Bryce Dallas talks learning to run from dinosaurs, in heels, for Jurassic World

Actors pick up all sorts of new skills when working on big movies, but one area of expertise Bryce Dallas Howard never expected to master on the job is ankle health. But when your character spends the entire movie in a set of rather nice-looking high heels and you’re being chased by killer dinosaurs, these things become important.

What are your memories from seeing the first film?

It’s one of those experiences where I was so impressionable, and it was just such a vivid experience. I left remembering every single second of it. It was just a crazy-good movie. That film is genius. So yeah, I remember everything. I was making jokes with Chris before we started that I needed to bring back the high-waisted khaki shorts that Laura Dern made popular with Jurassic Park.

Your running in heels in this was very impressive.

I was obsessive with making sure that I didn’t get injured. At this point, I know so much about the fitness of ankles. (laughs) It’s completely disproportionate with overall fitness, which is really funny because I remember about half-way through I thought to myself, Man, my ankles are so strong. Should I be working out other parts of my body for a major motion picture? Hmm. It’s all about the ankles. I loved that we kind of landed in this place where it was right for the character to have her heels on the whole time.

How do you pick up ankle-specific exercises?

I was really lucky because my driver turned out to be a UFC winner, this guy Pete Williams, just an incredible athlete. He was the one who actually taught me all these balance and ankle exercises, because in mixed martial arts you have to really take care of your feet and you have to be able to balance.

Your character gets a great arc to play over this, which sadly isn’t too common for big action movies.

One of the things Colin always said on set was that this movie has to work without the dinosaurs, and that was something that was always top of mind. I met him in March of 2013 over Skype. He told me so much of the story — I couldn’t even believe it when it was happening, like I’m not even cast in this movie yet and he’s telling me so much of it, I can’t believe he trusts me — and then a month later he called me and said, “I’m at the top of a mountain in Hawaii, I was thinking about you. We’ve all talked about you, Bryce, and when we Skyped together you felt like family. We’d like to invite you into the Jurassic World family.” I mean, I said yes on the spot. But there was no script until September. He described this character to me who really goes on this journey. At first she’s incredibly unlikable and by the end of the film she’s heroic, and I just kept questioning whether that was even possible.

Nice work if you can get it.

And then! And then Chris Pratt gets cast. Could it get any better?

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