NOT even a hurricane can stop a true professional. Sam
Neill, the Irish-born, New Zealand-bred and Australian-based star whom we're so
pleased to call our own, proved once again why he's everyone's favourite
After walking off with the most coveted role in Hollywood
- the lead in the new Spielberg adventure thriller, Jurassic Park - Neill was caught in the middle of Hurricane Iniki,
the most devastating to hit Hawaii
this century, while he was shooting the film there in mid-September.
Like a true pro, Neill survived the storm, exited to Los
Angeles and, a day later, was telling us all about.
That puts him on par with the equally supremely professional Patrick Swayze,
who once spent 36 hours trying to dial out from a Mexican desert town to honour
an interview commitment with us.
If anyone deserves Swayze-like superstar success, it is
The past 13 years have seen him steadily and confidently
building up an impressive resume - from the leads in the 1979 Australian hit, My Brilliant Career, and 1989's Dead Calm, to quirky comedy (Death In Brunswick) and solidly
supporting Sean Connery in the American blockbuster The Hunt For Red October,
and the upcoming globetrotting drama Until
The End Of The World with William Hurt.
The next step was obviously a lead role in a big US
movie. Neill has scored it with Jurassic Park, a
lavish adventure thriller based on Michael Crichton's book about DNA
experiments to clone dinosaurs. Neill plays the chief dinosaur expert of a team
which also includes Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and director-actor Richard
The mind-boggling budget (reported in US
trade papers as $A70 million) resulted from the ambitious special effects,
supplied by Spielberg's pal, George Lucas, and others.
The four-and-a-half month shoot is long by Hollywood
standards. "So the strength of the director is absolutely critical,"
said Neill. "A lot of the choices I make are director-oriented. Every shoot
takes on the character of the people involved - the essential part of the
patchwork is the director.
"Every day I go to work, I know I am on a Spielberg
film. The set has a widescreen kind of clarity. He's galvanising, very
energetic, very enthusiastic."
Apart from his supreme courtesy and measured, rather
hypnotically lulling way of talking, the other reason why Neill is so
appreciated by journalists is that his hard-working approach means that there's
always plenty to talk about!