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Actor Sam Neill sat next to Princess Diana at the original Jurassic Park premiere in London. It turns out that he actually had vastly different experiences from one premiere to the next. However, Neill didn’t exactly anticipate what Diana’s reactions to the movie would be.

Sam Neill initially thought Japan hated the original ‘Jurassic Park’

Princess Diana, Ariana Richards, director Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, and stars Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough at 'Jurassic Park' premiere smiling in formal attire and shaking hands, while the film cast and crew shake hands with Diana.
L-R: Princess Diana, Ariana Richards, director Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, and stars Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough | Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

GQ interviewed Neill to talk about his career experience from the original Jurassic Park to the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion. He noted that he hasn’t seen Steven Spielberg’s classic in about 30 years because he saw it so many times when it first came out.

“I must’ve watched it half a dozen times when we went around the world premiering it, and I did enjoy sitting in the theatre, and monitoring how people were reacting to it,” Neill said. “That was very different wherever we were. In America, people really make noise. They just whoop and holler at everything.”

However, Neill had a very different encounter during the Jurassic Park premiere in Japan.

“In Japan, there was stony silence all the way through: they didn’t laugh at any jokes, they didn’t scream at any of the frights,” Neill recalled. “They were just a completely stone still audience. And we looked at each other when the lights came up, we said, ‘Well, that’s not going to work here. I don’t think they like it at all.’ They filed out of the theatre, and everyone was quiet. Then when we got on the street, we were mobbed. They actually loved it.”

Nevertheless, Neill experienced something entirely different when they brought Jurassic Park to Princess Diana in London.

Sam Neill sat next to Princess Diana at the ‘Jurassic Park’ premiere

Neill told GQ that he sat next to Diana for the Jurassic Park premiere. He explained that she was “jumping out of her skin” and really enjoyed watching the movie alongside her. The actor had already watched the movie a few times, so he really wanted to keep an eye on Diana while she experienced Jurassic Park.

“I’d seen it three or four times by then,” Neill said. “So it was really half an eye on the screen, and half an eye on her, looking at how she was reacting, and sometimes she would have her hands in front of her eyes. I mean, she really loved it.”

Unfortunately, Neill didn’t get too much of an opportunity to chat with Diana after the Jurassic Park London premiere. However, she did have an interest in having an extensive conversation with his son.

“A little bit, but my son — who at that stage was about 10 years old — she was much more interested in talking to him,” Neill said. “They had a long chat. And they agreed on everything.”

The actor never thought he would return for ‘Jurassic World Dominion’


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GQ asked if Neill ever thought he would have the opportunity to return to this cinematic universe after Jurassic Park III. He never thought that he would star in Jurassic World Dominion past a small, cameo role. However, Neill ultimately returned as one of the main characters in the movie.

“No, that was completely out of my mind,” Neill responded. “And you know, after they started the Jurassic World franchise, it’s a different world — with a different cast, a different director. It just didn’t cross my mind. So I was quite surprised when the offer came and I wasn’t entirely convinced whether it was a good idea. I was interested in a bit cameo, or something like that.”

However, Jurassic World Dominion director Colin Trevorrow ultimately managed to interest him in the project.

Neill continued: “But I was at the Sitges Film Festival, they were giving were a lifetime award — and Colin [Trevorrow], the director, he goes every year. Anyway, he was there at the same time as me, and we went out to lunch, we had a lot of paella, and he talked me through the intention, and that the script was still in formation, but it was well enough that it was something I should actually be doing.”

It’s unlikely that anything will ever beat getting to watch Jurassic Park alongside Diana.