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‘Life must have been hideously difficult’: Sam shares his experience as he films new Captain Cook series The Pacific

Sam Neill spent months aboard a container ship retracing the steps of Captain James Cook for documentary The Pacific. And now the actor has revealed what filming was like as he traversed the high seas.

Speaking to News corp on Sunday, the 70-year-old said he gained a whole new respect for the explorers on board. ‘It’s a third of the planet,’ he said, adding, ‘It is unimaginably immense, particularly when you’re in a boat that’s only 100-foot long.’

The Jurassic Park star, who travelled on the 260 metre ANL Warragul, said it was difficult to imagine what it would have been like for the explorers. ‘It’s hard to imagine just how hideously difficult life must have been on board the Endeavour,’ adding that it would have had 100 men on it.

Filming the six-part series for Foxtel’s History Channel, Sam said his journey was a little bit more comfortable than what Captain Cook endured. Despite working hard at sea, the Northern Ireland-born actor admitted that he found it somehow relaxing, especially with no phone service on the voyage.

The comments come after Sam defended the project, amid criticism against Cook’s sometimes violent impact on the region. ‘Cook did, rightly or wrongly, change everything. And he has become a symbol for something that he probably didn’t deserve,’ Sam told the Herald Sun earlier this month.

‘I personally don’t think it’s fair for Cook to take the blame for everything. You can’t blame Cook for massacres of Aboriginal people, and these things happened.’ Sam decided to retrace Cook’s journey on the 250th anniversary of the British explorer’s first voyage, interviewing native people to gauge their opinion on the controversial figure.

Sam acknowledged the fact it’s no longer ‘cool’ to be a Captain Cook supporter, but insisted he’s not bothered by popular opinion. He came away from the trip with both a renewed fondness for Cook, and a newfound respect and understanding of the cultures he impacted, for better or worse.

Sam travelled to Tahiti, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, The Arctic and Alaska. ‘I think he was actually an extraordinary man, and often had extraordinary insights into the cultures and the people he was encountering,’ he said.

Source: DM

Interviews - The Pacific - TV series

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