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SYFY WIRE Jurassic Park

Sam Neill On Why He Didn’t Become a Bigger Movie Star After Jurassic Park

To be fair, the man did fight off a pack of velociraptors. What else was there to prove?

By Josh Weiss
Laura Dern and Sam Neill dig for fossils in a scene from the film Jurassic Park (1993)

It's no understatement to say Jurassic Park was a monster hit... but you already knew that, of course. Everyone knows, as a matter of fact. But here's a really quick recap of what went down over that fateful 1993 summer, just in case you forgot.

The iconic sci-fi thriller — which celebrates 30 years next month — sent seismic reverberations across Hollywood, grossing over $900 million worldwide across its original theatrical run (that figure has since crossed $1 billion thanks to a number of limited re-releases over the years), while officially embracing computer-generated imagery as a regular tool in a filmmaker's arsenal.

RELATED: Sam Neill opens up about why he was 'slightly irked' by the original marketing plan for 'Jurassic Park'

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So why then did the game-changing project not have a larger impact on the career of its leading man — Sam Neill? He continued to enjoy a steady acting career (appearing in other genre favorites like In the Mouth of Madness and Event Horizon), though none of his subsequent films quite reached the same juggernaut status of Steven Spielberg's dino-classic.

"I owe so much to Spielberg and everyone involved, but I don't think the Jurassic series made any seismic shifts in my career," the actor best-known for playing the role of paleontologist Alan Grant writes in his memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This? (now on sale from Text Publishing). "I didn't become Mr. Action Hero or anything ... Between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World Dominion, I went back to making films that interested me here and there, of varying quality."

Neill elaborated on the topic during an interview with Empire for the magazine's latest issue (now on sale), admitting that he's never thought of himself as "a terribly ambitious kind of bloke."

"I think you probably get the gist from the book that looking back, which is not something I'm given to do a lot, I'm sort of surprised that anything happened for me at all," he added. "But I'm immensely grateful for doing a film like Jurassic Park. As for being a movie star, I've got friends who are movie stars and I've never seen myself in that light. But I just love making movies, and I'm very comfortable on set."

The conversation also touched on Neill's bout with a rare type of blood cancer, the diagnosis of which spurred the actor to write his memoir as quickly as possible (thankfully, he is now in remission).

"I was writing in real time," he continued. "I was writing against the clock, I think. It's like one of those movies where the bad guys say, 'I'm going to blow up the world in an hour!' And then everyone's got to rush around and make sure it doesn't happen. So I was conscious I was working against the clock."

The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World trilogies are available to rent or purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Want more sci-fi offerings? Head over to Peacock for Galaxy of Terror, Waterworld, Face/Off, The Tuxedo, Hulk, Doom, Land of the Lost, Oblivion, The Wolverine, The Invisible Man, M3GAN, and more!