From Beccles to Hollywood: How town became part of Jurassic Park universe

Jack Ewins with a Giganotosaurus

Jack Ewins with a Giganotosaurus - Credit: Jack Ewins

A Jurassic Park fanatic who landed a dream role with the franchise has spoken of the "surreal" aspect of seeing Beccles Lido reach Hollywood.

The town's popular swimming pool became the focus of a global marketing campaign when it took one of the starring roles in promotions for the latest film, Jurassic World Dominion.

It came after Beccles man Jack Ewins and his company Chronicle were brought on board to help create the online DinoTracker - where people can browse sightings of dinosaurs.

A Baryonyx was found in the early hours of the morning sleeping on the side of Beccles Lido after taking a dip. 

A Baryonyx was found in the early hours of the morning sleeping on the side of Beccles Lido after taking a dip. - Credit: IGN/Dinotracker

Mr Ewins, who previously created a website for Masrani, the company run by park owner Simon Masrani in the film, said: "Before the pandemic we were brought on to work on the marketing for the third time.

"We started putting all these ideas together and then Covid hit and everything was delayed.

"One of the concepts was a kid in LA opening the doors outside to her private swimming pool and seeing this baryonyx sleeping on the side.

Jack Ewins with Chronicle and Jurassic World Dominion director Colin Trevorrow

Jack Ewins with Chronicle and Jurassic World Dominion director Colin Trevorrow - Credit: Jack Ewins

"We pitched it to the director who said baryonyxs wouldn't have gone towards big cities, rather somewhere that backs onto a bit of nature.

"Having grown up in Beccles, I immediately thought of the lido, which was perfect with the river right there, and even more fitting because the baryonyx fossil was first discovered in England.

"I phoned up Shaun and luckily he is up for doing anything crazy, so we turned up one day in February with my family and friends and filmed it.

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"There was also a gap in the grass behind it, and we were able to break the fence digitally to make it look like it had climbed in from the river."

Jack Ewins with Jurassic World Dominion star Lewis Dodgson

Jack Ewins with Jurassic World Dominion star Lewis Dodgson - Credit: Jack Ewins

Mr Ewins said the company was tasked with making their own "mini-Jurassic Park films" for the project.

He said: "As a fan of the franchise, I still can't believe I get to play with these dinosaurs. It's just surreal. 

"There are kids growing up now who might not think Beccles is a very big town, but now it is officially part of the Jurassic Park universe. 

"My mum took me to the old Hollywood Cinema in Lowestoft, now East Coast Cinema, to see the first Jurassic Park when I was four.

"It set the standard for special effects and it has defined a generation of film fans and people who love dinosaurs.

"With this project, we've had to go out and make our own mini-Jurassic Park films, and make them film quality."

The baryonyx at Beccles Lido is one of only three currently listed on the Dinotracker in England, despite many 'sightings' being recorded in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Mr Ewins said: "Some places have doubled up for elsewhere, such as one we filmed in Southend now being Ireland, and another from Suffolk which is in Maine in America.

"The campaign is continuing and there's another one that's coming out soon that we filmed with the help of a friend's dad in Ditchingham who happens to own a Chevy truck.

"It's a big one because it's a T-Rex, and the only T-Rex that is in the wild.

"We turned where he works in Ditchingham into California, one of the most beautiful places on earth."

As well as making videos of the 'sightings' themselves, the company were also tasked with writing scripts for some of the main cast, including Jeff Goldblum, for social media videos offering advice for anyone who encounters a dinosaur in the wild.

They have also met the cast after being invited to the premiere in LA, before the main stars then flew to another showing in New York.

But Beccles returned to the spotlight at the afterparty on the west coast.

Mr Ewins said: "We went to the afterparty and they had these big screens behind the bar which was showing the Dinotracker all night.

"When I first walked in the one they were showing was Beccles Lido."

Beccles Lido featured behind the bar at the Jurassic World Dominion afterparty following the LA premiere 

Beccles Lido featured behind the bar at the Jurassic World Dominion afterparty following the LA premiere - Credit: Jack Ewins