Role Recall: Jeff Goldblum on 'The Fly' makeup, why he unbuttoned in 'Jurassic Park,' and his Cate Blanchett crush

Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Yahoo Movies

Love for Jeff Goldblum has been in full ‘blum’ lately. The actor/jazzman/international treasure has been receiving the type of internet tributes in the past couple of years usually reserved for the likes of Bill Murray or Nicolas Cage. (Just see the EDM remix of his Jurassic Park laugh, or how many Jeff Goldblum shower curtains one can purchase online.)

And a new wave of high-profile roles for the 65-year-old Pittsburgh native has coincided with the online love. In 2016, Goldblum revived his role of the brilliant scientist David Levinson in Independence Day: Resurgence, and later this year, he’ll return to dinosaur-inhabited lands as the wisecracking, chaos-loving Dr. Ian Malcolm in the sequel-to-reboot Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

In between those sequels, though, came the clearest sign yet that Goldblum is back in the highest fashion: a gig in the Marvel tentpole Thor: Ragnarok, where the King of Eccentricity got to riff right and left as a candy-colored gladiatorial overlord, appropriately called “the Grandmaster.”

In a new Role Recall interview with Yahoo Entertainment (see above), the infinitely enthusiastic screen icon talked us through his most beloved films, from ensemble bonding in his 1983 breakout The Big Chill to laughing it up (and unbuttoning that shirt) in 1993’s megahit Jurassic Park to beholding the power of Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok.

The Big Chill (1983)
The Lawrence Kasdan-directed drama featured a powerhouse cast — including Glenn Close, William Hurt, and Kevin Kline — as college chums who reunite after one of their friends commits suicide. The deceased was played by Kevin Costner in his film debut, but his flashback scene, which Goldblum described in detail, was famously cut from the finished work. “It was poetical, and metaphorical,” Goldblum said of the foreshadowing sequence, in which Alex (Costner) hesitates to carve a Thanksgiving turkey with a sharp knife.

Jeff Goldblum in <em>The Fly</em>&nbsp;(Fox)
Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (Fox)

The Fly (1986)
Goldblum spent five hours in a dentist’s chair getting transformed into a man-fly hybrid by eventual Best Makeup Oscar winners Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis in David Cronenberg’s horror remake. Still, as unsightly as the feature’s creature would be, the film turned Goldblum into an unlikely sex symbol, even if he’s reticent to acknowledge it. “I don’t who says that, but there you go,” he said. “I had my flowy locks at that point.” Though he will admit that once Seth Brundle’s DNA was mashed up with an insect’s, he’s given to “volatile storms” and “a fevered, unquenchable sexuality.”

Jurassic Park (1993)
Dr. Ian Malcolm’s laugh (or “suggestive gurgle,” as Goldblum calls it), heard aboard a chopper with Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie (Laura Dern), came on one of the first days of shooting Steven Spielberg’s beloved dinosaur thriller. “We were on me, and it just occurred. … I don’t think it even said [he laughs] in the script.” (FYI, you can play Goldblum’s Jurassic laugh for 10 hours straight on YouTube if you’re so inclined.)

As for his most meme’d moment, Malcolm’s oddly timed chest-baring after breaking his leg during a T. rex attack, Goldblum did his darnedest to justify it. “It’s supposed to be Costa Rica, right? So things are hot and I’m sure I’m in some sort of fever. So all the logic is that we gotta get some of these wet clothes off immediately,” he said. “As I remember, I don’t think anybody fought me on that.”

Jeff Goldblum in <em>Jurassic Park</em>&nbsp;(Universal)
Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (Universal)

Independence Day (1996)
After Jurassic, Goldblum scored what was then the second-biggest hit of his career three years later, with Roland Emmerich’s alien-invasion blockbuster. There was a moment that linked both films: As Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and Levinson make an escape on a space shuttle, the latter yells out “Must go faster!,” a line Goldblum originally used in Jurassic Park (and which Emmerich had him re-do in post-production). “I hope that Mr. Steven Spielberg looked kindly upon that. We appropriated it only with the utmost affection,” he said. “It was an homage. That’s a French word, it means some kind of glazed donut, I believe.”

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Goldblum has appeared in two films directed by the quirky auteur Wes Anderson, with a third (the animated Isle of Dogs) set to open next month. All three have co-starred Bill Murray. “I love him to pieces, and he’s an interesting treasure, and international treasure,” he said of the actor. Goldblum particularly enjoyed staying across the hall from Murray at a bed and breakfast in Görlitz, Germany, while filming Budapest. “That’s what Wes Anderson does, he sets up these event locations and beautiful casts where you have a spectacular, unforgettable experience.”

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Marvel’s “threequel” would be the second film to co-star Goldblum and Cate Blanchett after The Life Aquatic — but the pair didn’t get to share scenes in either of them. They did share one day on the set of the Taika Waititi-directed Ragnarok, so big-time Blanchett fan Goldblum made the most of it. “I was able to overlap her last day of shooting, and I came to the big soundstage and watched her, saw her again, and had moments of enchanting pleasantry — enchanting for me,” he said. “I watched her act. I think she’s magically spectacular.”

Watch Goldblum’s Role Recall segment on Thor: Ragnarok, now on DVD and Blu-ray:

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