance video of the World Wrestling Federation faction Degeneration-X. It's a shot of people running for their lives down the street to escape the rampaging dinosaur. The shot, from which 17 frames are used, occurs at 1:52:57 in the movie, immediately after the bus drives through the video store. The footage was used by the World Wrestling Federation in December 1997, but may have been used earlier than that.
Steven Spielberg originally approached Juliette Binoche about playing the role of Sarah Harding. She supposedly replied that she would appear in the film only if she could "play the dinosaur". The part went to Julianne Moore instead. Binoche had previously declined the part of Dr. Satler in Jurassic Park (1993).
At one point, Roland Tembo says "Let's get this moveable feast underway." In addition to being a reference to Christian feast days which have no fixed date on the calendar, this is also a literary reference. "A Moveable Feast" is the title of Ernest Hemingway's book of memoirs about his days in Paris in the 1920s with other American expatriots and literati.
Using a sign with directions or instructions as a joke. In this case, the T-Rex crosses the pier at the San Diego port bearing a sign that reads, "No animals or vegetables beyond this point."
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The script called for a scene where the Velociraptors got on board the Venture as it was about to set sail. As chaos ensued, the T-Rex also got loose, and killed everything else aboard. This explains why many of the crew members are dead in places the Rex cannot reach. The scene was never filmed.
David Koepp lifted several set pieces from the original Jurassic Park novel for use in this sequel. These include: The procompsognathus attacking the young girl; hiding from the Tyrannosaur behind a waterfall, while the creature tries to find them using its tongue; Dieter Stark being killed by Procompsognathids (Hammond in the novel); Roland Tembo tranquilizing the Tyrannosaur (Robert Muldoon in the novel).
In Michael Crichton's novel, the opposing group on the island is not led by Peter Ludlow (who does not exist in either novel), but rather by Lewis Dodgson, head of the rival company BioSyn, who had hired Dennis Nedry in the previous film. Dodgson hides from the T-Rex under a Jeep with Sarah Harding, who kicks him out to lead the T-Rex away. The T-Rex takes him home to its nest to feed to its young. This is closely paralleled by the fate of Ludlow in the film.
The closing scene of this film, a view of the dinosaurs living undisturbed on the island, includes pterosaurs. They were considered for action sequences in both of the first two films, but these were abandoned, making this brief clip their first onscreen appearance. They featured prominently in the first novel, in a sequence that took place in a pterosaur aviary; this was finally realized in Jurassic Park III (2001).