One of the interesting things about Sundance is the mishmash of famous people that you never, ever would imagine interacting. Like, for instance, Sam Neill and Nick Jonas. Well, technically, it was Nick Jonas’ chair that Sam Neill had accidentally sat in before feeling the wrath of Nick Jonas’ manager – which is a funny for about 30 reasons – and, if nothing else, Sam Neill now knows who Nick Jonas is in a story that he tells ahead.
Neill is at Sundance in support of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a New Zealand-based comedy (from director Takia Waititi, best known for Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows and will be directing the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok) about a troubled young foster child named Ricky (Julian Dennison) and his relationship with his foster uncle, Hec (Neill), as they are both on the run from authorities after a few misunderstandings.
I met Neill on the top floor of a bar off Park City’ Main Street. In person, Neill is surprisingly reserved at first – very polite, but also seems to be trying to figure out what to make of me in a, “what’s this guy’s angle here.” But once he starts going, Neill is hilarious, with a dry humor and an infectious laugh.
Ahead, Neill tells us some stories about his Sundance experience so far (including, yes, his run in with a pop singer’s chair) and what he thought of Jurassic World — and it turns out Neill has some of the same questions that a lot of people had.
The reaction to Hunt for the Widerpeople has been really positive.
I have to say, that screening, people standing up, you never get that. You never see that. So, such a cool audience reaction. I’m just really blown way.
Is that unusual for you?
I don’t remember a standing ovation for a movie before. Except for The Piano. The Piano really got it.
Not even Jurassic Park?
I don’t remember people standing for that. Maybe they did. But then again, I was standing beside Princess Diana. They were probably standing for her. When royalty stands, you stand too.
I was informed you had a run-in with a Jonas Brothers’ chair yesterday.
I’d like to hear that story.
This guy said, “No, I’m sorry, this is my client’s chair.” We’re in a bar! [Laughs] I said, “I’m very sorry. Who is your client?” He said…
Nick Jonas. Yeah. Thank you. So I said, “This is a big star! I’m certainly not going to sit in that guy’s chair.”
Did this person know who you are?
I have no idea.
Did you ever think about pulling a, “Do you know who I am?”
[Laughs] I would never do that in a month of Sundays.
Did you know who Nick Jonas was?
But you do now.
He’s a big star!
Now you know, do not sit in his chair.
I’m never going near any of his fucking chairs again.