Sam Neill and Patrick Gibson discuss success, friendship and the great surprises in life

They both star in Stan original movie The Portable Door.

By TV Week team
Despite his global fame, Sam Neill has never been in the headlines more than he is now – and he'd rather be anywhere else.
The release of Stan's original film The Portable Door coincides with the publication of the actor's memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, a reflective look back on his early life and career.
In it, the New Zealand native reveals he was diagnosed with stage three angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma – a type of blood cancer – in 2022 after discovering a lump in his neck during media commitments for Jurassic World: Dominion.
The news caused a frenzy online. But Sam, who has been in remission for eight months, insists he's healthy and isn't slowing down.
Middle manager Dennish is a charasmatic villain disrupting the world of magic. IMAGE: Stan
In fact, his latest project, The Portable Door, allowed him to be ''larger than life'' in every way.
The film follows Paul Carpenter (Patrick Gibson), an intern at the mysterious London firm JW Wells & Co, who discovers his new workplace has a hidden agenda – and a magical door – that can transform the corporate world.
CEO Humphrey Wells (Christoph Waltz) and manager Dennis Tanner (Sam) are behind the idea– but are they as they seem?
''I don't get asked to play a character like this very often,'' Sam, 75, tells TV WEEK.
''I love to play the bad guy, and Dennis switches loyalties every five minutes.''
Miranda Otto plays Countess Judy while Sophie Wilde is Sophie Pettingel. IMAGE: Stan
Patrick jokes that Sam is the complete opposite off screen – ''he's rather boring, which is a testament to his acting ability,'' he says with a laugh – but that joining a cast of stars such as Sam, Christoph, Sophie Wilde and Miranda Otto, provided an acting masterclass.
''I relate to Paul,'' the Irish star of US fantasy series Shadow And Bone says.
''He goes for a job he doesn't know much about and is trying to find his place in the world, always saying the wrong thing.
A younger me can relate to that. [Laughs]
"But I like that someone like him can become a hero.''
Patrick, 27, also became fast friends with Sam, who he says he knows ''almost too well now'', causing them both to laugh.
Lowly interns Sophie and Paul try to crack the mystery of a lost ''portable door.'' IMAGE: Stan
Sam, whose career has spanned several genres and decades, says penning his memoir allowed him to reflect on his life and embrace how far he's come.
The most rewarding part of it wasn't the blockbuster films or celebrity tales, but the chance to relive his childhood.
''You spend a lot of your life not looking back,'' he says.
''And I often think life is like being on a train and you're not sure where it's going to go [when the tracks diverge] until someone pulls the lever. I got an opportunity to stop the train and look back and see where I've been.
''Being with my parents [Dermot and Priscilla] again – they were adorable and eccentric. Just thinking about the mad and peculiar stuff they did in my childhood was enjoyable.''
Jurassic Park made Sam a Hollywood star. IMAGE: Stan
When writing about his career, Sam doesn't hold back, from his breakout role in 1979's My Brilliant Career, to the 1993 box-office smash Jurassic Park, and the relationships – and fallouts – he's had in between.
As the dinosaur franchise celebrates its 30th anniversary, Sam admits his most famous
role was a ''big surprise''.
''Jurassic Park has certainly touched people's lives,'' he says.
''I was cast four weeks before we started filming. I had no idea – apart from Steven Spielberg directing it, who has hardly ever had a dud – that it would be as big as it was. To be in that was,
and is, still a big surprise.
''I never thought I'd have a career as an actor – let alone an actor on screen. So, I'm still surprised when the phone rings. It's been incredibly rewarding.''

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