Sam Neill admits he was ‘irked’ by Jurassic Park marketing campaign

‘I think it slightly irked us, the actors, to be reminded from time to time we were not real stars,’ said Neill

Annabel Nugent
Monday 27 March 2023 06:57 BST
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Sam Neill has reflected on 1992 Jurassic Park, recalling that he was “slightly irked” by the film’s marketing campaign.

The 75-year-old actor opened up about his long career in his recently released memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?

Neill acted opposite Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern in Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur blockbuster.

The actor said he felt slightly insecure about his leading part in the movie, in which he plays paleontologist Dr Alan Grant.

“I was racked by the usual insecurities,” Neill wrote in his book, questioning why he had been cast in the role given that he had thought of himself as an “ordinary guy on screen”.

“Why me? I’m certainly not an action hero. The idea of me going hand to hand with Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger is simply absurd,” he said.

“I’m more of the ordinary guy on screen. If indeed I was supposed to be that sort of action guy, I was already, I think, 45 years old, and as always had left things about 10 or 15 years too late.”

He said his “imposter syndrome” deepened due to the film’s marketing campaign, which focused on its CGI dinosaurs as opposed to the actors.

(Getty Images for The Star)

“The impostor syndrome would be enhanced later on when we were out and about promoting the movie,” Neill wrote.

“The more or less official line from Universal Pictures was that, with Jurassic Park, they had set out to prove that they, with Spielberg, could make huge blockbusters without ‘movie stars’.

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“This was true enough, but I think it slightly irked us, the actors, to be reminded from time to time we were not real ‘stars’.”

Jurassic World, the sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, has stormed into the global record books
Jurassic World, the sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, has stormed into the global record books (ILM/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entert)

Neill continued: “It also rather overlooked the well-established and highly respected careers of Laura [Dern], Jeff [Goldblum], and Dicky [Richard Attenborough]. As it turned out, we know now that Harrison Ford turned down the part, so the ‘no movie star’ plan may be not entirely true.”

The actor made a point to emphasise how grateful he was to star in the film, clarifying that he was only “slightly” irked by the marketing campaign.

“I emphasise the word ‘slightly’, because more than anything we were all delighted to be working with Steven,” he wrote. “And to be working on something that would be absolutely groundbreaking, as it turned out.”

Elsewhere in the memoir, Neill reflected on the near-death situation that he and the Jurassic Park cast and crew faced when shooting in Hawaii.

The actor also reflected on his friendship with Robin Williams with whom he worked on the 1999 film Bicentennial Man.

Neill revealed that he is being treated for stage-three cancer. He said that he is now cancer-free but that he will be on chemotherapy medication.

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