Jurassic Park: Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, top paleontologist
“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993
Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg
Happy birthday, Sam Neill! The actor—born 72 years ago today on September 14, 1947—racked up plenty of BAMF Style points early in his career for his depiction of real-life spy Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies, a stylish mini-series that established Neill as a strong contender to succeed Roger Moore as James Bond. Neill’s greatest commercial success as a star was arguably his role of esteemed paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster that needs no introduction.
The eccentric John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites Dr. Grant and his partner, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), to evaluate “the most advanced amusement park in the entire world” where Hammond and his team have “spared no expense”, using DNA from frogs to recreate living dinosaurs.
Together with black-clad chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Drs. Grant and Sattler find themselves bemused, intrigued, and ultimately disillusioned by the park.
While we only spend a few days with Dr. Grant, we observe his personal journey of humanization as he evolves from focusing only on the previous inhabitants of the Earth to care too much about its newest ones, his adventures with Hammond’s grandchildren Tim and Lex warming him to the concept of raising children with Dr. Sattler. (And, let’s face it, those two would have some pretty smart kids!)
…of course, anyone who has seen Jurassic Park III knows that not only is Dr. Grant still childless and entirely focused on his research nearly a decade later, but he and Dr. Sattler have amicably parted ways. Curious where Alan Grant finds himself now? According to Sam Neill, he’s either an accountant living in Dayton, Ohio… “or he’s dead.”
What’d He Wear?
Denim shirts were all the rage in the 1990s, for better or worse as they could be very effective when worn casually… or jarringly out of place when worn with a sport jacket, tie, and jeans à la Jerry Seinfeld or an oversized vest like Chandler Bing.
The rugged, durable denim makes it an ideal fabric for a presentable work shirt like the blue long-sleeved button-up shirt that Alan Grant wears to Isla Nublar, which Jurassic Pedia’s costume guide identifies as a likely product of Polo by Ralph Lauren. Per the fashions of the ’90s, it has a large, somewhat baggy fit, though this likely allows for a greater range of movement when Dr. Grant finds himself on the run from Velociraptors.
The shirt also has two large patch pockets on the chest, each closing with a single-buttoned flap, likely a useful feature for a man used to finding artifacts and needing to secure them. The cuffs each close with a button, though Grant wears the cuffs undone with the sleeves rolled up his forearms.
It’s difficult to find a shirt in the true medium wash blue denim cotton twill that Grant wears, specifically with all of the screen-seen details including a non-button-down collar, the two flapped chest pockets, and no yokes. Snap-front denim shirts are widely available these days, but Grant’s shirt buttoned up the front placket, likely a fortuitous choice as it kept his shirt strongly fastened during his rough day.
Options are plentiful if you’re seeking a snap-front Western-yoked denim shirt or even a button-down denim shirt, with either a sole breast pocket or two button-through pockets like this Wrangler “Riggs” work shirt, which even has the brown mixed plastic buttons of Neill’s screen-worn shirt. As of September 2019, Polo Ralph Lauren’s current range of denim shirts isn’t too promising for aspiring Alan Grants. The closest modern equivalent that I’ve found is this Boulder Creek shirt in “bleached denim”, ideal for any big-and-tall-sized readers.
While the modern equivalent of Dr. Grant’s shirt may be difficult to find, you’ll be relieved to know that the classic red paisley kerchief, favorite of stereotypical Old West cowboys and bandits, is available far and wide—and cheap, too! Levi’s offers three-packs on Amazon for less than $10, so you may as well go with this tried-and-trusted brand to protect your neck from sweat. Dr. Grant wears his cotton neckerchief knotted in the front and inside the collar of his shirt.
At first hidden by the buttoned-up denim shirt and the knotted neckerchief, Dr. Grant’s undershirt emerges as the events of Jurassic Park wreak havoc on his wardrobe. The light gray heathered cotton henley appears to have two light gray plastic buttons and is likely short-sleeved, or else the sleeves would bunch up over his forearms as he rolls up the sleeves of his denim overshirt.
Amazon Essentials has got you covered for $10 with a shirt that shares a similar neckline and equally non-intrusive white buttons, though this one by French Toast (great name) is around the same price and has a two-button placket similar to the screen-worn shirt. Old Navy’s soft-washed jersey henley in light heathered gray is also currently available for only $12.
Pleated khakis may go in and out of style, but certain manufacturers will never stop making them. What takes Dr. Grant’s khaki trousers a step beyond are the double sets of forward-facing pleats, rather than the reverse pleats that are more common these days. These cotton twill “Bill’s Khakis” by The Fine Swine appear to be a reasonable equivalent in a menswear world where reverse-pleated khakis like these Haggar “Work-to-Weekend” cotton chinos dominate. Polo Ralph Lauren appears to have given up on pleated chinos altogether, although they can be clearly identified as the maker of Dr. Grant’s khaki slacks based on their distinctive branded patch visible above the right back pocket.
In addition to the much-discussed pleats, Dr. Grant’s khaki chino trousers have side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms that he wears cuffed.
Dr. Grant’s plain dark brown leather belt with its simple gold-toned single-prong buckle may seem unexceptional, but it’s the key to much of his job abilities and resourcefulness in a tricky situation for the multitude of pouches and tools he wears fastened to it.
On the right side of his belt, Grant wears a brown leather pouch to house his Leatherman multitool right next to an olive drab U.S. Army compass pouch. On the left side of his belt is a stainless folding trowel, strapped into a dark brown leather sheath that holds the trowel in place with a single-snap strap.
The three leads’ boots are all plainly visible in a promotional photo that appeared in an Empire magazine spread for the film’s 15th anniversary, published in 2008, highlighting that Dr. Grant wears classic Timberland work boots in “wheat nubuck”, a yellowed full-grain napped leather treated to be waterproof. These durable, versatile, and iconic boots are popular across many demographics, favored not only by rugged workers like Dr. Grant and also a favorite of hip hop culture. From Biggie and Tupac to Aaliyah and Kanye, check out 10 major Timberland boot moments in hip hop history in this 2014 GQ feature.
The boots are derby-laced with three sets of brass hex-shaped eyelets, then three speed hooks up the shaft, and a final set of eyelets at the top of the boots, narrowing identification to the Timberland 8″ Premium boots as opposed to the seven-eyelet 6″ Classics. A contrasting dark chocolate brown padded leather collar around the backs of the openings adds comfort for the wearers.
The Timberland Boot Company originated in 1928, though the classic yellow work boot that is most frequently conjured by the company’s name was introduced nearly half a century later in 1973 as the Original Yellow Boot™. According to Timberland’s official blog, “the boot was originally “created for hard-working New Englanders, built from 39 components constructed via 80 separate steps, driven by form, function and craftsmanship.”
Despite the product’s hard-wearing intentions, Sidney Swarz was “surprised but pleased” when the boot he developed gained an almost immediate foothold in Europe, partially due to its first international buyer, an “Italian gentleman” who took 600 pairs across the Atlantic… then placed another order within two months after he sold out the entire stock.
Almost a half-century after its introduction, the yellow nubuck Timberland work boot remains among the most recognizable footwear in the world. The 8″ Premium boot that Sam Neill wore in Jurassic Park is also still in production, available from retailers like Amazon and—of course—Timberland.
A man who spends much of their time working under the hot sun needs a hat he can trust to protect his head and eyes from the sun while also keeping his head cool. For this, Dr. Grant turns to a durable straw safari hat, its natural straw color worn and distressed after accompanying the accomplished scientist for countless expeditions from Snakewater, Montana, to South America.
Venerable Hollywood hatmaker Baron Hats has been identified as the manufacturer of Sam Neill’s screen-worn hat, made of palm leaf straw and styled like a classic Panama hat though given an adventurous touch with its braided brown horsehair braid, tied off on the left side. Dr. Grant’s hat has a pinched crown and a curved, three-inch brim. (For more details or alternatives, check out the definitive Alan Grant Costume Guide at Jurassic Pedia and the informative forum discussions at Fedora Lounge!)
Dr. Grant arrives at Isla Nublar in a pair of stylish gold-framed aviator sunglasses with green lenses, suggested to be the iconic Ray-Ban Aviator that had been immortalized by Tom Cruise a half-decade earlier in Top Gun.
The RB3025 Aviator Classic remains one of Ray-Ban’s most popular frames, particularly with the classic combination of gold metal frames and green G15 polarized lenses. This combination, denoted by color code L0205, is available directly from Ray-Ban as well as Amazon.
Of course, if you’re going to be running from dinosaurs and spending the night in the rainy muck of a Jurassic-themed jungle, you wouldn’t want to take the chance of ruining a pair of expensive Ray-Bans. For a fraction of the price (only $12.99 as of September 2019), the SOJOS Classic Aviator is available on Amazon.
Per his utilitarian approach to dressing and accessorizing, Dr. Grant wears a no-frills wristwatch that, like the subjects of his studies, hearkens to an earlier time. Online horological detectives have established that the timepiece is almost certainly a American GI-issue field watch from late in World War II; you can read more of their discussions at watchuseek, where the forum’s unparalleled collective research has seemingly narrowed down to the possibilities that this is an Oris or Waltham timepiece, circa 1945.
The watch itself has a well-traveled steel case that, despite being nearly 50 years old at the time of Jurassic Park, retains much of its shine. The watch has a round beige dial with gold number markers and a 6:00 sub-dial and is worn on a worn brown leather edge-stitched strap, best seen when he’s calling out to the Brontosaurus group.
If you’re on the hunt for a similar minimalist field watch but don’t want or aren’t able to find something vintage, many modern watchmakers have products available for all budgets:
- Glycine Incursore 3874-11-LB7BH automatic watch on brown leather strap (Amazon, $499.99)
- Hamilton Khaki Field H70555523 automatic watch on brown leather strap (Amazon, $419.14)
- Orient Bambino Small Seconds automatic watch on dark brown gator-style leather strap (Amazon, $164.87)
- Seiko Presage SRPB03J1 automatic watch on dark brown leather strap (Amazon, $359)
- Timex Allied TW2R46400 quartz watch on tan leather strap (Amazon, $54.99)
- Timex Men’s Expedition quartz field watch on brown leather strap (Amazon, $35.75)
- Zeppelin LZ127 7656-1 automatic date watch on brown gator-style leather strap (Amazon, $199)
All prices as of September 2019.
Interestingly, Dr. Grant is not wearing his watch during the ride to Isla Nublar, but he is wearing it when they land and disembark. While this is likely a costume-related continuity error, let’s give Jurassic Park the benefit of the doubt and assume that Alan has an unspoken superstition about wearing his watch on helicopters and was carrying it in his pocket, only to strap it on before stepping out of the chopper.
Tim Murphy, the first Alan Grant cosplayer
John Hammond’s grandson Tim (Joseph Mazzello) is dressed similarly to Dr. Grant, sporting a blue denim-like button-up shirt over an undershirt with a paisley neckerchief (albeit navy blue) and khaki bottoms (shorts rather than slacks) with a brown leather belt. Having read Dr. Grant’s book, Tim is clearly a fan of the paleontologist and no doubt styled himself after his hero for his trip to the island.
In the Badlands…
…near Snakewater, Montana, is where we first meet Dr. Grant and his team during an archaeological dig of “six-foot turkeys” that allows him the opportunity to show off for his team—and the audience—just how much he knows and appreciates dinosaurs through his studies… and how much he does not appreciate skeptical children.
Alan is dressed for the dig in what Emma Fraser referred to in her fun June 2018 “Look of the Week” SYFY piece as “dad plaid,” referring to his red, tan, and black buffalo check cotton flannel shirt with its front placket and single breast pocket. As with his denim shirt on Isla Nublar, Dr. Grant wears the shirt’s long sleeves unbuttoned at the cuffs and rolled up his forearms. He also wears a white henley undershirt.
The rest of his outfit in Montana is exactly the same as what we see on Isla Nublar: the pleated khakis, Timberland boots, Ray-Bans, and vintage watch are all there, as well as the well-traveled Panama hat and tool-laden belt.
Given his fascination with dinosaurs, it was likely an unfathomable thought in Alan Grant’s head during his helicopter ride to Isla Nublar that he would be taking up arms against them within 24 hours… yet, thanks to
Newman Dennis Nedry, one of the Franchi SPAS-12 combat shotguns kept on the island and fielded by game warden Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) ends up in his hands as he, Dr. Sattler, Tim, and Lex find themselves on the run from Velociraptors.
The Franchi SPAS-12 was developed in 1979 by the Italian firearms company Franchi S.p.A. as a dual-mode shotgun that could be adjusted for semi-automatic or pump-action operation, though it was primarily intended to serve as the former with the alternative pump action developed to most effectively fire low-pressure, less-than-lethal ammunition. SPAS initially stood for “Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun,” and the innovative combat shotgun found favor in its intended military and police market, though it also grew in civilian usage after importation to the United States began in 1982. Approximately 37,000 SPAS-12 shotguns were manufactured before production ended in 2000 as Franchi focused their efforts on the SPAS-15 model, which had already been in production since the mid-1980s.
Due to its unique, quasi-futuristic appearance with its all-black construction, molded foregrip, and folding stock, the Franchi SPAS-12 swiftly became a common sight in movies and TV shows, with its most prominent early appearance in The Terminator where it was fielded by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. It also appeared as the “backup weapon” of Fred Dryer’s macho LAPD detective Rick Hunter on the ’80s cop show Hunter, beginning with Dryer firing it one-handed through his windshield in the show’s pilot episode.
This increasing popularity made the Franchi SPAS-12 an obvious choice to arm the protagonists in what would become one of the greatest blockbusters of all time, despite the fact that Michael Crichton’s novel had Muldoon explaining that “taser shock guns, electrified nets, tranquilizers” were the only available weapons on the island, “all nonlethal, because, as Mr. Arnold says, these are expensive animals,” though a few unauthorized rocket launchers later appear in Muldoon’s hands. According to IMDB, Steven Spielberg kept one of the screen-used Franchi SPAS-12 shotguns, autographed by some of the film’s stars, after production wrapped and occasionally lets guests to his Beverly Hills home fire it.
Due to the nature of his work, we can assume that Alan Grant isn’t a firearms expert, though he does seem confident with his usage of the Franchi SPAS-12… until it suffers from a stovepipe jam. Rather than taking the time to clear the jam, Grant ditches the shotgun and continues his retreat unarmed.
How to Get the Look
Many dedicated fans and cosplayers have already gone to great lengths to identify specific brands and details of the clothing worn by Dr. Alan Grant as well as other characters in the Jurassic Park universe, particularly Jurassic Pedia and the JP Motor Pool.
- Blue denim cotton twill work shirt with spread collar, front placket, two buttoned-flap patch chest pockets, and button cuffs
- Light heathered gray short-sleeved two-button henley undershirt
- Red paisley cotton neckerchief
- Khaki chino double forward-pleated trousers with belt loops, side pockets, jetted back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Dark brown leather belt with gold-toned single-prong buckle
- Timberland 8″ Premium “wheat”-colored waterproof nubuck work boots with derby lacing, speed hooks, brown padded leather collar, and synthetic lug soles
- Palm leaf straw Panama hat with custom brown horsehair braided band
- Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator Classic sunglasses with gold metal frames and green G-15 polarized lenses (color code L0205)
- Steel military-style field watch with round beige dial (with 6:00 sub-dial) on worn brown leather strap
The affordable and practical tools of Dr. Grant’s trade are clipped to various patches and straps around his belt, including a Leatherman multitool (Amazon), U.S. Army compass and enclosing pouch (Amazon), and a U-Dig-It Pro folding shovel (Amazon).
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie and Michael Crichton’s original novel.
After careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.