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‘Do you think we might die today? Yes’: Sam Neill recalls near-death experience on set of Jurassic Park

Sam Neill has recalled the time he and the Jurassic Park crew almost died on set.

Neill, 75, starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster hit, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, alongside Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern.

Writing in his recently released memoir Did I Ever Tell You This?, the actor reflected on a particularly dangerous day on set for the dinosaur film.

“We almost died in the first few weeks where we were filming on Kauai in the Hawaiian archipelago,” he writes (via People Magazine).

He continued: “One morning we were told to stay back at the hotel and expect a hurricane later in the day. I was down on the beach with Laura Dern, who asked me: ‘Sam, do you think we might die today?’

“As these massive black clouds approached over the Pacific I found I had to tell her that in all honesty the answer was, ‘Yes, I thought we might.”

On 5 September 1992, Hurricane Iniki struck Hawaii during the Jurassic Park shoot. The natural disaster ranked Category Four on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale in which one is the least dangerous and five is the most dangerous.

Iniki was the most powerful hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history. It killed six people and damaged or destroyed more than 14,000 homes.

Dern and Neill in ‘Jurassic Park' (Amblin/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Dern and Neill in ‘Jurassic Park' (Amblin/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

In his memoir, Neill wrote: “It turned out we came very close… They herded us into a ballroom, all the cast and crew, a few hours before Hurricane Iniki hit us.

“Iniki was a Category 4 hurricane and it absolutely wrecked the island, including all our sets. Six people died, and it caused more than $3bn (£2.4bn) worth of damage.”

He said that within three to four hours, he and the cast and crew found themselves “surrounded by wreckage of our huge resort hotel”.

‘Jurassic Park’ became an era-defining blockbuster when it first came out in 1993 (Universal)
‘Jurassic Park’ became an era-defining blockbuster when it first came out in 1993 (Universal)

The crew then flew to Los Angeles to film some scenes in a studio before they returned to Hawaii to shoot the rest of the movie.

Moments from the real-life hurricane made their way into the final film.

Elsewhere in his memoir, Neill revealed that he is being treated for stage-three blood cancer. He will be on chemotherapy medication for the rest of his life, although he is now cancer-free.

The actor also reflected on his friendship with Robin Williams with whom he worked on the 1999 film Bicentennial Man.

The actor wrote that Williams was “the loneliest man on a lonely planet”.