Sam Neill says he’s ‘never felt better’ after sharing blood cancer news
Sam Neill has shared a reassuring message with fans after revealing that he is in remission from stage three blood cancer.
The Jurassic Park star, known for his role as paleontologist Alan Grant in the blockbuster science-fictionfranchise, said he has “never felt better” and confirmed that he has been in remission for around eight months.
Neill, 75, told Radio 2’s The Michael Ball Show on Sunday 19 March that he was “so happy” to be back at work.
“Well, I’m great, you know,” he said when asked how he was doing. “I’ve been about seven or eight months in remission, and I’m back at work, and I’ve never felt better.
“I sort of approached the year as really being a bit of an adventure...(as) I didn’t know what was (going to) happen.”
He added: “A bit of a dark adventure but here we are on the other side, and I’m very optimistic and full of life and I’m so happy to be back at work, I can’t tell you.”
In an interview about his forthcoming book, Did I Ever Tell You This?, Neill said he first experienced swollen glands while on a publicity tour for Jurassic World: Dominion in March last year.
He was then diagnosed with stage three angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, The Guardian reported, after which he took a break from acting.
“I found myself with nothing to do,” he said “And I’m used to working. I love working. I love going to work. I love being with people every day and enjoying human company and friendship and all these things. And suddenly I was deprived of that. And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’
“I never had any intention to write a book. But as I went on and kept writing, I realised it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow… that will entertain me.’ And so it was a lifesaver really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”
Neill apparently discusses his treatement for cancer in his new book, including how chemotherapy started to fail before he began taking a new chemo drug, which he will take monthly for the rest of his life.
He has said that the book contains stories from his life, and is not all about his cancer diagnosis.
During his Radio 2 interview, Neill admitted that his Hollywood actor said his career has been a “great surprise”, which continued when he got his most recent part in new series Apples Never Fall, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty.
“I think I have been extremely blessed because it wasn’t something I sought,” he explained. “It just sort of happened by degrees and surprise followed surprise.”
Neill also said the seven-part show “could be really rather wonderful” but he never counts his chickens before they are hatched.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the 1980s series Reilly, Ace Of Spies and an Emmy as the titular wizard in 1998's Merlin opposite Fight Club star Helena Bonham Carter.
He also starred in the Oscar-winning drama The Piano, and as Major Chester Campbell in the BBC’s hit crime drama Peaky Blinders, alongside Cillian Murphy.
Additional reporting by Press Association