Woman's Day (New Zealand Edition) - September 1992

 

 


HOSTAGE TO LOVE

From his first role to his latest, Sam Neill has had an electric effect on women

 

THE VOICE is deep and deliberate. Sam Neill is on the line, calling from Canada. It is early there and he has made time between breakfast and an appointment on set with his current co-star, Anjelica Huston, to talk about his role as John Rennie in the made-for-TV movie Hostage.

Sam Neill took a short cut to stardom when, by chance in 1979, he was cast in My Brilliant Career. He hasn't stopped working since, and last year was awarded an OBE.

But he insists that he's just a working actor. "You must keep your feet on the ground in this business - it could all end tomorrow," he says.

This looks unlikely for Sam, who has just finished two films in New Zealand. He plays a policeman in The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, and in Piano Lessons he stars as a farmer who has an arranged marriage to a Scottish mute, played by Holly Hunter.

He dotes on his female co-stars. "Holly Hunter was lovely and Anjelica is heaven to work with.

"I remember when I made Reilly - Ace of Spies all those years ago. Director Martin Campbell said he always liked it when I worked with women. And I have to say I like working opposite strong women. I do my best work with women."

Sam has a passionate love scene with former Bond girl Talisa Soto in Hostage, which has not yet been scheduled for television in New Zealand.

"Every actor dreads bed scenes," he says. "But I liked Talisa enormously and we got on very well, which made those scenes easier than they may have been."

Sam shrugs off any suggestion that on-screen passion will endanger his marriage to Japanese make-up artist Noriko Watanabe, chief make-up designer on Hostage. "It's nothing Noriko and I have to cope with, because it's our work," he says.

They met when working on the movie Dead Calm in 1989 and married that year. They have an 18-month-old daughter, Elena. Neill is also stepfather to Noriko's daughter Maika, 10, from her first marriage. His son, Timothy, 9, from his long-term relationship with New Zealand actress Lisa Harrow, lives in London with his mother.

In Hostage, Neill's character Rennie is forced to leave his children. "Any time spent away from your children is heartbreaking," he says. And that is why, whenever possible, the family travels with him.

Story: Katie Ekberg

 

 

 

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