Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is officially ready to roar into theaters, and with it, possibly the coolest job ever: paleo-veterinarian. What exactly is it? Good question, and one we might not find a real concrete answer for, because Jurassic World made it up. The sequel (and middle movie) in this new dinosaur trilogy introduces us to to a brand new character, Zia, played by Daniella Pineda. She’s one of Claire’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) co-workers, and she’s a badass ex-Marine with some rad tattoos. Also, she practices dinosaur medicine. You don’t her about that every day.
Ahead of the release of the movie, HelloGiggles jumped on the phone with Pineda to talk all things paleo-veterinarian, taking selfies on set with the dinosaurs, and if her shoes on set where comfortable (they were).
HelloGiggles: I want whatever job you have you have in the movie. What is it, a paleo-veterinarian?
Daniella Pineda: Yeah, paleo-veterinarian, that’s a first.
HelloGiggles: Did you, like, make up that job for the movie? Because, like I said, like, I want that job now.
DP: Well, you have to go to school for medicine, and then you have to wait for it be safe to reenter Isla Nublar, which it will never be, so you’ll basically have to risk getting eaten up.
It was really cool, because yes, it’s a fictitious profession, there are no dinosaurs, therefor a vet can’t treat one, but the idea of it was definitely original [for the] franchise. I did work with a real vet who had specialized in African reptilian wildlife, who worked with me, so it was important for me to honor that profession, and for it to look as real as possible. That was sort of my prep, in the movie.
HelloGiggles: Were you a big dinosaur fan beforehand?
DP: Oh, yeah, big time. [Jurassic Park] was the first VHS I owned, and I broke it in my VCR. I don’t have words for it. I mean, it’s just very strange…when you’re an existing fan to then be part of the making of that thing you’re a fan of. It’s just very strange.
HelloGiggles: I think you spend the of the movie with dinosaurs, more so than people. You’re with Blue for the majority of the movie.
DP: Yeah, that was cool. I mean, of all the cast members [I had the most dinosaur time]. I would always joke around with Justice Smith, who plays Franklin Webb, because he got the coolest stunts, like the Gyrosphere, he got to go underwater, and he would take pictures of himself doing them because he knew that I was jealous. But what was cool was I got all the biggest scenes with the animatronic, which was the most astounding creature I’ve ever seen in my life. It did not feel like a puppet, it just felt like a real, massive reptile.
HelloGiggles: Okay, because that was one of the questions I was going to ask. Usually it’s some guy just in a motion capture suit, or you’re staring at a tennis ball. But these were actually animatronics and puppets?
DP: Yes, they were all animatronic. The ones I had my big scenes with, and Blue, she was just an intricate animatronic. Her eyes [were crazy]. You wouldn’t believe the things that they can make. Her eyes would dilate if hit by light, she would sweat, she had pulsing veins. Her skin, if you, like, glided your hands, your fingers along her skin, it felt like touching a snake.
HelloGiggles: So were you, like, snapping a ton of selfies then to send to your friends, and to the rest of the cast to make them jealous?
DP: You know, when I got this part, I don’t really know if…my friends, like, really understood how crazy this was. My best friend flew to London and happened to be there the day that I had my scene with Blue. And she was just behind the monitor watching, and there was the scene where it was, like, Me, Chris [Pratt], Bryce [Dallas Howard], and Justice. We had this chant and this cheer right before we go into a scene, to kind of get our energy up, and I remember seeing her face behind the monitor, her mouth was just open, shaking her head, like, ‘What is your life?’
HelloGiggles: I mean, it sounds like a pretty cool, crazy life.
DP: Yeah, I mean, considering what it used to be, which was definitely not as cool as this. You know, being broke and trying to make it and just to get a job and get a break. I hope that this kind of changes things.
HelloGiggles: At the end of the movie, you are still alive and there’s going to be a Jurassic World 3. Are you already pitching ideas — like do you want a spin-off, do you want your own TV show about a paleo veterinarian?
DP: I mean, yes, I want all of those things. I want my Housewives: The Real Paleo-Veterinarians. What I do know [about Jurassic World 3] I have to keep to myself, but we’ll see.
HelloGiggles: You play a very cool scientist who’s just a super badass lady. What do you hope little girls who see this movie take away from that, who might want to go into the sciences now and work with dinosaurs?
DP: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think Zia is the perfect example that women can do it all. I think a lot of little girls, all of us were raised with this implicit bias, perhaps, that men are more capable, and that’s just simply not true. So, I would hope that little girls see that and know that, okay, if I go to school, if I work hard in a specialty, I’m completely, 100%, just as capable as the next man to do what it is that I want to do.
And I would like there be more characters, you know, about women in the sciences. I keep thinking about Hidden Figures, that was just such a that was a cool movie for little girls, and little black girls, and, you know, I hope in a little way that Zia does the same that thing [with] what that movie did for me.
HelloGiggles: And I talked to Bryce earlier, and I had to make sure she was wearing comfortable shoes for this movie. I want to ask you the same question: Were your shoes comfortable?
DP: Oh, yeah, I had Nike high tops, I was fine.