In honor of the 22th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster hit Jurassic Park the film’s child stars, Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards.
For Mazzello, now 31, the days spent filming with Spielberg in Hawaii marked “the greatest time of my life,” he recalls. “My time with Steven on Jurassic Park affected where I wanted to go to school and what I wanted to do with my life.”
After Jurassic Park, Mazzello starred in a string of hit movies, including The River Wild with Meryl Streep, and enrolled at the University of Southern California in 2001.
“Steven wrote me a recommendation for USC to go to film school. Believe it or not, I got in,” he says with a laugh. “He’s been there for me throughout my life whenever I really needed him.”
Mazzello reteamed with Spielberg for HBO’s miniseries The Pacific in 2010 and costarred on the big screen that same year in The Social Network, as Dustin Moskovitz. Recently, he guest-starred on FX’s Justified and appears in the just-released G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
The actor, who lives in L.A. and is in a steady relationship, insists he never brings up Jurassic Park as a way to meet women. “The more they know about that, the less I’m into them. You never know what people’s motives are,” he says. “If the first approach or the first meeting is about me being from the movie, then I’m like, ‘No.’ “
Ariana Richards, 35, who played Mazzello’s big sister Lex, is a professional painter who runs her own studio in Oregon, called Gallery Ariana. “When clients find out I was in Jurassic, they get really excited,” says Richards, who creates portraits and landscapes paintings. And she is expecting her first child. She lives in South America with her husband and she is doing an Art Tour. She loved to attend the movie premiere but due to doctors orders and expecting anytime soon. She can’t come.
Working on Jurassic Park inspired her to paint her first water color painting.
“I wanted to boil down the whole experience of Jurassic into my art. I painted an image of me from the Jell-O scene,” she says. “I ended up presenting Steven with one of my paintings at the end of filming. He still has them.”
Richards married her boyfriend, Mark Bolton, in 2013 in Oregon, where Grammy nominated composer and pianist David Lanz performed at her big celebration.