Warwick native Colby Boothman has seen it all. After moving from Warwick to New Orleans at age 14 he’s witnessed the near destruction of Earth at the hands of a sentient cosmic cloud, demonic possessions, learned the ancient ways of the Jedi and, most recently, gone toe-to-toe with a pack of velociraptors alongside in a Central American wildlife preserve.
Okay, fine, he’s appeared in Green Lantern and The Last Exorcism Part II. He’s also an official Lucasfilm sword master, which is apparently a real job none of our guidance counselor’s thought to suggest. But right now you can see him in Jurassic World, the sequel/revival to Steven Spielberg’s industry redefining super-blockbuster Jurassic Park.
Colby made a special appearance at Providence Place to introduce a special screening of Jurassic World and was kind enough to chat with us for a few minutes about continuing the legacy of Jurassic Park and cold chillin’ with Chewbacca.
How do you get from Warwick to Jurassic World?
My mom does disaster relief and she was working in New Orleans [after Katrina]. My parents and I moved to New Orleans while she was working there. After I finished high school they were filming Green Lantern there and I was like, “Okay, I want to go and try to be on that for a day”. Day one on set, Martin Campbell [director of Green Lantern] introduced me to the stunt coordinator and so I was doing runs up against a camera that was going 60 miles per hour and all kinds of crazy things. This was never really an industry that I was looking towards or ever dreamed of getting into but the pieces fell into place and I fell in love with working on film. One project has just lead to the next and here we are at Jurassic World.
Did you do stunt stuff before that?
So you just decided that you want to try to be in Green Lantern?
Yeah. That’s really what that was. The director liked my look and wanted to put me close to the camera and had me do some stunts. From there people kept picking me for different things, casting directors would bring me into auditions. I just started booking roles.
What was your experience with Jurassic Park growing up?
Jurassic Park was probably the scariest movie I ever saw. My parents showed it to me when I was like six. It scared me to death and I fell in love with it. Steven Spielberg did an amazing job bringing those dinosaurs to life.
Did you feel a burden of responsibility with it being so long since the last Jurassic Park came out and how big the original movie was?
This film is made entirely by fans, for the fans. There’s a responsibility for everyone to do their very best. They do it because they love it. Everybody is fantastic. The director [Colin Trevorrow] and ILM, they did an incredible job. It’s incredible to watch and incredible to be a part of it.
What was your experience like on set?
I worked on this for about a month. We shot in Hawaii and New Orleans. We built our studios up at NASA. It was the only big open space where we could build anything that we wanted. The most amazing thing that I’ve ever seen in person was the Main Street set. They took over the Six Flags parking lot in New Orleans and they built the Main Street set [there]. When you see Main Street in the film? They built that. There’s a working Starbucks. It was a real place. Just being able to walk around that space was incredible. There were over a thousand extras walking around in Jurassic World t-shirts. To see that was surreal. It it didn’t have to be CG [computer generated] for a set, they built it. The raptor paddock that I worked on… to walk into that paddock and be surrounded by what is unmistakably Jurassic Park is incredible.
Were there any practical effects for the dinosaurs or was it mostly CG?
It’s mostly CG, about 10% animatronic. With Stan Winston passing away it’s a lot harder. He was the genius behind creating the animatronics and it’s hard to do all that without him but still, what they did with the animatronic in this film is incredible.
You’re also a sword master for Lucasfilm?
I am. I recently did Star Wars Battlefront, which is a game I’ve been waiting ten years for. I did the lightsaber motion capture for some of the characters. I can’t say which, but if you’re a fan of Star Wars Battlefront you have to go watch the videos that come from E3. If you think the trailer is awesome, the game it ten time better.
I want to ask you if you know anything about Star Wars: The Force Awakens but I’m afraid of Lucasfilm G-Men showing up.
You know, I was just with [Jurassic World producer] Frank Marshall and [Star Wars: The Force Awakens producer, Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy at the Museum of the Rockies and they’re really excited about it, as well as myself. There’s not really much I can say about it. I’ll be in Orlando tomorrow for Star Wars Weekend. I get to hang out with my friend Peter Mayhew [Chewbacca] and Ray Park [Darth Maul] will also be there. It’s going to be a really good time.