A walk in the PARK


In 1993 Jurassic Park broke box office records worldwide and took Sam Neill from marginal Hollywood player to massive star in the blink of a T -Rex's eye. He's since picked and chosen what he wants, maintaining a presence both in Hollywood and here at home with films like Children of the Revolution and The Dish. But last year he chose to step firmly back into eye of the storm when he reprised his role of palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park III. He explains why to DVD Now.

DVD Now: Are you as brave in real life as your character, Dr. Alan Grant?
Neill: Not remotely. There were some things we had to do in the course of making this film that terrified me. At one point they dropped us from 50 feet into the water and I don't like heights and that was a long way down. I hated that.

DVD Now: Are you adventurous?
Neill: No, not really. When you're doing this sort of thing for a living anyway. My job takes me all over the world, I do all kinds of different films, so adventure seems to find me. And I don't go out seeking adventure because there's enough of it already. My idea of a good time is staying at home reading a book.

DVD Now: A book about dinosaurs?
Neill: No, not about dinosaurs.

DVD Now: You played the same character in the first Jurassic Park. How was it playing the same guy again?
Neill: This is the first time I've done a part twice, I was never really completely convinced in my own mind as to whether I was absolutely right in the first film. I always felt that I could've done a little bit better. So when the opportunity came to play the part again I thought, let's have a little review of what I did and see if we can make this better. And I'm more happy with my performance in this one, I think it is more convincing and sits more easily in the film.

DVD Now: What about comparing the two movies. How were the experiences different?
Neill: This is much more of an action film than the two previous films. It was much more of a physical film to make, very physical and that placed severe demands on actors, certainly on me being the oldest member of the cast.

DVD Now: Do you think that because the novelty factor of the dinosaurs has faded, that the film has to offer more on the adventure and character side?
Neill: I think that's right. It's a different sort of film. This is much more of a full-blown action film. From the moment the action starts it's an adrenaline rush from ten minutes in to the end.

DVD Now: Talking about the physical demands, did you train to get in shape for the film?
Neill: I was pretty fit actually which is a good thing, because you feel better for it. I vowed to stay fit but at the end I haven't done one piece of exercise since. So I am as flabby as I ever was. But I'll turn a new leaf again, one of these days.



DVD Now: How was acting with hydraulic dinosaurs?
Neill: These are very sophisticated and life-like things and when you're on the stage with them you would swear that you are working with real animals. You become kind of fond of them, like they're big mascots or big pets.

DVD Now: Which one is your favorite?
Neill: The Velociraptors. But the ones that I find creepiest and scariest are the Pteranodons, the flying ones. There's something really disgusting about them.

DVD Now: Did anybody get hurt during the shoot?
Neill: We were getting hurt all the time. But we had a nurse the on set who was sticking and spraying stuff on you, fixing us up.

DVD Now: Any battle scars left?
Neill: I do but the physical things are fading and the terror is gone. I don't think I need to go to therapy any more, I'll be fine,

DVD Now: Any funny on set incidents?
Neill: No. When you're making a serious film like this it's important to be serious all the time.

DVD Now: There are stories about singing and banjos?
Neill: Oh, Lordy Lord. It was a very musical cast actually because everyone seemed to play an instrument. So there was quite a lot of jamming and singing and that was fun because we had quite a bit of time between set ups.

DVD Now: Do you play an instrument?
Neill: Ukulele, not seriously though. It's impossible to play the ukulele seriously, it's not a serious instrument.

DVD Now: So you don't have anything against doing something like this one more time?
Neill: Absolutely not, but I think there would be a little trouble getting Alan Grant back. Two times through hell is probably plenty for him.

DVD Now: What do you think about dinosaurs now?
Neill: I try not to think of them. They are the stuff of nightmares after all.




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