29 Nov 2020

Sam Neill: 'A little optimism at the end of a rather dark tunnel'

From Standing Room Only, 4:40 pm on 29 November 2020

Sam Neill has had a busy year. He opened 2020 playing Phil O'Brien as a guest star on Matinee Idle, and after that, he shot off to the UK to star in the blockbuster Jurassic World.

And then Covid happened.

Sam Neill says "Uncharted with Sam Neill" was the greatest adventure of his life.

Sam Neill says "Uncharted with Sam Neill" was the greatest adventure of his life. Photo: Supplied

Neill said it was a complex arrangement dealing with the coronavirus on a film set, and the crew were all staying together and everyone was mostly wearing a face mask and a visor.

"I estimate I've been tested for Covid something like 55 times. I've got a pretty tough inner nose by now."

But then Neill became an online sensation in his enforced downtime with a Cinema Quarantino production Das Fone Hell starring alongside Helena Bonham Carter.

As well as short films with ropey continuity, and poetry readings in his own unique style, he is also being recognised as one of the Icons of the Arts Foundation.

He found lockdown "weirdly energising".

"I'd write these ridiculous little scripts, I'd send them to a friend ... and we'd just shoot ourselves on our telephones and then I got a friend to cut them together. "

He and his costars filmed snippets on their phones.

"The idea was that they should be the roughest films ever made and it didn't matter if the rooms looked completely different."

Neill is currently in quarantine in Auckland.

Despite "cinema being in such a shambles" this year, his movie Rams is currently at number one at the box office.

He thought it would be shelved, but it was released just when cinemas started opening in Australia and New Zealand.

"It's a film that ultimately makes you feel good ... a little optimism at the end of a rather dark tunnel for Australia and New Zealand, it's turned out to be a rather good thing."

 

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