Neill also shares his reaction to reading the raptor dream scene for the first time.

First off, let me just say that Sam Neill’s new movie Rams is quite good. He plays a sheep farmer who tries to outwit the authorities when a lethal illness calls for a purge of every sheep in the valley. The movie successfully leaps from comedy to tragedy and back again, and Neill navigates the tonal shifts seamlessly. But, if you’ve read even the smallest fraction of my work, you know there was absolutely no way I was talking to Neill without bringing up the Jurassic Park franchise.

As someone with a deep appreciation for every single installment of the series, I opted to put the focus on the most criticized of the bunch, Jurassic Park III – specifically one of the most talked-about moments from that movie, the scene when a raptor talks to Alan during a dream. Here’s what Neill said when asked for his first reaction to reading that scene:

“I though, ‘That’s pretty cool!’ [Laughs] I was just talking to someone earlier in the day who said, ‘I really like Jurassic Park III and it gets an unfair [treatment].’ He was from Rotten Tomatoes, I think it was him. And I said, ‘Thank you very much!’ I agree that the last 10 minutes are way too easy and way too hurried, but I think up to that point, it’s pretty damn good.”

Sam Neill in Jurassic Park 3
Image via Universal Pictures

While I was thrilled to hear that Neill and the wonderful Joel Meares from Rotten Tomatoes were both in the JP3 fan club with me, the bigger surprise came during the next portion of our Jurassic Park conversation. As someone who’s a big believer that Neill gives a pitch-perfect performance as Alan Grant in the 1993 original, I was shocked to hear that Neill didn’t think he got a firm handle on the character until the third movie:

“For me, by the the time I got to #3, probably a bit late in the day, I’d sort of worked out how to play that character, which I hadn’t really quite gotten around to in the first one. I was still trying to work out, how do you play that guy in the hat? Something that comes completely naturally to someone like Harrison Ford. Not naturally to me. And something that Chris Pratt, fantastic guy, has given a lot of thought to and really worked out how to do it. And you have to think how to do that. It’s a special skill. You’re not just playing a character. You need a whole skillset. You need a whole armory to play an action hero and I wish I had known what those skills were when we did the first one, but there we are! [Laughs]”

That’s the bulk of our Jurassic chat right there, but be sure to keep an eye out for my full interview with Neill to find out where else I attempted to sneak in some Alan Grant questions while we discussed his experience making Rams, which is set to hit VOD on Friday, February 5th.

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