Male Tyrannosaurus rex Animatronic

For the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the number of Tyrannosaurus characters on the set compared to Jurassic Park would become tripled, one of the characters being a fully grown representation of a male. The same animatronic would be reused in Jurassic Park /// in the infamous duel with the Spinosaurus animatronic, where the T. rex animatronic would be destroyed in the fight.

Taking inspiration from nature, John Rosengrant colorized old Jurassic Park line-art from Mark McCreery of a male counterpart to the female Tyrannosaurus rex. Main concerns from Shane Mahanwas that the color could be drowned out in night sequences, which a majority of the Tyrannosaurus‘ scenes would take place in. Eventually, a mottled green base coloration was supplemented with dark and yellow striping on the upper contours–along the spine–with whitish or cream underbelly. To further the sexual dimorphism between the two genders, alterations to the head and neck design were made. A total of eight different design choices were presented by Shane Mahan to director Steven Spielberg for the latter’s approval. The final chosen design included a neck wattle, bonier face, and a scarred muzzle.


Instead of designing a whole new mold for the male, additions were made to the original epoxy of the Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus mold in order to cast the new skull. Because of budget issues as well as cinematic preference, it was deemed more economic to construct the Tyrannosaurus from the thigh and up, as a majority of the shots of the animatronic during the filming of the first movie did not show the tail or lower legs. Just as with the animatronic from the previous film, the male robotic was controlled via a telemetry device, which gave the crew better control of the armature. However, unlike the animatronic from the previous film, the rex was built on a cart that ran along an eighty foot long track, on which the 18,000 pound animatronic could travel between five and eight miles per hour. On the cart, the animatronic could rear up to twenty feet in height and stretch out to thirty-seven feet long. Because of the size of the animatronics, they were incapable of being moved from their track once on set, and so the set had to be built around it.

Learning from past mistakes, Stan Winston Studios created a foam rubber skin coated with silicone rather than a pure foam latex skin. This better waterproofed the skin–an issue during the first film–for the trailer sequence, which occurred during a torrential downpour. The animatronic was also required to interact with a stunt double, requiring the need for precision and delicacy–for the safety of the actor–to go along with a professionally done exterior and machinery. During a sequence in which the T. rex would have to rip Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff) out of his SUV, a specially designed suit was made for Schiff’s double to be worn during the shot. The animatronic had the capability to easy kill a human being if it were to malfunction or did not have the requisite finesse. Stan Winston made special note of this to the crew during the trailer sequence preparations.

Use in Jurassic Park ///

Because of the minimal role that Tyrannosaurus would play in the third Jurassic Park film, there was no need to build a new animatronic. Instead, the male animatronic from The Lost World: Jurassic Park was brought out of storage, the skin repainted in a lighter green color in order to represent a purported sub-adult individual. Because the Spinosaurus versus T. rex fight was the final scene filmed with the Spinosaurus animatronic, the Stan Winston Studios crew decided to go all out in the battle. The crew had the puppets act out as if they were fighting a real battle. However, during the fight, the Spinosaurus‘ superior powerful hydraulics allowed the Spinosaurus to literally behead the Tyrannosaurus animatronic with a single swipe from the Spinosaurus‘ clawed arm.

Sound Mixing

In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Gary Rydstrom and the sound effects team sourced from different animals to make the male Tyrannosaurus roar deeper than the females. Sounds for the male included, pigs and some other “weird Costa Rican mammals that [they] didn’t even know what they are.” Instead of using the baby elephant rumbles and squeaks that was the base for the female rex bellow (and continued to be the base for the female in TLW), the male’s roar are made up of all “baby elephant-like” sound recordings that were twisted to mimic the sounds of the females roar. However, the rest of the roars that were mixed into the T. rex vocalizations were the same for both genders (tiger, alligator, and dog vocals).