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LIFE MATTERS INTERVIEW - 2002


THE ROMANTIC SAM NEILL

LIFE MATTERS


LM: A CHANCE TO MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE IMAGE, THE COOL BUT CONNECTED SAM NEILL, WHOM I DON'T SUPPOSE NEEDS A GREAT DEAL OF INTRODUCTION. HE HAD APPEARED IN MORE THEN 50 FEATURE FILMS AND WAS AWARDED A ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE FOR HIS ACTING IN 1991. HIS ROLES IN AUSTRALIA PRODUCTIONS INCLUDE HARRY BEACHEM, THE SPURNED LOVER IN MY BRILLIANT CARRIER, HE WAS THE CRUEL OR DETACHED HUSBAND ANYWAY IN THE PIANO AND THE PENT UP SCIENTIST IN THE DISH LET ALONG HIS ROLES IN JURASSIC PARK. NEILL WAS BORN IN NORTHERN IRELAND, THE 2ND SON A WELL CONNECTED MILITARY FAMILY BUT HE GREW UP IN NZ AND IT IS THE COUNTRY HE NOW CALLS HOME. I SPOKE TO SAM ON THE PHONE FROM THE WEST COAST WHERE HE IS TO BEGIN FILMING HIS NEXT FEATURE PREFECT STRANGERS. AND BEGAN BY WELCOMING HIM TO THE PROGRAM

SAM: THANK YOU VERY MUCH JONI (I THINK THAT WAS THE NAME)

LM: I HAVE TO SAY WE WERE CHATTING JUST A MOMENT BEFORE WE WENT ON AIR AND YOU SAID THERE WERE QUITE A FEW THINGS ABOUT AUSTRALIA THAT PERPLEX YOU. NOW WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

SAM: WELL IT'S PUZZLING TO ME YOU KNOW I AM NOT MUCH IN AUSTRALIA I AM WORKING AT THE MOMENT IN NZ AND I HAVE BEEN IN EUROPE AND ALL I SEE OF AUSTRALIA IS ON THINGS LIKE CNN AND UHMM BBC WORLD AND UHMM I AM PUZZLED AS TO WHY UHMM AUSTRALIA IS LOOKING NOT TERRIBLE GOOD AND UHMMM IN AN INTERNATIONAL SENSE AND AFTER ALL THAT GOOD WILL THAT WAS GENERATED BY THE COUPLE OF YEARS AGO BY THE OLYMPICS AND AUSTRALIA WAS LOOKING TERRIFIC GOOD THEN, VIBRANT, MULTI-CULTURE AND SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY AND NOW (BREATH) WHAT LOOKS LIKE VERY MUCH LIKE CONCENTRATION CAMPS FOR THESE UNFORTUNATE BOAT PEOPLE AUSTRALIA LOOKS VERY DIFFERENT IT LOOKS FROM A OBJECTIVE AND A DISTANCE SIDE TO BE RATHER DIFFERENT OF THAT..IT LOOKS, IT LOOKS A LITTLE BRUTAL AND AND A BIT OBSTINATE AND SLIGHTLY BACKWARDS AND THAT IT SEEMS TO ME AND I I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND IT UHMMM IT UHMM SUCH A BACKWARDS FLIP FROM WHAT AUSTRALIA.. HOW AUSTRALIA WAS LOOKING ONLY ONLY VERY RECENTLY.

LM: SO IN OTHER WORDS YOU ARE A MAN WHO, I SUPPOSE, LOOKS FOR THE BIG SYMBOLS UHHMM AND THE SYMBOLISM IS SHIFTING YOU THINK ABOUT AUSTRALIA ?

SAM: IT DOESN'T IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD I HAVE TO SAY AND I.... I AM DISAPPOINTING..DISAPPOINTING TO ME.

LM: THE.. I DISCOVERED WHEN IN WAS NZ RECENTLY I HAD THE JOY OF DOING THE MILK AND TRACK WALK BUT THERE REALLY IS UHHMMM THERE IS QUITE ALLOT OF RESTRAINED AMMISTED ( I THINK SHE MEANT TO SAY ANIMOSITY) CAN I PUT IT LIKE THAT?

SAM: ( HIM LAUGHING)

LM: LAUGHING TOO THEN SAYS..BETWEEN THESE 2 COUNTRIES UUHHMM NZ'ERS FEEL QUITE ACUTELY AUSTRALIANS VIEWS OF THEM, WOULD YOU AGREE?

SAM: WELL WERE..WERE SORT OF LITTLE UUHHMM BROTHERS YOU KNOW AND AND BEING A YOUNGER BROTHER MYSELF YOU...YOU ALWAYS HAVE MIXED FEELING ABOUT THE BIG BROTHER AND AAHH IT IT'S A DIFFI... IT'S IT'S A TRADITIONAL THING AND IT USUALLY GETS A GOOD WORK OUT DURING THE.. (COULD NOT MAKE IT OUT) CUPS AND IT IS ALL FAIRLY HARMLESS AND AHH AND OF COURSE ONCE YOU START TO TRAVEL TO EACH OTHER'S COUNTRIES YOU START TO HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT VIEW. I...I AM VERY FOND OF AUSTRALIA ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WORLD AND I..I SORT OF REGARD MYSELF AS MUCH AS ANYTHING AS AUSTRALASIAN (I THINK HE MADE UP A NEW WORD) AND UUMM IN-TIP-A-DE-M (HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO SAY HERE BUT I SPELLED IT OUT THE BEST I COULD WITH HIS ACCENT) THESE DAYS.

LM: I WANT TO EXPLORE JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE THE NZ'ERD IN YOU.

SAM: LAUGHING

LM: BECAUSE IT IS A GENUINE IDENTITY BEING A NZ'ER ISN'T IT?

SAM: YES

LM: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?

SAM: OOHH I THINK IT IS.. I.. WELL YOU KNOW IT IS DIFFICULT TO GENERALIZE IT OF COURSE BUT I'M..I'M..I LIKE THE AUSTRALIAN ACCENT WHICH IS SO SORT OF BROAD AND KIND OF AHH OPEN AND UH..AND UHH. NZ'ERS ACCENT BY CONTRAST IS PINCHED AND I THINK THAT SORT OF SUMMARIZES ANYTHING OF SORT OF THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE 2 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES..WE..WE ALL SOUND LIKE WE HAVE A HEAD COLD OR SOMETHING AND AHH (STARTS LAUGHING) THAT'S JUST AND I AHHH THINK THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT OUR TEMPERAMENT IT'S LIKE WE ALL HAVE HEAD COLDS BUT UUMMMM

LM: LAUGHS - COULD YOU SAY THAT OUT THERE?

SAM: AAHH YES I WILL KEEP QUITE NOW THAT I AM HOME BUT UUMM I..I..I..I LOOK I..I WE SHARE SO MUCH UUMM IN TERMS OF OUR HISTORY AND AHH UUMM AHH COMMON ROOTS YOU KNOW I THINK WE HAVE MUCH MORE IN COMMON THEN WE HAVE AAHH IN TERMS OF DIFFERENCE.

LM: HMMM IT'S ALMOST...IT IS INTERESTING TO WATCH, ALL,BOTH OF US WENT THROUGH THE SAME CHANGES POLITICALLY THROUGH THE SORT 70;S AND 80'S EXCEPT IN FACT NZ WENT FURTHER WITH ROGERNOMICS, CHANGES IN THE ECONOMY AND SO FORTH AND SO ON AND I JUST WONDER WEATHER YOU THAT IF YOU HAD TO PUT A WORD TO DESCRIBE THE TEMPERAMENT OF YOUR LAND AT THE MOMENT WHAT WOULD IT BE, YOU SAID YOU HAD A HEAD COLD BUT


SAM: YOU KNOW..I..WE HAVE BEEN SUCH A REVOLUTION IN THE 1980'S I DON'T THINK WE REALLY EVER GOTTEN OVER THAT YET, IT WAS PROFOUNDLY SHOCKING THAT IT WAS THE LABOR GOVERNMENT THAT ASSET STRIPPED THE COUNTRY YOU KNOW AND UUHH PRIVATIZE THE COUNTRY LIKE CRAZY AND AND I CERTAINLY NEVER GOTTEN OVER IT. I THINK THERE IS A CERTAIN DISTRUST IN POLITICIANS THAT WE NEVER REALLY GOTTEN OVER. WE GOT ANOTHER ELECTION COMING UP ANYDAY NOW COURSE THE UUMM IMMIGRATIONS IS IS A FUNNY AHH MMM IN OUR COUNTRY THERE IS ALWAYS A IMMIGRATION CARD BEING PLAYED MMMMM BY SOME CLOWN TO WIN AN ELECTION AND WE HAVE 1 OF THOSE HAPPENING AT THE MOMENT AAHH I THINK UUMM I WOULD SAY IT'S CAUTIOUS WE ARE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC.


LM: UUMM OF COURSE YOU ARE DOING WELL, I MEAN YOUR REALLY PART OF THE GROUP WHO ARE WELL I WOULD ASSUME INFLUENTIALLY, I MEAN CERTAINLY FLYING HIGH, YOU ARE 1 OF THE MOST IN WORK ACTORS AND RESPECTED AAHH DOES THAT MEAN THAT YOU NOW FEEL THERE IS A GULF BETWEEN YOU AND NZ'ERS WHO ARE DOING POORLY BECAUSE THAT HAS DEFINITELY EMERGED IN AUSTRALIA SOCIETY.


SAM: WELL THERE IS NO QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT. THERE ARE ALLOT OF FAIRLY WEALTHY PEOPLE IN NZ NOW AND ALLOT ALLOT PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNE THEN THEN THERE MIGHT BE AND I I REGRET THAT THAT DIVIDE, THE NZ I GREW UP WAS VERY DIFFERENT AAHH EVERYBODY MUDDLE ALONG THERE WAS THERE WAS NO GREAT DISPARITY IN IN SOCIETY AND AND AS A RESULT THERE WAS LESS ANXIETY AND LESS UUMM LESS TENSION LESS ENVY. IT WAS IT WAS PROBABILITY A BIT DULL TOO BUT AHH THAT IS THE SORT OF DULLNESS I COULD PUT UP WITH. (LAUGHS).


LM: IT WAS A REASONABLE PRICE TO PAY YOU THOUGHT


SAM: YES THAT'S IT EXACTLY (LAUGHS)


LM: WAS ANYTHING BETTER THEN IRELAND? I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT YOU HAD LIVED THE FIRST 7 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE IN AHH NORTHERN IRELAND?


SAM: UUMMM THAT WAS SORT OF A HISTORICAL ACCIDENT REALLY I WAS UUMM MY FATHER WAS A NZ'ER AND AND AND HE WAS IN THE ARMY AND THAT IS WHY I WAS BORN THERE, BUT I DO FEEL SORT OF IN PART IRISH AND I THINK IT IS THAT KIND OF IRISH SENSIBILITY WHERE I AM SO STRONGLY THROUGH AUSTRALIAN AND NZ SOCIETY. MY MY MY VERY HAS AHH HAS BECOME SORT OF PACIFIC RIM MELTING POT MY MY EXTENDED FAMILY IS MAORI AND JAPANESE AND AND BLACK AMERICAN AND SO YOU KNOW, MY FAMILY IS VERY VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE SORT OF FAMILY I GREW UP IN, WHICH WAS YOU KNOW WHITE AND NUCLEAR AND AND PROBABLY A BIT MORE DULL.


LM: WHICH DO YOU PREFER?


SAM: I'M I, VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE AAHHH I LOVE THE DYNAMICS OF OUR FAMILY NOW I SAY IT'S AND I THINK IT'S PROBABLY AHHH IT BOLDS WELL FOR THE FUTURE.


LM: WOULD YOU MIND JUST TELLING ME, I MEAN THAT WAS AMAZING LITTLE COLLECTION YOU JUST SKETCHED THERE (SAM MMMMM) IT ALL, HOW DO THEY ALL RELATE?


SAM: WELL MY WIFE IS JAPANESE, I HAVE A STEP DAUGHTER WHO IS AUSTRALIAN, I HAVE I HAVE UUMM A NEPHEW'S WHO ARE MMMM MAORI AND MMM AHHH MY KID IS A JAPANESE, MIKE HAS A JAPANESE, I HAVE AAAAA I ALSO HAVE A SON

LM: YOUR FIRST SON


SAM: IT'S IT'S... FAMILY COME IN ALL SORTS SHAPES AND SIZES THESE DAYS AND I THINK THAT'S AAA THAT'S AAA AGAIN I AM ALWAYS VERY SUSPICIOUS OF ISSUES (HE SAID ISSUES BUT I THINK HE MEANT TO SAY POLITICIANS) WHO RAISE THE FAMILY VALUE CARD AT ELECTIONS AGAIN I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS ANYMORE MMMM FAMILIES ARE VERY VERY IMPORTANT OBLIVIOUSLY AND THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT JOB THE NURTURING OF CHILDREN BUT MMMM FAMILY VALUES IS OFTEN SOME SORT OF CODE FOR SOMETHING THAT IS RATHER CONSERVATIVE AND MMM AHHH INWARD LOOKING.


LM: WHAT WHAT, CAN I JUST PUT THIS TO YOU BECAUSE IN FACT OUR DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RAISED THIS JUST LAST WEEKEND HE SAID, WELL HE DIDN'T SAY FAMILY REALLY ThAT THERE NEEDED TO BE A RETURN, I THINK I AM QUOTING HIM MORE OR LESS CORRECTLY, TO SOME OLDER FASHION VALUES AND HE SAID IT QUITE SERIOUSLY, WHAT IF IN FACT THERE UUMMM WOULD HE BE REFLECTING OF YOU THAT WE HAVE GONE FAR ENOUGH YOU KNOW THAT WE HAVE STRETCHED THE FABRIC AS FAR AS IT CAN BE AND WE GOT TO PAUSE A LITTLE BIT.


SAM: HHHMM WELL IT DOESN'T SURPRISE ME FROM AHH YOU KNOW IT IS EXTRAORDINARILY CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT IN IN AUSTRALIA AT THE MOMENT WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT AHHH I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT CAN POSSIBLE MEAN AND I DON'T I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE MEANS BY THAT BUT IT DOES SOUND LIKE CODE FOR SOMETHING THAT AAAA SOMETHING ELSE, PROBABLY LESS TO DO WITH VALUES THEN AGAINST OTHER THINGS.


LM: YOU THINK IT'S EXCLUSION NO IT WANT TO EXCLUDE CERTAIN THINGS


SAM: IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT TO ME AND UUMM LET'S LET'S MAKE SURE GAY PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED WO ADOPT CHILDREN OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, I I WOULD..THAT'S MY GUESS.


LM: YEAH WELL ACTUALLY HOPING WE CAN EXPLORE THIS MIGHT MEAN..LOYALTY, IT MIGHT MEAN HE WANTS TO ARTICULATE CERTAIN THINGS LIKE LOYALTY, COMMITMENT AAAA WHICH YOU MIGHT AGREE WITH LIKE WHAT DO YOU THINK HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR SELF AS A FATHER SAM, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BEDROCK REASONABILITY AND DUTIES OF A FATHER?


SAM: MOST OF THE TIME BECAUSE OF, TO BE HONEST, I AM I AM ABSOLUTELY PERPLEXED ABOUT ABOUT WHAT THE ROLE OF A PARENT IS? AND AND THEY KEEP SHIFTING THE GROUND ON ME TOO AND I.. I.. I'M.. I'VE ABLATE (SPELLED IT LIKE IT SOUNDED ) BETWEEN A DISCIPLINE AND INDULGENCE (LAUGHS) I, YOU KNOW (STILL KINDA LAUGHING)


LM: YOU ARE SOFTIE ARE YOU?


SAM: YES, WELL, YEAH I'M I'M VERY EASY I'M...I'M A SOFT TOUCH AND I'M VERY EASILY KINDA UUMMMM GOTTEN AROUND I...I WISH IT WAS NOT SO I WISH I..I WOULD BE THE LAST PERSON TO SAY THAT I KNOW THE ANSWER TO THESES THINGS I SIMPLY DO NOT


LM: ERRR, SAM


SAM: YOU JUST HAVE TO YOU JUST DO YOUR BEST ON ANY GIVEN DAY (SAID WHILE LAUGHING)


LM: COULD YOU TELL US HOW YOU MET YOUR WIFE PLEASE SAM?


SAM: WELL, I WAS STAYING ON AAHH A LITTLE FILM CALLED DEAD CALM UP IN WOODSSUNDAYS AND MMMM


LM: WITH NICOLE KIDMAN


SAM: WITH NICOLE YEAH UUMMM A GREAT PAL AND UUMMM MY WIFE WAS DOING THE MAKE-UP ON THAT FILM AND I..I SAW HER AND IMMEDIATELY FAWNED AAA A TREMENDOUS PASSION FOR THIS GIRL (LAUGHS A LITTLE) A SENTIMENT THAT WAS NOT RECIPROCATED AT T'ALL AND AAAA I DECIDED REALLY THAT I WOULD JUST HAVE TO SORT OF YOU KNOW AAHH SEE WHAT I COULD DO, I REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY CHOICE III UUMMMM JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS I THOUGHT I HAD TO DO AND MMM I'M GLAD I STUCK WITH IT WAS... IT WAS A LONG AND AUDACIOUS COURTSHIP.


LM: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?


SAM: WELL IT SEEMED LIKE ABOUT 10 YEARS BUT IT WAS PROBABLY ABOUT 6 MONTHS AND FINALLY YOU KNOW SHE SHE BUCKLED UNDER THE PRESSURE AND WE HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR 15 YEARS AND YOU KNOW I DID THE RIGHT THING OBVIOUSLY


LM: SO THIS WAS A MOMENT OF, WELL NOT A MOMENT THIS WAS AAA A PASSIONATE EPISODE


SAM: WELL AAAA IT WAS IT WAS IN FACT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT YES ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE, I BELIEVE IN THAT


LM: TRULY AND THAT HAS NEVER HAPPEN TO YOU BEFORE?


SAM: NO


LM: HOW WONDERFUL (YES THAT IS OUR WONDERFUL SAM NEILL! SORRY COULD NOT RESIST!) THE ROMANTIC IN ME IS..LAUGHS UUMMM CAN I JUST ASK YOU AGAIN WITHOUT REVELING TO MUCH LIKE AFTER SUCH A GRAND PASSION MMMM IS MAINTAINING THAT A CHALLENGE LIKE MMM LIVING LIVING SIDE BY SIDE OVER ALL THESE YEARS GIVEN THE CHALLENGES OF AAAA WORKING, IN THE ,YOUR WORLD?


SAM: WELL, YOU KNOW I WOULD BE LYING TO SAY THAT YOU KNOW IT IT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING IS ROSY 100% OF THE TIME BUT I NEVER LOST SIGHT ORRRR LOST THAT FEELING AND AAAA IT'S BEEN GREAT I MEAN I I FEEL TREMENDOUSLY LUCKY


LM: AND THE FACT THAT SHE'S JAPANESE AAA DID THE CROSS CULTURAL AAA ISSUE POSE ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES?


SAM: CHALLENGES AAAAA YEAH BUT IT CERTAINLY MAKES THINGS INTERESTING YOU KNOW THOSE AND IT MAKES FOR THOSE OCCASIONAL AAAA MIS-UNDERSTANDING BUT UUMM YOU.. YOU KNOW COMPASSION AND.. AND KINDNESS MMMM ALL THAT SORT OF THINGS WILL ALWAYS GET YOU THROUGH


LM: MMM GREAT STORY. SAM NEILL IS OUR GUEST ON LIVE THAT IS UUMM WHO DOESN'T NEED A GREAT DEAL OF INTRODUCTION BUT AAA HIS LATEST FILM MOLOKAI HAS JUST BEEN RECENTLY RELEASED AT LEAST IN AUSTRALIA AND DO YOU TRY TO POSITION YOURSELF IN NZ AAA IF THAT IS YOUR STABLE HOME HAS THAT ALSO BEEN A DECISION ON THE PART OF YOU AND YOUR WIFE TOWARDS AAHH STABLE?


SAM: AHH WELL AS MUCH AS IT IS POSSIBLE, TO BE HONEST, MOST OF THE TIME I STAY ON THE AIRPLANE GOING SOMEWHERE OR COMING BACK FROM SOMEWHERE, WE HAVE AAHHH IT'S.. IT'S A VERY TERRIBLE, PATHETIC WAY OF LIFE BEING AN ACTOR AND UUMMM (CLEARS HIS THROAT) AND IT'S NOT FUN LEAVING THE FAMILY, SO REALLY THE BEST THING FOR US IS TO BEEN TO TAKE THE FAMILY WITH US


LM: DO YOU KEEP FRIENDS, I OFTEN WONDER CONDUCTORS AND MUSICIANS AND PERFORMERS HAVE TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO REALLY KEEP FRIENDS THAT WHO MATTER?


SAM: I AHHHH I AM VERY CONSCIENTIOUS ABOUT THAT, ROB FITCH AAHHH ACCUSED ME OF BEING THE MOST CONSCIENTIOUS FRIEND HE HAD EVER HAD (BOTH LAUGH) I MAKE A POINT OF RINGING PEOPLE AND WRITING THEM POSTCARDS AND KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THEM AS MUCH AS I POSSIBLY CAN, FRIENDS OR TERRIBLY VALUABLE TO ME AND I.. I SORT OF REGARD THEM AS PART OF MY EXTENDED FAMILY AS WELL.


LM: JOHN CLARK IS A VERY GOOD FRIEND OF YOURS TOO ISN'T HE? HE MAKES US LAUGH HYSTERICALLY AND IN FACT YOU AAAA YOU'VE... YOU'VE COMBINED WITH HIM HAVEN'T YOU TO FORM A FILM COMPANY HAVEN'T YOU?


SAM: YES I AM JUST ABOUT TO START A FILM IN NZ CALLED PREFECT STRANGERS WHICH A WONDERFUL AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS CALLED RACHEL BLAKE


LM: OH YES, SHE'S TERRIFIC


SAM: YEAH, AND AAAA THIS IS THE FIRST PRODUCTION COMPANY, WE'VE... WE'VE FOUNDED THIS COMPANY ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO IN JOHN CLARK'S KITCHEN, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WE WERE DRUNK BECAUSE IT WAS A FOLLY BUT IT WAS ONLY 11 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, SO I THINK..


LM: MAYBE THE 2 AREN'T MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.SO YOU KNOW WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF HEADING FROM HERE ON IN MMMM AS A ACTOR WHO I THINK IS REALLY WELL IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU BEEN ABLE TO PICK AND CHOOSE, ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE A VERY INTERESTING LINE OF, LOOKED IN THROUGH YOUR FILES AAAHHH BUT YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE A CONSCIOUS GAME PLAN, I FIND IT BETTER NOT TO TAKE MY CAREER TO SERIOUSLY, BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR WORK BUT DON'T BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR CAREER, THAT WAY UNHAPPINESS LIES.


SAM: HHMMMM, WELL IT'S NOT EXACTLY BRAIN SURGERY, AND AHHH IT'S NOT THE MOST SERIOUS CAREER IN THE WORLD TO BE HONEST WITH YOU..YOUR NOT SOLVE STARVATION IN AFRICA OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT SO IT IT WOULD BE FOLLY TO.. TO START BEING POMPOUS ABOUT WHAT YOU DO


LM: BUT PEOPLE DO APPROACH YOU THESE DAYS DON'T YOU THINK AS A STAGE?


SAM: ME!?


LM: WELL, AHHH ACTORS GENERALLY HAVE BEEN ELEVATED TO A INCREDIBLE LEVEL I..I FIND?


SAM: I KNOW I I THINK THAT IS A STRANGE THING, OF COURSE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN BEING A CELEBRITY AND BEING AN ACTOR I'M NOT A CELEBRITY, I'M SIMPLY AN ACTOR, A WORKING ACTOR.


LM: DELIBERATE NOT?


SAM: OHHHH, PROBABLY YEAH I ..I YES


LM: I WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST YOU COULD BE IF YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOU SEE?


SAM: MMMMM I WOULD FIND IT VERY UNCOMFORTABLE I...IT'S BAD ENOUGH BEING IN THE PUBLIC EYE BUT BEING SORT OF CELEBRATED IN THE PUBLIC EYE WOULD BE ANOTHER THING ALL TOGETHER. UUUMMM I..I THINK THAT UUMMM PEOPLE DEMAND OPINIONS AND MMMM DEMAND THINGS FROM ACTORS NECESSARILY ABLE TO PROVIDE THEY DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE THE WHERE WITH ALL (STARTS LAUGHING)


LM: SAM NEILL I JUST HAVE YOU FOR A COUPLE OF MORE MINUTES HERE ON RADIO LIVE NATIONAL COULD YOU JUST TALK QUICKLY ABOUT MOLOKAI, WITH IS THE FILM YOU PLAY MMM ALONG SIDE DAVID WINDHAM WITH PAUL COX'S FILM WHICH IS A STORY, A TRUE STORY OF THE BELGIUM PRIEST FATHER DAMIEN WHO WENT TO WORK ON THE WITH LEOPARDS UUMM IN A COLONY UMMM ISLAND IN HAWAII. QUITE A STORY ISN'T IT UUMMMM YOU DELIBERATELY CHOSE, I MEAN YOU LIKE FILMS LIKE THESES I SUPPOSE THAT SAY SOMETHING/


SAM: I.. I IT WASN'T THAT I WAS LOOKING FOR A FILM LIKE THIS, IT WAS JUST THAT AAAA A PAUL COX'S MOVIE, ANOTHER FILM MAKER THAT I ADMIRE VERY MUCH, ASKED ME TO DO IT AND DAVID WINDHAM IS REALLY 1 OF THE BEST ACTORS IN AUSTRALIA IS PLAYING THE LEAD AND I THOUGHT THIS SOUNDS GREAT AND I MUST SAY I FEEL VERY PRIVILEGED TO HAVE DONE IT. WE WERE WORKING IN THE LAST REMAINING AAAA MMM IN NORTH AMERICA AND AAAHHH WITH SOME EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE WHO HAVE PATIENCE FOR THAT AND MMM IT'S AAHH IT'S A REALLY INTERESTING STORY ABOUT ABOUT AMAZING MAN I THINK THEY ARE GOING


LM: CANONIZED HIM


SAM: MMM I THINK HE MAY HAVE BEEN CANONIZED ALREADY, HE... HE PROBABLY BE A SAINT 1 OF THESE DAYS YOU KNOW HE.. HE DESERVES TO BE.


LM: I JUST NOTICED THIS IS JUST A LITTLE SILLY THING A LITTLE FOLLY TO END ON TOO, IN FACT, APART FROM THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE BEGUN A NEW CAREER AS A WINE MAKER, YOUR NAME AT BIRTH WAS ACTUALLY NIGEL.


SAM: YES, I TRY TO KEEP THAT QUITE BUT UUHHMM (SHE IS LAUGHING HER HEAD OFF) THANKS FOR LETTING EVERYONE KNOW, UUMMM YEAH SAM WAS A NICKNAME THAT I UUUHHH WAS GIVEN TO ME AT SCHOOL AND UUUHH I ADOPTED IT WITH SOME ENTHUSIASM (STILL LAUGHING AS HE TALKS) BECAUSE OF MMMMM NIGEL IS A AWKWARD SORT OF A NAME AND CONTEXT.


LM: WELL QUITE AND ANYTHING REMOTELY UUMMM I THINK IT WAS ACTUALLY THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS TEAM WHO FOREVER CAST NIGEL AS ..WHICH I AM SURE IS NOT ACCURATE OF YOU! SAM NEILL THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US ON LIVE.


SAM: TAKE CARE THEN


LM: LOVELY TO TALK TO YOU


SAM: HHMMM THANK YOU

TRANSCRIPT MADE BY SHARON. PLEASE DON'T BLAME LIFE MATTERS OR SAM :)