Before Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard tried to avoid being eaten by dinosaurs in the Jurassic World films, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Samuel L. Jackson attempted to stay out of the ancient creatures’ claws in 1993’s Jurassic Park. And they weren’t alone. The adults were joined by the park owner’s grandchildren, Tim and Lex, characters who were played by Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards.
Mazzello, who was born in 1983, according to IMDb, would have been around 10 years old when he appeared in the first movie, while Richards, who was born in 1979, was about 14 at the time (although, per Cosmopolitan, she was only 12 when she landed the gig). Both performers were praised for their onscreen work, and Richards even won a Young Artist Award for best youth actress leading role in a motion picture drama thanks to her performance. She was also given the No. 98 spot on VH1’s 2014 list of 100 Greatest Child Stars.
That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that she continued to work in front of the camera as she got older. However, the actress — who grew up to be a stunner — eventually left that world behind to pursue another passion.
Steven Spielberg hung Ariana Richards' Jurassic Park painting in his home
Ariana Richards may have shown the world that she had some serious acting chops while appearing in Jurassic Park, which led to other roles, including a small part on Boy Meets World in 1996 and returning briefly as Lex in 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park. However, at the same time, she was exploring another creative pursuit.
While filming Jurassic Park in Hawaii, Richards would spend her breaks dabbling in art. The actress “painted in watercolor a self-portrait of herself, and co-star Joseph Mazzello, alongside a Brachiosaurus,” according to IMDb. When she “presented the work” to the movie’s director, Steven Spielberg, he reportedly had it “framed and placed in his home.”
If you’re curious about the kind of pieces that Richards was able to produce as a young teen, take a look at the watercolor painting that she did of herself in the scene from the film where her character spots a dinosaur while eating Jell-O. With that kind of talent, it’s not surprising that she earned a college degree in fine art and drama and has gone on to establish herself as a successful professional artist.
However, that doesn’t mean that she’s forgotten about her days as a dino-adjacent actress.
Ariana Richards never really left Jurassic Park behind
Ariana Richards may no longer be the young actress she was when she appeared in Jurassic Park way back in 1993, however, fans of the film still recognize her regularly. “People actually come up to me. I don’t know how, after 25 years how this happens,” she told USA Today in 2018, adding that she hopes this “keeps happening for a while.”
Fans surely won’t be able to forget about the connection if they follow Richards on Instagram, where she regularly shares Jurassic Park-related images. Check her out playing with Jurassic World‘s Blue (yes, the raptor) at Universal Studios in 2018 and posing on the red carpet with former costar Jeff Goldblum that same year. There’s also a pair of images that show her first time on the Jurassic Park ride with Goldblum and Joseph Mazzello, as well as a more recent turn on the water-soaked experience. On the movie’s 25th anniversary, Richards took to Instagram to post a collection of pictures from that period in her life, including a shot of herself and Mazzello with Steven Spielberg, photos of her on set, and one where she even met Princess Diana thanks to the film.
With such amazing memories of her time with the movie, it’s no wonder Richards might be considering returning to the screen to revive her role as Lex.
Lex and Tim might be heading to Jurassic World
With at least one more action-packed dinosaur film in the works to keep the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchise rolling, news broke in September 2019 that a trio of stars from the first movie — Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum — would be reprising their roles for Jurassic World III. With that development stirring up excitement, fans started a campaign to get Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello on board to bring Lex and Tim back to the screen. What’s even more exciting is that, according to Entertainment Tonight, they are reportedly “both open to the idea!”
While a source explained that there were “no current conversations” happening between Richards, Mazzello, and those responsible for the movie’s casting, the insider claimed that “both are absolutely open to the opportunity to return to the iconic roles that started their careers.”
If they do return, fans will see that Lex — or rather, Richards — has transformed from a young teenager into a grown woman who is still totally camera-worthy. Gone is her casual braid and the outdoorsy clothes that suited her role in the first film. Instead, the star is apt to show up at an industry event in simple yet stunning ensembles that spark comments like, “Looking amazing Ariana!”
However, if we end up seeing these fictional siblings back on screen together, let’s hope that Tim can avoid electrical fences and that Lex doesn’t find herself on the receiving end of a dinosaur sneeze.
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