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When watching the original Jurassic Park movie, I always got an impression that Ellie Sattler and Dr. Grant were an item (as in, a romantic couple).

However, re-reading Chrichton's book, it contradicted that:

"Are you divorced?" {{ asked by Tim }}
"No," Grant said. "My wife died a long time ago."
"And now you're with Dr. Sattler?"
Grant smiled in the darkness. "No. She's my student."
"You mean she's still in school ?"
"Graduate school, yes."
...
You have children?" Tim asked.
"No," Crant said.
"Are you going to marry Dr. Sattler?"
"No, she's marrying a nice doctor in Chicago sometime next year.

Was there any confirmation in the movie (dialog, script, creative team statement, deleted scenes) that they changed this from the book and made them an item?

I'm only interested in the material from the first movie, NOT the episode from #3 where they indeed showed Ellie being married to - presumably - samesuch nice doctor in Chicago and Grant visiting their house.

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6 Answers 6

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The relationship between Sattler and Grant went through a number of distinct phases;

  • The original Crichton script was the truest to the book version. There was no sexual tension whatsoever and Ellie Sattler was purely Dr. Grant's mature student.

  • The Marno re-write (in March 1992) bulked out her character, making her more independent and increasing her role as well as adding a frisson of sexual tension between her and Grant:

The copter suddenly SHAKES violently. Ellie grabs Grant's hand. Gennaro sits straight up, eyes squeezed shut.

GRANT : Gennaro? This guy knows what he's doing, Right? Hey, Gennaro? I'm talking to you!

Another violent shake. Grant squeezes Ellie's hand back.

For a second, no one moves. Grant lets out a great sigh of relief. Gennaro mouths a silent prayer. The pilot stretches his fingers.

Grant and Ellie self-consciously shake their hands free of each other.

  • The Koepp re-write (in December 11, 1992) made it explictly clear that she's in a relationship with Grant (as well as adding the character of Ian Malcolm to create a potential love triangle aspect):

ELLIE : Anything else, you old fossil?
GRANT : Yeah, plenty. Some of them can't walk!
ELLIE : It frustrates me so much that I love you, that I need to strangle you right now!

Ellie playfully takes Grant's hat off and gives him a tight hug. They kiss.

  • Spielberg then removed this dialogue from the theatrical cut of the film (and edited out her calling him 'honey' on several occasions), presumably so that he could leave the status of their relationship ambiguous.

For what it's worth, the film's officially authorised graphic novelisation was very clear that they're an item and appears to be largely based on the Koepp version of the script:

Two panels from the Jurassic Park graphic novel, diagonally separated. In the first, Ellie Sattler and Dr. Alan Grant embrace, looking in each other's eyes, Ellie saying "it frustrates me so much that I love you**, that I need to strangle you right now!", Alan replying "anytime you're ready." In the second, still embracing, Ellie buries her face in Alan's shoulder, holding his hat in her hand, saying "mmmmm, mmmmm", the sound "thupp, thupp" overlaid in orange letters.

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    Someday, they'll have a little velocibastard of their own. (The "B" word comes from @HappyEtc's answer. Don't shoot the messenger.) Jun 22, 2014 at 19:28
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    @Richard: I would think it's more likely that Spielberg removed those instances of Sattler referring to Grant as "honey" to keep their relationship ambiguous for Ian Malcolm. If Sattler called Grant "honey" in front of Malcolm, he would have come across as quite the douche for hitting on her so obviously in front of her boyfriend. Bros before hoes, Goldblum. Jun 23, 2014 at 11:19
  • @JamesSheridan ... I don't think it helps his case much :P Aug 4, 2017 at 20:10
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During the night tour, Ian Malcolm explicitly asks Alan if he and Ellie are a couple.

In the script Grant never says one way or the other, but it is heavily implied that they are. However, the final version of the movie has one extra little word: "yeah".

MALCOLM: By the way, Dr. Sattler - she's not like, uh, available, is she? - -

GRANT: Why?

MALCOLM: Why? Oh, I'm sorry. Are you two, uh-

GRANT: Yeah.

MALCOLM: I wish you the best luck.

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    This seems quite ambiguous. As you say, he doesn't confirm it. Also it's pretty clear that he disapproves of Malcolm so he could simply be trying to block their relationship from developing.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2014 at 20:47
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    Also worth noting that you've linked an early version of the script rather than a transcript of the movie...
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2014 at 20:50
  • Yeah, I just noticed that too. Looking for an actual transcript now...
    – phantom42
    Jun 22, 2014 at 20:51
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In the movie, at 9 mins 20 secs, after Grant speaks explains how dangerous velociraptors were to the fat little bastard he asks Sattler "You want to have one of those?" to which she responds "I don't want that kid but a breed of child Dr Grants could be intriguing." So it's pretty safe to assume they were a couple.

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    The wording is: "Dr. Alan Grant: Kids! You want to have one of those? Dr. Ellie Sattler: I don't want that kid, but a breed of child, Dr. Grant, could be intriguing. I mean, what's so wrong with kids? There's nothing in that statement that says that she wants to have a baby with him...
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2014 at 19:21
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    @Richard, without getting into an argument that line of dialogue is very subjective. The difference between "A breed of child Dr Grants" and "A breed of child, Dr Grant" is a comma and an s. Now before you say we can look at the script I believe it's fair to point out that sometimes actors improvise and the meaning of dialogue or backstory can change in an instant.
    – Nobody
    Jun 22, 2014 at 19:50
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    He's her boss. It's absolutely his business if she's planning to quit and get married to someone else and given the closeness of their (non-sexual) relationship, it would be natural for them to discuss whether she wants to have children in future. She's simply saying, "I'd like a child someday, Dr Grant". There's no further implication in that...
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2014 at 19:51
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    This is the correct answer. It doesn't take an explicit "yeah, we're totally boning each other" to establish an on-screen relationship, you guys. They discuss having kids, they hold each others' hands, Grant shoots down Malcolm when he expresses an interest, THEY ARE SHOWN TO LIVE IN THE SAME TRAILER (seriously, watch that scene again, Ellie's stuff is scattered around Grant's trailer) and various other asides. Jun 23, 2014 at 0:26
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    @JamesSheridan - The trailer appears to be a mobile paleontology cabin, rather than living quarters. They discuss her wanting children. He never explains to Malcolm what his relationship is with Sattler...
    – Valorum
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:14
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Look at their body language in the beginning. They are very close to each other and Dr. Grant puts his arm around her. They share the same trailer. When Hammond opens the champagne he says, "hey we were saving that!" Ellie wants Lex to ride with Alan to get him used to kids and she wants kids. Why should it matter to her whether he likes them unless she were planning to have them with him? Lastly, when Ian asks if Dr. Sattler is available the scene ends with him saying to Grant, "I'm sorry. You two are..." Grant nods and says yeah.

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Yes, in the first film they were a couple, despite them just being teacher/pupil in the first book.

Grant: "What are those?"

Ellie: "Small versions of adults, honey."

Women don't usually call a man honey if they aren't a couple.

Malcolm asks Grant if she was available and Grant just looks at him, then Malcolm says, "I'm sorry, you two are...", and Grant replies "Yeah", plus you can see it bothers Grant when Malcolm hit on her.

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    Women don't usually call a man honey if they aren't a couple. This really depends on where you are from and can be used even with complete strangers. So the use of this "endearment" is non-conclusive at best.
    – YLearn
    Nov 5, 2015 at 6:30
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    When I was in Florida, a waitress called me honey. Does this mean that we're in a relationship? If that's the case, do you think she'll be pissed with me that I haven't called her in 3 years?
    – Valorum
    Jun 30, 2016 at 8:16
  • @Valorum - "This practice is so intimately associated with "The South," that it will almost always be awkward or at best unusual for someone without a "southern accent" to speak in this way."
    – Mazura
    Jul 1, 2016 at 1:49
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I always took away from it that they were both in love with each other but never consummated the relationship due to their age gap, working relationship and him being unable to commit or confess his love for her officially...also the fact that he didn't want kids and she did. I think they're flirty in the movie and it's clear they're very close. I think he tells Ian "yea" because he's in love with her, but I don't think they're explicitly a couple. I think he never confessed his feelings, neither did she... so he went back to loving dinosaurs and she went on to have the family that she wanted.

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    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by citing specific instances of what you consider to be flirty behaviour between the two. You could quote specific dialogue and/or upload screenshots as evidence. Jun 10, 2022 at 18:53

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