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OK, all right. Got it. Good. Let's start the show.
Lock the gate. All right, let's do this. How are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fucking frozen people? Jesus, man, how's it going? I'm sorry if you're out there and you're freezing to death, literally, I am sorry that you're going through that. There's nothing worse than being cold and not being able to get warm. I hope you're OK. I hope you have quilts.
I hope you have a space heater. Don't set yourself on fire.
I don't know what's going on with where you are, but we used to do it the the tenement heat way.
I don't know if you're in New York, do you have that radiator or the radiators freezing? Is the hissing stopped, has that horrible dry heat hiss.
You've got to put a like a baking baking tin for water under those things, you'll just, you know, all the liquid will be taken out of your body.
Sorry. Name that tune, that's my fucking radiator in New York City, I tell you, I've never been more grateful to be in California when it's not burning, then at this particular moment, everybody was like, you've got to move to Texas. I think I'll wait. I think I'll wait on the big move to Texas. Not that it was on the menu, but I guess this is the way it's going to be all over erratic weather. Who knows whether beyond what we can handle with the structures that we've put in place?
The infrastructure we built was not for almost unsurvivable temperatures and conditions.
So either we fucking do something to maybe stop the escalation of this or make better hats, make better boots, make better jackets, make better pipes, make better infrastructure. You know, some of this shit has not been updated since the turn of the century. I don't know where you're from or what town you're in, but infrastructure's a back burner item most of the time. So some of that shit that you guys are relying on might be from nineteen 04.
But again, I hope you're taking care of yourself. I can't imagine why can I've been in some pretty gnarly two or three day snowstorms, but to not have power, to not have heat, that's just fucking awful.
Kick on those burners.
Man, is the gas working? Is the natural gas working? You've got a gas stove.
I guess this is going to be a. The era of guns and generators, you better get your guns, you better get your generators, you better learn how to store your food, canned, canned, some stuff, make some pickles.
I don't know. It's not what I'm doing. And I guess some people have been doing it for a while. Get that jerky going. No human jerky. Do not make human jerky. All right.
I don't care how cold it gets. Don't eat your family. God damn it. All right. Have some soup. OK, Sam Neill is on the show today.
I'm very excited about it because I didn't know what to expect, but we had a kind of a lovely conversation. You know him from Jurassic Park, The Hunt for Red October, the piano and lots of films he's made in in New Zealand. He's a native New Zealand person.
He's also known for his many vineyards and his two paddock's wine. He was at the farm on one of his vineyards.
When we talked to him, people, he was like in a bar of his own building of his own creation in one of his vineyard buildings with a bunch of wine behind him.
I said it wasn't video so he could start drinking.
He's also become sort of an online favourite with his social media videos of him singing songs and hanging out with farm animals and drinking his wine, I might add. Sam Neill, great conversation.
I am. I'm having I'm not having a hard time, but I'm having a rough time. I'm having a rough time.
People the assumption I made at the beginning of this shit show was true, that that as this thing goes on, you will become more acquainted with who you really are.
And I'm not so sad to get down to the baseline. I did just spend a couple of hours on Twitter reveling in the death of Rush Limbaugh. I was happy to know that my armor comes up pretty quickly. I think I got out while I was ahead, or at least even.
But look, the honest to God truth is, having done talk radio, it's not that I don't have him in perspective or it's not that I don't understand that he was a capable and pioneering broadcaster.
No one paused better than Rush. And I can say that honestly. That if there's one thing that he brought to the table. It was letting something sit for a minute. After he said something terrible. After he celebrated the death of somebody. Or the bullying of the vulnerable? Or the pain. And and sickness that those he judged and disagreed with was as he reveled in their demise, in their pain, in their deaths. He would let it sit there for a minute.
As if to let you revel. In the evil fucking piece of shit that he was. Rush Limbaugh. And I'm talking about Rush Limbaugh. Was an evil, malignant piece of garbage responsible for more deaths and more brain fucking. Than any broadcaster in history. Many of us have lost relatives to to Rush's show. To his way of thinking. To the rancid garbage. He put into people's brains. He was proud of it. He was proud that laughing at the pain of others and causing pain and hatred.
He loved it. Fuckin. Good riddance. So what I was saying was in terms of figuring out who you are, I got kind of off topic there and now I'm just trying to stop myself in the midst of this ongoing anxiety and sort of inability to sort of function in the anxiety of waiting to get a vaccine, of waiting to get some sort of normalcy, of wondering how things unfold and just dealing with the day to day.
De de de de de de de de today of the day, the same day. I have to fight my desire to do dumb little things. Man, I wanted to go replaced a cartridge on my turntable and switch out my turntable. That can wait. No, I messed up and did it. My Rugg, one of my drugs is coming unraveled. I know there's a drug repair place around the corner here, but that can wait like those weird things.
Like I literally have to say to myself, dude, you don't need to do that, dude. You don't need to run to the fucking supermarket for smoked paprika. You don't even need it in a recipe. Just because I lock in, I get obsessed and I think I got to go do it. Maska, go do it. But you don't have to do that stuff. That's a daily, daily struggle with me when I'm alone during the day is not to go to a store, to a place or do a thing that is fucking completely unnecessary.
Are going to get a kitten in a few weeks, probably going to call him Mingus. All right, here we go.
Sam Neill, the new film, another great film, beautiful small movie. This is called Rams.
It's about two sheep farming brothers in Western Australia who are at war with each other over their prized breed of rams and have to and come together kind of in the face of adversity maybe.
Do they? It's available now on all Digital On-Demand platforms. And it's a beautiful movie. I highly recommend this movie Rams. It's a great story. And it's so tight, so simple. Characters are beautiful farmers in New Zealand or Australia, in Western Australia. And this tension, this family tension, heirloom, beautiful heirloom sheep.
A lot of there's a lot of goat testicles in this movie and the the handling of goat testicles. Now, that doesn't get you in.
I don't know what will. Sam was at his vineyard in New Zealand when we had this conversation. And you'll notice that because I'm not doing stand up.
You know, when I got an audience, I'll keep trying to get some laughs. He was great. Truly a truly a joy to talk to Sam Neill.
How are you, Sam? I'm fine, thank you, Mark. Nice to meet you. I see you've got Gimme Shelter behind you. Was that the movie about Altamont and all that?
Yeah, it definitely had Altamont in it. It was, yeah. The Mesa of the Meixell brothers. Yeah, that was the one. It was they set out to make an exciting, fun documentary about the Rolling Stones tour, and then it turned into a fucking demonic nightmare.
Yeah, but I heard a reassessment of all that, that that cast the Stones into a much worse light than you would have it.
That's true. I read a book there's a book that was written by a journalist in San Francisco. And yeah, it turns out that the stones were just awful from the get go, that there was no precautions taken, that no one was prepared for anything and and they didn't care.
Yeah, it was actually really chilling account of what was chilling about it was just how out of control it got because there was no bathrooms, there was no doctors, there was no water.
And they didn't expect that many people in like like 100000 people, however many came.
It was just insanity. No one was there. It was chaos. And then there was this bad drugs going around and everyone was out of their mind. The stage was in. Even the stage was like three feet off the ground, Sam, three feet with no security. But it was crazy.
And and and people wonder why I don't go to festivals anymore.
Scary. Did you used to go?
The last time I went was actually in Ireland maybe ten years ago. In Ireland.
In Ireland. Yeah. It was kind of cool. It was good.
It was out in the middle of nowhere and there was so many more good bands than I expected.
It's a nice way to spend the day.
There was a good chance they had like tents with different things on and. Sure, yeah, yeah. It was a choice of like three things at any one time. Who your bands work.
Who do you like. Who do I like. Yeah. Oh who you go to bands. Okay. My ideal festival. Yeah. I'd need to revive them but I need little feet with slow George.
Oh nice. Yeah sure. Yeah. Probably headlining. Great. I'd like Randy Newman and one of the side tents. Oh Randy's great. Yeah.
I don't want them on the main stage, I want them in a tent so there's just a hundred of us.
And Randy, you know he feel better about that. He doesn't need the pressure. You know, he is hard on himself.
I tell you who I also saw live and to my complete surprise, they were about as good a thing live as you could possibly imagine was Radiohead.
Oh, yeah. You wouldn't imagine them being a great live band. They were fantastic.
Great live band. Why wouldn't she imagine that? Because they're sort of enchanting somehow, you know?
Well, they're not exactly rock and roll, you know what I mean? A out of and and it's kind of Mesoblast rock. And you wouldn't think that to be a good day out, but oh my God, they were fantastic. Thom Yorke because was really compelling.
They get into a zone. They're great. I saw you sing a Randy Newman song from Sail Away. I think it was on Sail Away. The one on one of your what is that, Instagram or Twitter?
What do you do the little movies on what dare to do on that. Yeah, I, I'm, I'm Dayton, Ohio.
Dayton, Ohio. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's a kind of a safe song. I wanted to do sail away and I thought, oh, no, maybe not everyone gets Randy Newman. Not not everyone gets irony. Not everyone understands that. Yeah, but it's not him.
Yeah, it's his it's a character that he wrote one of the best songs ever written.
I want that song. Guilty is one of the greatest songs ever. Do you know the song? It's incredible.
Oh my God. That song kills me. I can't get through it without crying.
I know. And it's a great song to cover to, you know.
Yeah, it's a sweet song. And then like, I like that last night I had a dream either. So I, I had him, I interviewed him once for a couple hours.
It was one of the high points in my life.
What a great thing to do. I was listening the other day to it's hilarious and and grotesque. I love L.A..
Oh yeah. Yeah it's a great yeah. Yeah.
He's such a he's so funny man and dark too you know. Yeah. How dark is. You can leave your hat on.
I love that song. Yeah.
But it's dark. It's dark and creepy and strange. What about let's burn down the cornfield. Oh God. The list is endless isn't it. We need, we need five hours with Randy.
Yeah. Bad. He's great. So are you. And is that a bar. And do you have a wine bar in your house.
What's, what's going on in that room.
Did you think this is, this is you know I have four vineyards and this is the kind of this is kind of the principle one and it's it's midsummer. And you know that the vines are in full, pumping at full. Right at the moment, my cattle in my sheep are over there, so we have four vineyards in each one of them has a house on it. This isn't the house. This is if you if you come to my if you come to my vineyard, this is where I will I will pour wine down your throat, literally.
Well, you know, I would like I don't I don't drink anymore. But if you can get me citizenship, I might need it and I'll actually do that.
So it's getting a little dicey here. I don't know if it's a great turn of events is going to save us. So I don't know how many people do you know many Americans who have run away down there. Do you have friends from show business, Sam, that have bought palatial chunks of property down there?
I don't have any. No, it's it's it's mostly it's mostly I believe the chunks of property have been bought by people with something called hedge funds. I don't know what hedge funds are exactly. I think we all need one because there are obviously they obviously, you know, they reap great profits from whatever these things are.
But, yeah, they're a bundle of different stocks run by a few guys. And those guys take other people's money and gamble with it on their hedge fund stocks. And some of them make a lot of money. I think that's my limited understanding of it.
Well, we're in the wrong business. We need to we need to gamble with other people's money.
I yes, I have no idea. Sometimes I don't even know how I'm getting paid.
I just assume the guy I call the guy, the guy who tells me I'm great and they want me.
He also tells me I got paid. So I, I just have to trust that guy.
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I am that guy around here at any one time. I have about ten people working for me. Yeah. And yeah. So I'm the guy that I'm the guy that everyone depends on and I have to say there is no money and I don't like to tell them that because they're all working for me in a wind capacity right there. There is no money in wine.
So what is it, what is it about the wine people. I mean, what are you is this just a way of you servicing your alcoholism?
I mean, how it works, it works. It seems like a lot to do for. Yeah, you can just buy a few bottles a day.
You don't you know, I know that a sane man would do exactly that scene. Man in in my case, it's kind of historical. I have I have family. I found out I got family that goes back to eighty five and growing wine. And my father and I went.
That was in Sicily. Oh, you have Italian family. He wasn't he wasn't. He wasn't actually. What's that noise? I don't know you or me. I don't think it's someone upstairs is that someone upstairs having a good time? It's the ghost of your great grandfather.
Yes, maybe now that he was that was a man called Benjamin Ingham and he went to went to Sicily and made a fortune from Marcello.
Oh, I see. So he was he was not Italian. He wasn't Italian.
It was it was a Yorkshireman. But on the Neel's side, yeah. I'm I'm fourth generation, possibly fifth in wine and spirits. But I'm I'm the first one. I'm the first Neal to grow wine.
Wait, so you're the fifth generation in wine and spirits, but you're the first one to actually make their own. Is that is that what you're really telling me? Yeah.
Yeah. That's what merchants and we're drowning in us. Is that the I don't want to I don't want to be stereotyping. But is that the Irish line, the Neals.
That's the Irish land. Oh yes. What part do you spend time in Ireland at all.
I have but and in fact I've worked in Ireland two or three times and and I love going back and I kind of feel weirdly at home.
And I tell you, there's something about Ireland that that kind of makes me feel comfortable. And I was puzzled as to whether that's because my first seven years were there or if it's if it's a DNA thing.
Well, I'll tell you, I don't want to burst your bubble, but I'm I'm 100 percent Ashkenazi Jew and I have the exact same feeling in Ireland.
So say so maybe maybe don't lean on the genetics so much.
Let's go with the other thing. But Makhmur all sounds entirely French to me.
Yeah, I don't know why that is there. It does look French, it sounds French, but it isn't. It goes all the way back to like Belarus I think. Pale of settlement pogroms.
Yeah I come the yeah.
I come from a line of, of, of tailers and people who own surplus stores.
Yeah. It never pays to sort of go back to France. I think Stephen Fry's family. You know that you know that series. Who do you think you are. Yeah.
No but we have one here somewhere. Yeah. Finding your roots. Yeah.
Finding your roots and and and whenever anyone says Belarus or something it always ends up with some grotesque thing happens in the. Yeah, yeah it was.
It's that's the Palestinian people. Those are the Jews, right. Yeah. Usually, yeah.
Yeah. Or pogroms or some. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. No it never you know it never it doesn't generally end well for the Jews like. Yeah.
Know it seems like the Jews that ended up in America and maybe in England they're only there because they were running away there anywhere there are surviving it because they left in a hurry wisely.
Yeah. Yeah. The ones who got out under the wire. Yeah.
But OK, so you come fifth generation spirits but you're the guy that made the investment, you're the one that did it. Do you have like are you a wine nerd. Is that what it is. Because like I don't drink anymore. So I, and I enjoyed wine but it seems like it's one of those things like there's no end to what you could obsess about.
Yes. Yes. Thank you. But no, look, I'm yeah. I love wine, but I'm not I'm not I'm not I'm not crazy about it. I'm not I'm not exactly wild eyed about it, but I think it's more of course, I deeply care about this. I care about what's in the bottle. Is that one of yours? And yeah. And I'm I'm wildly ambitious that this should be the greatest wine in the world. Yeah.
I'm I don't I have no ambitions as an actor at all.
No more. Oh really. But I started off very humbly, modestly in wine. Yeah. And and my ambition gets more and more out of control every year. Right. And and and you know what, Mark? I think I'm getting close to it. I think I'm getting very close to making the greatest wine on the planet.
So that's great. That's great that, you know, all you need to do is believe that. Sam, I dare you. No one could take and no one can take that away from you.
Is some self-delusion or fool from the South Pacific?
I'm not I'm not. You just you're a good audience and I don't talk to anybody. I'm all alone here, Sam. You know, this isolation thing's starting to starting to get to me.
Oh, my God. I completely understand that. Not only that, when you get out of isolation, which I finally did in December. Yeah. When I when I got out of quarantine here. Sort of wanted to go back into isolation, I've become so institutionalised that people walking, you know, unguarded in the streets, unmasked, terrifying, kissing each other, breathing everywhere.
Yeah, I it completely freaked me out.
I was in a state of absolute chaotic terror. Yeah.
I can't, I don't. I talked to my friend in New York and he said his son is taking the train downtown and like a train, a train.
You're going to let him back in the house. That's right. So where are you where are you holed up? Glendale, Glendale, West Los Angeles. I'm in Los Angeles, OK? But I'm OK, man. You know, it's all right. You know, I'm I'm working it out. I'm figuring it out. I try to talk to people. I was doing what you were doing on Instagram. I was. I make videos every morning, but yours are like a minute, two minutes.
I'm on there for for an hour. Just talking to. Yeah. To a live audience of about 800 to 1000 people in the morning, just wandering around talking to my cats. I play records forum.
And then and then by the end of the day, it gets anywhere from like 10000 to 25000 views like something. That's how bored people are here. They'll watch me make coffee for an hour, you know, at some point during their day.
And you're doing it on camera. Yeah, do it on the.
Yeah, I do. With my phone. But, you know, the great thing about show business right now, at least here, is that I have the same production values with my phone is The Tonight Show has so no one knowing everything is true.
And a better said, my God, you got Mick Jagger on. You said look at that.
Yeah, exactly. But wait, so you had no ambition as an actor ever know so.
Well, how'd you get into it?
Every time I get a job, I'm completely astonished at who are these fools that want to employ me.
It's that attitude they love so much. I don't know.
It's I it's Harrison Ford turned them down. Yeah.
Obviously, everybody's work. Sam Neill, number twenty seven on the list.
Does he still act? I don't know. He's making one. We'll just see. Alive. Yeah, alive. Follow him up. How old is he now.
Yeah. Yeah, but. But how did you get why did you get started in it.
I didn't really mean to. I didn't really, I don't, I never imagined that I would get into acting as a career. Yeah. I knew you loved acting and I started school in it and it was a sort of it was therapeutic as much as anything.
I underscore that by saying I really, really don't like drama as a therapy. But it was therapeutic for me because I had a very bad stammer as a child.
And and I I started very badly and I hardly spoke for 14 years until I sort of gradually started to get some confidence as an adolescent. And I realized on stage I could actually speak clearly and and. Huh. And that gave me the courage to sort of to actually talk to people and talk to adults, for instance. Yeah. And then and then when I left, I got a sort of pretty ordinary degree in English at university. Then I left there thinking, I don't know what I'm going to do.
I would have liked to have gone to drama school. There wasn't any drama school to go to. I would have liked to have gone straight into acting. There wasn't really any film being made in New Zealand those days. And what was going on there?
Anything what did you do? What did people do in New Zealand? What your dad was he was in wine and spirits.
Oh, so in the oh he was actually there. He he had a liquor store. Yeah. He was a they were merchants, nail company, wine spirits merchants. OK, ok. Yeah. And he was, he said to me you need to get a job. And I realised it did and there was, there was no chance of acting as a career, there wasn't any work. So I, I got a job working as a documentary film and I trained as a film editor.
I became a director and then I did that for six or seven years. While I was doing that, I would sort of moonlight in one or two, my friend's little films, little short films. And a guy called Roger Donaldson spotted me in one of those films and cast me as the lead again. I no, I, I thought, this guy's crazy. Yeah. And in the first. In the first color feature film ever made in New Zealand and the first film that had been made for 20 years.
I think asleep, sleeping dogs and that sort of stuff, and then I went back to making documentaries, someone saw me in that film and they asked me to come to Australia and act on a film called My Brilliant Career opposite Judy Davis. She's great. There's a big movie.
Yeah, well, that went calm. And I realized when I got to Australia that for the first time in my life, people said, you're actually really quite good.
Said, No, no, you're good. You're a good actor. Oh, come on, pull my other.
And and then I started making a good living as an actor, and that took me to England and points beyond. So it's sort of and I'm still surprised it's actually 50 years. Someone reminded me rather cruelly in an interview earlier today, since the first time my face was seen on celluloid. Yeah. As a nineteen nineteen seventy one or something like that.
That's a long time. Yes, it's a long time.
Well, let me just ask you, though, like so you did all that you were six, seven years in documentaries. What does that mean. There are some amazing business in documentaries in New Zealand in the late 60s. I mean what how is that unemployment? What what we what were the documentaries about?
Yeah, well, it was it was it was the New Zealand National Film Unit, and it was it was a government. Most people work for the government in those days work. And and we made films for four government departments. A lot, a lot for tourists and publicity.
And and occasionally we get a film. We make a film for ourselves.
And so my very first film was for the New Zealand Post Office.
It was about telephone courtesy. Oh, yeah.
How to how to, how to, how to answer something and not offend people.
And that was you were you acted in that film? No, no, no. I wrote it and directed it.
Oh, we had to bring another guy in. Yeah.
I cast I cast my friends in these roles that I had written. The New Zealand Post Office ran the round the telephones in those days, different days.
I mean, like so what do you tell me? So at that time, what did you know? Everybody on the island.
I mean, how how was there a lot of people there like were you in those days? In those days, there were two and a half million people in New Zealand and 70 million sheep were vastly outnumbered by the sheep.
And what are the I don't want to be ignorant, but what are the indigenous people called Mari? Mari. Right, right. Right. Yeah. And now was did you know, was there a dynamic between the Mari and like your family or people in general when you were growing up? I don't know what the situation is there.
Yeah, it's it's it's an interesting situation. I grew up in the South Island and there's very, very few where there were very few married people in the South Island in those days. Things have changed considerably, like indigenous people pretty much everywhere, there's disadvantage and a fair amount of poverty to up in the north, but things are changing rapidly and the are people where it's very different from Australia, for instance, there was a treaty that called the Treaty of Waitangi that was struck between the crown, the British and and the Maori people in 1840.
OK. And and since the 90s, the Waitangi Tribunal has been redressing grievances and returning land and and and compensation, compensating in a monetary sense for loss of lands and and deprivation one way or another. So while it's not perfect, I think we're a very different society than the one I grew up in. People are much more respectful and aware of of of of Maori traditions. And and tomorrow, that's Maori language. And I'm actually very proud of how integral Maori people and Maori culture is to is to New Zealand society.
Isn't it in Tica Whitey Maori. Part Maori. Absolutely. Yeah. Because I just watch that movie. It's still in my mind because I watched that movie that you were in the Hunt for the Wylder people and it was that kid Mari as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
What a great movie. Yeah, yeah. I think it's kind of a sort of kind of central to the story of New Zealand. Now to that film in a strange way. Is it. Yeah, I think so. It has a sort of healing quality. I mean, there's a lot of there's there's a lot of wounds, a lot of a lot of there's a lot of blood in the soil. And you see there were in the late 60s and 70s what's what were known as the Maori Wars when I was growing up.
There's now known as the New Zealand wars or the land land wars. And there's still a lot of bad blood. But that's a film like World of People has has the effect of bringing people together rather than separating them.
Yeah, it's beautiful. So it had a profound effect on on the culture there. That film in particular played well there.
I'm not sure about profound, but had had a big effect. Yeah. You know, it's a beautiful movie. And I mean and I you know, it's just sort of interesting.
The last I watched the the Rams movie as well, and I like this version of you, this kind of like, you know, beaten down, aging, emotionally stifled, curmudgeonly.
Yeah. I read somewhere once that Gregory Peck would make notes on his scripts, but on most pages he would put these three letters at the top of the page in a bar and someone asked him, what does it mean? I mean, Mr. Peck, he said no acting required.
Well, I mean, it seems like, you know, what kind of what kind of animals you got on the vineyard. There you got is that a farm? Do all vineyards have animals? How does it work? Do you have to have animals? What do you do with the animals? You're making wine. Are you butchering animals to milking and what are you doing?
Do you make milk? No, I don't make any milk.
Mean, I love the innocent premise of that question. Now they look at everything we do here is organic, make organic wines. We use a lot of biodynamic principles. And and for that, for instance, animals are integral to those procedures. So, OK, I'll highland cows have big scary horns and they sort of shaggy and they produce to to put it as pleasant as I can.
The best manure. OK, possible for and manure is absolutely what we're all about. Soil health and soil health. You need good compost, good manure because you're restoring nitrogen to the soil. It's I'm getting really boring now Mark. I mean because it's I'm getting into this in a nerdy techie think, OK, OK, we're talking about poop and that's always good.
You know, people enjoy poop talk like that. Yeah. That's not to say which I think the idea is, yeah, and I think that it's not you. So you have these very exotic kind of, you know, prehistoric looking animals that you just you just have around so you can collect their shit.
I mean, they yeah, that's and but you just you really so you shit farming with the cows to make the soil better for the wine.
Yeah. Yeah. Good shit. Good wine, you know.
So that's how many cows do you have just for this purpose. Like what's the herd number.
I think I've got 12 or 14. We just had a few new calves. I haven't had a head count for a while, but I think it's I think it's it's about 14. At last count, I've got about 30 sheep. They also do the same thing. They're on weed control to know that instead of spraying the with foul chemicals from, you know who.
Yeah, we I don't know, like like Monsanto. Like Monsanto. Yeah, obviously.
Yeah. So OK, so you sheep poop to kill bugs weed control widow bug bugs aren't such a problem here but weeds. We get a lot of competition from weeds.
So sheep is a sheep poop kills weeds. The eighth weeds.
Oh got it. OK, got it.
So how many sheep you got. You've got to get out of the house for. But I think I'm learning the secrets of farming. I know that I'm familiar with the eating of that. I learned a lot with the with the sheep movie that you were in but.
Yeah. So. So how many sheep is there over there.
I think about 40 at the moment. 40 or 50. And do you, do you, do you name them, do you shear them, do you make wool, do you have people come in and make wool.
I do name some of them and those are the ones that I don't want to end up on on somebody else's plate. I have one called Jeff Goldblum, who is a retired RAM, and he's he's a good friend. He's I can see him actually at the moment. He's up he's up the top under a power pile on up there. Very nice.
Ram does he does he is he neurotic and speak in a strange kind of rhythm?
Hey, yeah. There's a lot of humming and hurray.
Well, that's nice. There's no no one's getting killed in lights because like, you know, in in two movies I've seen you in, there is just a massacre of of animals.
And like I said, I'm happy to know that. So I just just terrible, terrible.
No, there's the look. I have to say, look, if you want the if you want the sorted facts in any given year, we might get 20 to 24, 24. I think we got 24 lambs this last season. Twelve of those will be boys and twelve of those will not. And the boys will not make it to the that we bring in a new ram. You just need one ram for the flock. Yeah. And the boys may well they'll have a happy life but not necessarily a very long life.
OK, fine. Now I think it's tough. It's tough on the farm. Why. It's tough on the farm. What.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Because you got it. What do you do. Do you eat them. I do, yeah. I think you ought to be ashamed of that. I would think that even people like you're doing it correctly, you get to know them and then you tell them to look the other way and you murdered them and then you chop them up and eat them. Now everything's used.
You make soup with the bones. I mean, if you make soup with the bones, you get the bones to the dogs. I mean, dogs got over there.
I just have one dog who's sleeping outside and scratching, OK, scratching and sleeping.
Oh, so I guess, like, OK, here's a pressing question in the movie Rams, your new film, which I enjoyed a great deal. Good thinking. Are those prosthetic testicles? Are those are those actual balls, you know, on there?
Those are real balls, Mark. OK, I have to you have to tilt your hat. Yeah. You have to tilt your hat. Tip your hat. Yeah. To your average ram. There is no animal so prodigious on the planet. Let me tell you. Yeah, a good ram can cover 80 females 80 years in a given day. 80, huh. Now even the worst sex addict from your town sure can't come anywhere close to that.
No, no. They've tried, but it doesn't. That's right. Back in the day, you know, some guys got close 80.
That's what I hear, that there was a time, Sam.
But that's that's why they need very, very big testicles. And I get per body weight. They're the biggest bulls on the planet.
Yeah, well, that's. Well, OK. What's good to know that, you know, I don't know what to do with that information. I was going to make a joke, but I couldn't come up with a name quick enough.
Just slowly process. Yeah, the well, you know, yeah.
I love the movie. I like both of those movies. I like the older movies too. So with no. So you didn't train as an actor. What you just learning on the job were the directors that gave you some hints there. Were there co-stars that you had that said maybe you should think about, you know, doing it this way? I mean, how did you pick it up?
I think listening and listening and and kind of working it out for myself. And and and in the old days, we used to we used to have what they called dailies or rushes shouldn't. And we would all go file into a screening room a day or two after you'd shot that and watch watch those dailies. And I learned a lot from that just going, oh my God, what did I think I was doing that.
Oh, oh. Oh no, that's. Oh it's worse. Yeah. Don't do that again. Right.
I learned a lot from that. I learned a lot from other actors just just watching and and and observing who I liked and who I didn't like. And that guy is good. Who I could also. Oh so many. I mean like what was one of the first guys.
You're like, oh my God, I got to figure that out. That was great.
I think I think I was processing that very early on. I was I was a big fan actually of British movies when I was growing up. I like people like Dirk Bogarde and James Mason. Yeah. Those sort of actors. Oh, yeah.
James Mason's great. I just watched those a couple of the Joseph Locy scripts I just watched. I was the one with Anne Bancroft.
Who is it. Oh, the pumpkin eater. Was that at the pumpkin eater. Oh yeah. Oh my God.
That was brilliant. That's Lassie films. Yeah. You know what? I think it might be the greatest film ever made, and I haven't seen it for a long time. I have dated. But the go between oh, I got to watch.
It was fantastic. Is that a lousy film. It Julie Christie is a fantastic, fantastic film. Edward Fox.
I just watched the accident and because I'm watching there on the Criterion Channel, they got all these Pintor scripts. So I watch the accident, which I think had Dirch in it.
And I watched, yeah. The Pumpkin Eater, which had James Mason in it. And who is the lead in that?
Oh, Peter Finch. Yeah, Peter Finch, Australian actor, yeah, I remember, I remember I've seen network many times, and that was the last movie.
Yeah, that was his last film. But it was Laurence Olivier that encouraged him to leave Australia and seek seek his fortune elsewhere. And the rest is history.
Yeah. What about did Olivia did you like Olivia? Yeah.
Not so much on film. You know, there's not not a lot on film that that I particularly cared for.
Why not. What do you think. What was about the other guys. You could see their personality.
I always kind of smacked of the theatre a little bit, you know. Whereas James Mason was made for cinema so watchable, we are so watchable and and and and does seemingly so little but so little can speak so much, I know that.
I mean, so you learn that. So that's what you learned from him because, you know, it's my instinct, you know, when I act like I come in, I always too hot to just out of control takes back.
But that's fine.
You know, it gives me a lot of leeway in turning things down is easy. He actually either way, I like being directed you.
I love being directed. And one bit of advice I got very early on, I've never forgotten it was if in doubt, do nothing, huh. But that's only if you're in doubt. I think doing nothing isn't enough. And sometimes I see actors doing nothing.
I think, oh, come on, do something.
Well, I think doing nothing that's insufficient. Right, right. Well, I think doing nothing and being engaged is different than doing nothing, actually doing nothing. Sometimes I worry about my hands.
Did you ever worry about your hands? Like, what am I doing with my hands, like, you know, because, like film Jeff Daniels said to me, he said, you got to learn how to use your face because most of film is face. And, you know, I'm a mouth breather. So that's tricky. Every time you cut to me.
My mouth is going to be OK. I'm like, wow, if I yeah.
If I look at myself on film, like, why is my mouth fucking open? Can't just tell me to close my mouth.
Well, well, the mustache helps, yeah, a little bit, but I can't be aware of everything, and that's something that's deep. I just never breathe through my nose. Like, I can't worry about that while I'm acting on top. Everything else I to breathe through my nose.
But I tell you, you know, I think the best motto I ever heard was what is acting. Yeah. And and I think it's and this this sums it up better than anything other. Yeah. Is pretending to be someone else but really, really meaning it.
Yeah. Right. And that's all you need to know really.
Either you got or you don't, you don't need to go to drama school. You just to remember that's shit.
But do you feel like you've gotten better over time. Of course.
Right. I hope I have. You're always pretty good, though, I mean, I even remember, like, I don't know the really I, I can't remember if I saw my brilliant career, but I remember the that the Damián movie. That was scary.
I wish people didn't remember that. Really.
Why? It's like, you know, that was one of the great characters, the Antichrist.
You have a problem with the fact I wasn't very happy with my performance, but but I thought what was the problem in your mind?
I just wasn't very good. It was very early days, but I forgive myself for it. How many movies have you forgotten how you must you must have forgotten it. Oh, yeah, I forgot most of them. But someone said it was 75 movies or something like that. It's a lot. Yeah, but you can't remember all of them.
No, but the the I thought the problem was playing the Antichrist and the gift is this. It must be the loneliest job in the world being the Antichrist.
And you think I know Escarra president. Yeah, well I mean it is kinda.
Yeah I know he's there's no way a buffoon could be the Antichrist if you're going to be the Antichrist are going to be really clever aren't you. I guess otherwise you're not. You know, the I mean, the last president was was a complete buffoon.
Yeah. A dangerous buffoon. A very dangerous buffoon. Never give, you know, never arm a clown.
Now, if you're really the Antichrist. Yeah. You can't go around saying, oh, look, can I take you on a Friday night? This is nice, isn't it? Another martini, by the way. I'm the Antichrist. Yeah. We're just going to run, run and run screaming out.
They are there or they're going to go make sure you are ok.
OK, come on. Is scary man. Heard that. Yeah. All the guys tell me that I'm the antichrist and it doesn't turn me on. I can't get out of here.
Take another do it. Another angle. A new angle.
So you thought he was too human. That was your problem.
I thought I felt kind of sorry for him.
It must be so lonely, you know, but that's the only good I've seen guys overplay Satan, you know? I mean, Pacino just chewed up the scenery in devil's advocate.
Wow. And that it's a lot of Satan. Oh, hello. Come on.
He's chewed a lot of his a lot of scenery, so I don't want him chewing scenery in the early days. Do you remember? I don't know. He's doing so.
You know, it all happened after Scarface. Scarface was the turning point. And then everything was like, what happened in that film he just was talking about? Yeah, yeah. No, he did that Tony Montana.
But you know what?
It was scent of a woman to who had you know, and then you know, you know.
But, you know, when he's he can still do it, Sam. Did you see him play Jack Kevorkian great. He was great in that the HBO scene that he can still he can still dial it way down. He comes in a little hot because, you know, he's got a lot to prove now, but you can if you want to take it. He does biopics now and he's very good at it. Have you ever done a biopic?
Yes, I did. I played I play the sort of very famous kind of Trump esque. Mining magnate from Australia. Oh, what's that movie called? His name was Lang Hancock, and he you know, he made a fortune from just before he flew over these hills and said, why are these hills red? I realized they were, you know, like 90 per cent iron. And he became one of the wealthiest men on the planet. Wow.
From just that little insight.
And so he just strip mined all of New Zealand or Australia. Australia, Australia. Yeah. The other thing, like some people made a lot of money in Australia, cattle, money, the Kidman family. But I found out it's not Nicole I that know it certainly.
Yeah, I know. I interviewed her recently and I was like, so come on, tell us about you know, you own half Australia right now. It's not me like. So that was a good question.
She might have she might have really been that Kidman, but she's always said no.
And I don't know, it doesn't seem like it unless her dad was like the black sheep of the family, you know. Right. Yeah. You worked with her. That was a big movie right there. Which movie was that? Dead calm. Right.
Did did come. Yeah. And she was good. Always, right. Oh, she was fantastic. I'm not sure if that would be appropriate these days. I think I was forty one and she was 22 or something like that.
The characters are in real life.
Well we weren't dating, we were just, we were just in the movie together and I get it.
But I mean, that was the you're implying that that the relationship on screen was inappropriate, correct? I'm not saying you were dating.
No, it's just I don't know.
There's a lot of sensitivities about look, I've done material on it as a comic. I've talked about dating younger women. You know, it's like someone I did a joke years ago on Letterman and I got an email because someone saw it in there, like maybe you should, you know, figure out how to take that down. Mike, you just want me to erase my history. A it's a it's a good joke. It start scrambling to it was on television.
Man, oh, girl.
That's like that's not going to happen buddy. But was so what happened with James Bond. I mean that, you know, that could have been a game changer. I don't I didn't I bring it up.
Touchy stuff is I almost always get asked about this. I went to it. I was sent along reluctantly by my by my agent in the early eighties, the darling that casting a new James Bond. You you should be the new I said, I don't want to be James Bond, darling.
I'm telling you to go. So I went I had this excruciating. Yeah. Audition, and I there's no way I want to do it and be there's no way they're going to offer it to me. And they didn't want to leave, so I didn't have to say no. But I tell you what, I would have dreaded about it, because today I mean, it's it's like being branded. Yeah. Somehow. Yeah. Yeah. And I and I would go to it if if I'd done that, I would have spoken to you, I'd go down for coffee at my local village.
Yeah. And there would be people I don't know there would get. Oh my God. Look. That's James Bond over there. That's the one I always that's the one I always hated, the bad bond.
There's there's the bond over there in the corner. How sad.
And you'd be that would be with you for the rest of your life. So I dodged a bullet when one.
I have not watched a James Bond movie in the 40 years. I think the last James Bond movie I saw was a Roger Moore James Bond movie. I missed all the Timothy Dalton ones.
I don't care about it anymore. Yeah, so which one would you have been the one that Dalton got? Dalton Dalton got that kick. And you know, that guy it. I've met him once, I think, in a car park, you know, as you do.
Yeah, I don't think I've seen one Dalton Bond. And then wait, wasn't there another bond, too, that I had before? Remington Steele, what's that guy's name, who lives in Hawaii, Australia?
There was there was George Lazenby, an Australian. He just won. Yeah. What about the guy who was in Hawaii?
What's his name? I can't remember. I think Pierce Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, Pierce and Pierce Pierce is very good.
And he always wanted to be James Bond. He was very good at it. Where's he from? Is he Australian? He's Irish. Irish. I saw him in that movie.
I watched a Bob Hoskins movie The Long Good Friday. Bob Hoskins plays a British mobster and Pierce Brosnan plays one of the IRA thugs. I've been watching old movies.
Because what else are we supposed to do? I don't have a vineyard or sheep. I've just got you know, I'm in my house, I smoke fish, I've got a smoker, and I been making fish. That's what I do.
Well, what did the neighbors say about that?
It's not a big operation. I'm talking one piece of fish. It's not like I've got to, you know, are out. So it's not a I'm not it's not commercial.
No, I'm not, you know, stinking out the block.
No, no, I'm not a problem in the neighborhood. So I a like a meth lab. It's a fishmonger.
Where do you live? I live in the smoke fish region. Oh I know. I've been there. It's it's horrific. Oh, you live near this guy. Yeah. That Jew who smokes it. What does he think of all this. That sounds like this guy. It's a nightmare.
So what so then like looking back at the whole operation of your life, I mean, which movies are you like that. That I nailed it. I nailed that one.
I don't think you have a really nice. Come on, come on. No, no, no. There's always something. There's always there's always a floor. But, you know, nothing's perfect. And if you look if you like, it's when did it get close?
Look, it's for other people to judge on your experience at. Now, look, I'm mostly mortified by watching myself. Still, I don't enjoy it, I don't enjoy it. I don't enjoy watching this really. But if other people enjoy it, then I'm happy. And and the thing about Rams is, is that I've had such a warm response to it. And people people have been getting hold of me and said, you know, it's sort of film that makes you feel better about things.
Yeah. And and that's a bit of a gift. And there's other times and I have been I have to tell you, I've been looking at a lot of recent movies because I'm in the academy and I need to be and I need to see what's going on. And there's been some very good films, but almost universally, they're they're a bit depressing. Yeah.
So it's kind of which. Why did you watch? I really like the suitable girl, you know, what is it, the suitable girl? That was the last one.
I don't know. Promising young water is that it helps promising young woman you watch it better titles. Yeah, that was that was I mean, it's a bleak film, but it's a very good film, isn't it.
Did you watch it? Well, you know which one's a real killer is that. Did you watch that. Pieces of a woman. Well, that's rough. Did you watch that nomad land? Did you watch that with them, McDormand?
Yeah. How was that? It's good. I mean, she is she's just amazing, isn't she? She's so remarkable. And and it's a very interesting film that it's seemingly completely unstructured, you know. Yeah.
I just watched as I love him so much, I just watch the News of the World with Tom Hanks. I was who is an object lesson, how to act on screen. And he has such sort of warmth and humanity, which just. There's no one like him, you know. Yeah, is this really remarkable? Yeah, he is.
But I think, like, the thing about Rams, you know, to wrap it up on that movie, I didn't know what to expect from that movie. I didn't know where it was going to go. You know, it's always sort of heartbreaking, know these deep family feuds. And it's sort of interesting to me that you come from, you know, generations of people involved with spirits.
And this is a generational kind of, you know, goat movie, you know, sheep movie.
But all of it is so weighted, but it's so simple and everybody's so lovely in it. And the woman who plays the vet, what's her name?
Miranda Richardson. She's great. And I haven't seen her in a while, you know. And what about the guy who plays your brother? Who's that guy?
Michael Keaton. He's been a friend of mine since 1979. That's the last time we worked together. Really.
It was just so like I just didn't know how it was going to resolve itself. And it's so it's so kind of emotionally rewarding, you know.
Yeah. I'm glad you say that's good. Yeah, it was. It was. And those those feuds, you know where I am now on my vineyard. If you if you drive a mile down the road, there's a big old homestead and it was built in the 1890. So I think it's a huge, huge house. And it was inherited at one point by two brothers. Yeah. And these brothers grew to hate each other to the extent that they could not live under the same roof, but neither of them would leave.
So what they decided to do is to brick it up right through the center of the house. One lived down one in 2010.
That's crazy. That takes a certain type of. Well, let me ask you something.
So you had that. You've had the first. When did you did you. Is this what you always wanted to do? I mean, did you did you get out of show business to be like, did you buy?
I bought the land. Those first three vineyards I planted, you know, we planted those grapes. We didn't it's only the last vineyard that that was established that I bought. So it's 30 years now. And it's you know, I leave a sort of double life. I'm a Jekyll and Hyde and the Hyde is the guy that's that's growing the grapes. And it's crazily ambitious. Dr. Jekyll is the guy that goes to work on the movies. And and and while it might seem like a double life, it's also I think it's sort of a balanced life.
So it's somewhere between, you know, I've got one foot in the arts and the other one in the soil, I suppose.
So it's not one or the other. And you still like doing movies?
Oh, I love it. And I and and I wouldn't I wouldn't go to work if I didn't love it and I wouldn't be growing anything here if I didn't love it. So it is a balance.
It's not like I got a I got to feed this bad idea that I can't seem to extricate myself from.
I think there were times when my ex-wife would have said that. Yeah. Oh yeah. Doing what do you think you're crazy.
Well, I tell you man, it was really a pleasure talking to you. Made my night. Thank you, Mark. It's lovely to see it. Lovely to talk to you. Yeah.
We'll do it again sometime. I think you got you got other stuff to do.
Thank you so much. Slurries. Lovely to see you. Thanks. Bye. Take care. OK, Baynor. That was fun. That was I really enjoyed talking to Sam. The film is called Rams. It's definitely a sweet movie to watch. Highly recommended. All right. Dig some hard rock reforge. Our lives. Funky the fanda. Get angels everywhere, man.