Sam will soon be seen in Country Life, the Australian
adaptation of Uncle Vanya; Restoration, the British comedy starring Meg Ryan,
Robert Downey jnr and Hugh Grant; and Victory, in which he plays an opium
It seems strange that family man Sam takes on so many roles.
"I'm basically a very idle person by disposition,"
he says. "I do find myself working a lot, which surprises me and I can't
really account for it. I'm too lazy to say 'No'. It's just easier to go along
with it and get on the plane."
Actor Sam really flips out in his new horror spectacular In
The Mouth Of Madness, in which he plays a cynical insurance investigator trying to solve
the mysterious disappearance of world-famous author Sutter Cane, whose
terrifyingly demented and hypnotic novels sell better than the Bible.
Sam's foray into this world ultimately has him headed for
the straightjacket, but he says he had a barrel of laughs pretending to be
"It's scary and incredibly funny. It makes me laugh
from the beginning till the end. I like the sort of psychological thriller
"I'm not a horror film fan particularly. I hate those
sort of slasher films. . . they're dumb and dangerous. I like properly scary films, not schlocky
ones. This is much more fun.
"If violence in a film makes you sick, then that's the
appropriate response - but if it looks fun and glamorous to blow people away,
then I think it's irresponsible filmmaking and really wrong.
"Some of these action films where people get blown away
distress me, whereas in The Piano the most hideous piece of violence is
perpetrated by my character and it's incredibly shocking and disturbing, which
is what violence should be if it's right."
Sam is also known for his social conscience. Asked what
angers him, he replies: "Governments washing their hands of responsibility for education and
health care. If you haven't enough money, tough luck. It's not so bad in Australia,
but New Zealand
has been really been shafted."
What Sam truly treasures are his close friends, such as
Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown. But that is about it.
"I'm pretty much a homebody," he says. "You
have to get me out with a crowbar these days. . . and it's getting worse."
Overall, Sam figures he is exactly where he is supposed to
be in life.
"Acting's about the only thing I would have been any good
at," he says. "And let's not be too self-effacing. I think I'm smart
and I think you need a tad of talent. I've got a little bit of both. . . and
enough sort of cunning to make my way in the world."