Sam Neill helped by Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt to master Irish accent


Jurassic Park star Sam Neill has revealed he turned to his showbiz pals Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt to help him perfect his Irish accent for his role in Peaky Blinders.

Sam played Major Chester Campbell in the hit show until his character was shot at close range at the end of the second series.

Sam Neill arrives at the Target Women in Film and Television awards at the Hilton Hotel in central London.
Sam Neill is best known for his role in Jurassic Park (Ian West/PA)

The New Zealander has admitted the Belfast accent he needed for the show was "a tall order", despite his Northern Irish roots.

He told The Graham Norton Show: "I did consult Liam Neeson and Jimmy Nesbitt because they are obviously to the manor born.

Actors Liam Neeson, left, and Sam Neill pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' in London
Liam and Sam (Vianney Le Caer/AP)

"I got a couple of lessons from them, which was great but they were brought up just 10 miles from each other and speak with completely different voices, so I thought I would just relax and do my own thing."

Sam is still best known for his role as Dr Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park films, but he told Norton he was not asked to be in the recent reboot Jurassic World.

When asked why he ruled out an appearance in the film, he said: "I didn't rule it out, they just didn't call me.

Sam Neill
Sam in 1997 (David Giles/PA)

"It's fine. I've been doing other things. Someone asked me the other day and I said, 'I don't know what's happened to Alan Grant. He could be dead, he could be in therapy or he might be an accountant in Des Moines - nobody knows what's happened to him.'"

Instead, Sam will next be seen on screen in his new film Hunt For The Wilderpeople, of which he says: "It is a little movie that came from nowhere. It is heart-warming, a sort of a road movie without roads - we don't have many in New Zealand.

"People are nicer to me in New Zealand as a result of this because the last time they saw me was as a psychopath in Peaky Blinders and they avoided me."

:: The Graham Norton Show airs on Friday on BBC One at 10.35pm.