Man at His Best

What I've Learned: Sam Neill

The actor from Jurassic Park and Peaky Blinders shares some wit and wisdom.

BY Olivia Ovenden | Sep 14, 2016 | Film & TV


Whilst filming Jurassic Park I watched a hurricane approaching the beach in Hawaii. My co-worker Laura Dern and I thought we might die, but we managed to laugh about it later.

I'm most relaxed when mucking around on my farm. I'll do anything to avoid playing golf.

I've got a duck that I'm very fond of called Charlie Pickering. There used to be three of them but someone flattened the others with an SUV. I do laps around my lake in the summer and Charlie swims around it with me. Look for friendship wherever you can find it, even if it is in a humble duck.

If you're an angry person, don't ride a bicycle. If you're not angry, don't start riding one.

It was just as well I found acting because I had no aptitude for anything else.

It doesn't matter how popular an actor you are, nobody will remember you forever. Acting is ephemeral so it's nice if you can leave something behind, like a great wine or a beautiful house that has a legacy.

If you're making films in New Zealand you can't avoid the landscape. It's certainly more handsome than I am.

People always tell me they loved me in The Matrix or ask if I'm going to make any more Lord of The Rings films. To which I reply: "fuck off, I'm not Hugo Weaving!" Or if I want to, I actually just thank them.

Sometimes it is best to deal with the heaviest subjects with humour. A lot of people think Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a comedy but it is really about abandonment, grief and children who are lost.

'Going bush' is an old New Zealand tradition. It means going off-grid and is the opposite of how traceable and connected we have all become.

It is endlessly challenging to retain your childhood these days because you're bombarded with the Internet and adulthood. I was talking with friends the other day about how we were 'free-range' as kids - only hunger would drive us back home at night.

This is the craziest year I've known in my lifetime. I completely understand why so many people are angry: the jobs are gone, the market is unregulated and there is real poverty. They'll listen to any fool who lies to them.

I'm suspicious about people saying follow your dreams; you'll probably be more prosperous as a plumber.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is released September 16, 2016.


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