‘Jurassic Park’ actor Sam Neill opens up about his battle with stage 3 blood cancer

Borja B. Hojas/Getty Images

Sam Neill, the actor best known for his role in the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, has revealed he’s battling stage three blood cancer, saying he’s “possibly dying.”

The star said he experienced some swelling of his glands while he was promoting Jurassic World Dominion, and has been diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. He said he was going through chemotherapy at first, but recently switched to a new drug therapy protocol that he’s going to have to take for as long as he lives.

The actor revealed the news in his new memoir Did I Ever Tell You This? “The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying,” he wrote in chapter one, “I may have to speed this up.” Per an interview with The Guardian, Neill started writing the book to keep busy and keep his mind off the heaviness of the diagnosis.

“I found myself with nothing to do. And I’m used to working. I love working. I love going to work. I love being with people every day and enjoying human company and friendship and all these things. And suddenly I was deprived of that. And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’”

Once he started writing, however, he realized it was a great way to process what was happening to him in real time.

“I never had any intention to write a book. But as I went on and kept writing, I realised it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow … that will entertain me.’ And so it was a lifesaver really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”

His book isn’t just a cancer story, however, as he spills the beans on a number of celebrity encounters from film sets throughout his career. For example, he calls Harvey Keitel “truculent and difficult and a bit graceless,” after their time together filming The Piano.

The sickness does provide a “spiral thread” to the book, though. Fortunately, he’s now cancer free, even though he has to take the drug for the rest of his days. The bad days make the good ones better, he said.

“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments. But those dark moments throw the light into sharp relief, you know, and have made me grateful for every day and immensely grateful for all my friends. Just pleased to be alive.”

This idea of wanting to live is a recurring theme for the actor these days. In fact, he’s been very candid about the whole thing. He adamantly claims that while he’s not scared of dying, he definitely doesn’t want to stop living because it’s something he actually really enjoys.

Neill was born in Northern Ireland, and emigrated to New Zealand when he was seven. His family settled in Dunedin, and he spent his formative years in a boarding school where he was self-admittedly terrible at sports but surprisingly good at acting, per the book’s synopsis.

Did I Ever Tell You This? releases on March 21.