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Hero image for Sam Neill: On his early directing career and moving into acting...

Sam Neill: On his early directing career and moving into acting...

Interview – 2009

Sam Neill moved from directing at the National Film Unit, to becoming one of New Zealand's most internationally successful actors. His resume of 60+ features includes lead roles in a number of local movies, from a man alone in breakout feature Sleeping Dogs to an unusual reverend in Dean Spanley.

In this ScreenTalk interview, Neill talks about:

  • How his university friend John Laing indirectly led him to a job at the National Film Unit
  • The attitude of making 'one film for them, and one for yourself' while directing at the NFU
  • The challenges of shooting retro classic ski movie Flare 
  • How he would edit his NFU films differently in hindsight
  • His documentary on innovative architect Ian Athfield
  • How one role leads to another: winning the lead in Sleeping Dogs after playing a priest in Barry Barclay’s Ashes
  • His enthusiasm for "very unusual" movie Dean Spanley
  • His thoughts on reincarnation
  • Working with screen legend Peter O’Toole and director Toa Fraser on Dean Spanley
This video was first uploaded on 6 March 2009, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview - Clare O'Leary. Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann