Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meeting Sam Neill in Singapore

Sam Neill, the proprietor of Two Paddocks

Movie/TV actor Sam Neill, (Dead Calm, Jurassic Park, Plenty, A Cry in the Dark, Merlin, Tudors and the upcoming Alcatraz)  breezed into town late last week for The Burghound in Asia wine tasting, dinners and master classes. I only found out about the event when I received an email about a wine dinner with host Sam Neill--Yes, the Sam Neill!! star of two of my favorite movies of all time - Jurassic Park   & Jurassic Park 3.
Jurassic Park photo, autographed by Sam Neill

Now I've been a fan of Sam's for quite some time. He's starred in a wide range of movies ranging from the thrillers like  Dead Calm and  The Piano to action adventures like The Hunt for Red October and Jurassic Park, not to mention his starring roles in Merlin, Kane & Abel and Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Now what would a movie star be doing at a wine event in Singapore? Well, as it turns out Mr Neill is the owner of the Two Paddocks vineyard and winery in New Zealand.

I immediately got on the phone and made a reservation for Mr. Neill's  talk. Thank goodness there were still tickets available and they were reasonably priced at S$50. So I decided to  head down to the swanky St Regis Hotel, hoping to meet Mr. Neill.

As I was sitting in the lobby, Mr Neill walked by.  Unprepared I leaped up from my seat and I extended my hand and said, "Welcome to Singapore, Mr Neill." He smiled, shook my hand and thanked me. Then I rambled that I was a huge fan and that I had lined up the first day of Jurassic Park to get tickets and that I had seen it multiple times when I was in school in the States. In other words I went hopelessly completely and shamelessly fan boy on him.

Mr  Neill then asked me about the school I went to and we spent a good few minutes chatting as I fumbled to get a pen and my publicity pics that I wanted him to autograph.  He also signed a sketch I drew of him for a school art class. And now you now know the reason why I'm not an illustrator.  
Sketch I drew for art class at school back in '93.
Now you know why I'm not an illustrator.

I also gave him two copies of my books as a souvenir and he thanked me most graciously. I was kind of nervous . I mean, the star of two of my all time favorite movies was right in front of me.  We talked a bit about his wine and he asked about my thoughts on wine. I stumbled for a minute because I don't usually drink. I deflected the question by telling him that my big brother collects wine, which he does.  Then he asked if I would be at the tasting and I replied that I would and he said he'd see me later and then he headed off to the ballroom. Without a doubt he is the nicest, most gracious celebrity I have met.  He really took the time to listen and respond to my rambling.

At the ballroom, he posed for pictures and personally greeted everyone who went to his booth. I didn't want to disturb him while he was at work, so I walked around the room, sampling the delicious buffet before heading back down to attend Mr Neill's talk.

Thanks, Sam.
And when the talk finally wrapped up,  I asked Mr Neill if he would mind posing for a photo with me to which he graciously obliged.  I thanked him for the autographs and he thanked me for the books I gave him again and with a handshake he was off for another appointment.  As I said at the top of the post, Mr Neill is truly the nicest celeb I have met and it was an honor and pleasure to have met him. (PS if you're wondering why there is a globe in place of my head, I usually look horrible in my pictures and I look even worse when I'm standing next to a major star.

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