Sam Neill has revealed that he’s been receiving treatment for stage three blood cancer and is now in remission.
The Jurassic Park franchise star has spoken to various outlets about writing his new memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, which he credits with giving him a “reason to live” following his diagnosis in March 2022.
He told The Guardian: “I realised it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live. I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow… that will entertain me.'”
Neill told the BBC that he was diagnosed with “a ferocious type of aggressive” non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The New Zealander said that he first noticed he had lumpy glands in his neck during a publicity tour for Jurassic World Dominion last year.
The actor said that reaction to his health news was “pretty phlegmatic” but it made him “take stock of things”.
“I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?'” he added. “I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing.”
Neill was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy, but when that began to fail he started on a new chemotherapy drug and is now cancer-free. The actor will stay on the monthly drug for the rest of his life.
His representatives confirmed to Entertainment Weekly yesterday (March 17) that Neill “is very well and back at work starring opposite Annette Bening in the upcoming limited series Apples Never Fall,” the TV adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2021 bestselling novel.
Meanwhile, in January Neill called former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a “great leader” and defended her resignation.
Ardern said that six “challenging” years in the role had affected her, saying that she no longer has “enough in the tank” to lead the country. She added that leading New Zealand through five-and-a-half years of “crisis” has been “most fulfilling” but also challenging.
Neill, a fellow Kiwi, took to social media to defend Ardern’s decision, writing on Twitter: “[Jacinda Ardern] resigned today. I am not surprised nor do I blame her. Her treatment, the pile on, in the last few months has been disgraceful and embarrassing.
“All the bullies, the misogynists, the aggrieved. She deserved so much better. A great leader. Thanks PM!”