Twitter would be a much darker place if it weren’t for Sam Neill and his farm animals. Since 1993, Neill has owned and operated the Two Paddocks Winery in his native New Zealand, which has been home to pigs, cattle, sheep, one especially lucky duck, and plenty of other critters, most of whom are named after Neill’s famous cohorts. To our benefit, the actor’s social media presence is flush with photos, videos, and adorable stories about his animal companions, and the internet is a better place for it.
In a savvy move, Jeremy Sims’ Rams—a new, English-language remake of an Icelandic film festival favorite—casts Sam Neill opposite a whole flock of sheep, playing a farmer desperate to protect his herd. Unsurprisingly, the actor is a natural in the role, showing the same amount of affection for his ovine costars as he does all his friends back home at Two Paddocks. Ahead of Rams stateside release, The A.V. Club was given the opportunity to Zoom with Neill about why the part came so easy to him, and why rams can be stubborn actors. Then, to our delight, Neill introduced us to his newest pup, Chuff, and shared a few recent pictures of his farm animals, telling stories about why his pig Angelica gets drunk in the summer, and how his own ram earned the name Jeff Goldblum.
Rams hits select theaters and VOD platforms beginning February 5.