FAM­ILY BAT­TLES

There’s plenty of An­zac-re­lated en­ter­tain­ment to be had th­ese days, but Sam Neill hopes you’ll find his fam­ily’s story as in­ter­est­ing as he does

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE & LOUD - ANNA BRAIN Why An­zac with Sam Neill, ABC, Tues­day, 8.30pm

Hav­ing poured his heart, soul and fam­ily his­tory into a new doc­u­men­tary, ac­tor Sam Neill hopes au­di­ences don’t al­ready have “Gal­lipoli fa­tigue”.

Af­ter Chan­nel Nine’s highly an­tic­i­pated pro­duc­tion un­der­per­formed, Neill says, “I don’t think we’ll know un­til we see the next one, Fox­tel’s Dead­line Gal­lipoli.”

“We were aware when we started that there were a lot of Gal­lipoli pro­duc­tions go­ing on. That, in part, is why it’s a much broader can­vas than sim­ply Gal­lipoli.

“But I sus­pect maybe there will be some sort of Gal­lipoli fa­tigue. It is a familiar story. That’s why we’re do­ing some­thing that is en­tirely dif­fer­ent.”

It’s been 100 years since the mission that saw Aus­tralian and New Zealand troops land in Turkey, and Why An­zac looks at how the two coun­tries are now in­ex­tri­ca­bly bound by those events.

Com­ing from a long line of sol­diers, Neill’s in­ter­est in the sub­ject is per­sonal and the doc­u­men­tary col­lab­o­ra­tion with direc­tor Kriv Sten­ders ( Red Dog) sees him trace his fore­bears’ foot­steps.

“Ob­vi­ously I have strong feel­ings, but I come from a very, very mil­i­taris­tic fam­ily,” he says.

“My grand­fa­ther served in In­dia and Ti­bet, for in­stance. My great grand­fa­ther was part of the con­quest of Burma (Myan­mar) in the 1880s, and also went to Kabul. It didn’t end well then and it’s not go­ing to end well now. There are lessons to be learned.

“You’d have to press me re­ally hard to find a war that I could jus­tify, apart from the Sec­ond World War. My fa­ther was there. There was a clear and present dan­ger.

“The whole desta­bil­i­sa­tion of the Mid­dle East is a calamity that we are living with on a daily ba­sis now.”

Sam Neill at the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial in Can­berra for ABC show

Why An­zac.

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