The six-foot-six actor frequently portrays powerful men, from Charles Keating in The People vs. Larry Flynt to the warden in The Green Mile to actual and fictitious presidents: George H.W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s W. and Robert Fowler in Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears. His list of roles is impressive and staggeringly long. Most recently they include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the HBO series Succession.
Though Cromwell often plays authority figures, offscreen he rails against the powers that be. He is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken activists. In this candid conversation James Cromwell holds forth on environmentalism, the #MeToo movement, fracking, free speech and so much more. The man definitely does not hold back—he is honest, ethical and intensely passionate…
HUSTLER: Tell us about your character in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
JAMES CROMWELL: Benjamin Lockwood developed the technique [for cloning dinosaurs] with Richard Attenborough’s character [Jurassic Park owner John Hammond]. They had a falling out because I decided to use it for personal purposes and violated the ethics—which is a very easy thing to do with that kind of technology and is probably happening right now. So we were estranged for the last years of his life, and as a mea culpa, I created this sanctuary for the animals that he so cared about.
This is the first Jurassic movie you’re in?
Yeah. It was always Attenborough—unfortunately, he died. It is an important but secondary plot line to add a little humanity to an otherwise action flick about animatronic animals and CGI.