SAM NO COP-OUT
Sam Neill plays a retired cop in Old School, but his character is only too happy to pick the brains of a retired criminal to make a few bucks
These days Sam Neill finds himself switching to the TV section, ahead of feature movies on long-haul flights. He says it is indicative of the quality of television shows being produced around the world and why he’s been working more on small screen productions in recent years.
Neill is currently in Britain shooting the second season of epic gangster family saga Peaky Blinders, which will launch on the new Foxtel channel BBC First in August.
He has also made the crime drama Old School, with longtime friend Bryan Brown, which premieres tomorrow night on ABC1.
“There is a lot more good television being done now and I tend to find, when I get on a Qantas flight to London, I go to the TV section instead of the movies,” Neill says.
“There’s not a lot of movies at the cinemas I want to see anymore, but there is quite a lot of television I do want to watch, so the industry has turned on its head a bit.
“There is more good television being made than there ever was.”
In Old School, Neill plays retired cop Ted McCabe who teams with up with retired crim Lennie Cahill, played by Brown, to solve crimes, unravel scams and make some much-needed cash.
He has worked with Brown on four previous occasions, starting with The Umbrella Woman in 1987 and his most recent, before Old School, was the comedy/drama movie Dean Spandley (2008).
The Jurassic Park star has noticed a change in Brown’s behaviour over the years and most of it for the better, Neill jokes.
“He’s not quite the unreliable company he used to be,” Neill says.
“He’s a much more abstemious man than he used to be in the past, which is probably a good thing.
“He’s quietened down a lot from the days when you never knew what would happen next.
“I’ve tolerated him, but I’m a tolerant man and I come from a quieter place.”
Old School runs for just eight episodes and if it is a success, it’s likely a second season will be commissioned.
Neill is up for another term of Old School even if it’s just an excuse to get back to his second home, Sydney, where he owns a couple of pubs, to hang with his now more reliable Aussie mate. Old School screens tomorrow night at 8.30pm on ABC1.
Bryan Brown as Lennie Cahill and Sam Neill as Ted McCabe in the TV series