BEVERLY HILLS, California — "Hold on to your butts": The long-in-development "Jurassic Park IV" is finally heading to the big screen, actress Laura Dern told MTV News.

"It is happening. Rumor has it [my character] Ellie Sattler may be back in the woods, back on the island," Dern announced, saying the movie will hit theaters in 2008. She added with a coy smile, "You know, there is a guy I know who told me he wants me to have something to do with it. [So] I have a date with a dinosaur again. My 5-year-old will be thrilled."

A fourth installment of the popular adventure franchise has been in the works since "Jurassic Park III" opened to mixed reviews but high box-office receipts in 2001. Screenwriters as diverse as John Sayles and recent Oscar winner William Monahan ("The Departed") have been attached to write "IV."

While rumored to be dissatisfied with various scripts, director and producer Steven Spielberg has continued to staunchly support "Jurassic Park III" helmer Joe Johnston, whom he called in a 2006 interview with SpielbergFilms.com the "go-to 'Jurassic' guy" and the "right guy to do the fourth one."

But apparently Johnston isn't "the right guy" to direct the sequel. When reached for comment, representatives for the director were adamant that Johnston is "definitely not directing ['Jurassic Park IV']."

So who will direct the fiercely awaited sequel? Laughing, Dern suggested a candidate some might consider a little outside the box.

"I don't know if he is in talks with them or not, [but] maybe David Lynch [should direct] it just to kind of shake things up a little bit. That would make it kind of interesting and unique," the 40-year-old actress said of her longtime collaborator. "I don't know [who] — I just hope it's as irreverent as Steven has always wanted them to be."

According to Dern, those tones of irreverence and humor are of paramount importance to the success of any "Jurassic Park" film. "I think the more irreverent and hilarious that they can be would be good," Dern said. "Hopefully [there are] very funny writers working on it, because whenever it got funny and irreverent, I thought that was really good news."

While Dern was confident the film was "[just] around the corner," the "Jurassic Park" veteran paleobotanist hasn't actually seen a completed script, nor does she know where the story might be headed. "I know nothing else except that it is happening," she insisted.

So what would Dern like to see? Why, dinosaurs that were less fierce, of course.

"I've never really liked them very much. They were never really nice to me — it's not like it was a party on that island!" Dern joked. "But the [sick] triceratops [from the first film] was sweet. So maybe a nice herd of triceratops that I could ride or something. Riding a dinosaur would be [a lot of] fun."

Calls to reps for series stars Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill were not returned by press time.

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