Sam Neill: There would not be war in Ukraine if a woman was running Russia

Hollywood actor Sam Neill has suggested “too much testosterone” is to blame for the war in Ukraine – and suspects it would never have started if a woman was running Russia.

The 75-year-old New Zealand actor, born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is best known for his role as palaeontologist Alan Grant in the science-fiction film series Jurassic Park.

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly said he spoke highly about the women he has worked with in his new book Did I Ever Tell You This? which was released on Tuesday.

Neill said: “I think women, generally speaking, are better actors than men and I always love working opposite a talented woman because I find my own game lifts.

“I do think women are better at most things, actually.

“I am still mourning the loss of our prime minister in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, she is a terrible loss.”

Ms Ardern stood down earlier this year.

Neill added: “I would like to see women running most countries.

“I suspect there wouldn’t be a Ukraine problem at the moment if we had a woman running Russia.

“It’s about too much testosterone.”

Neill’s book also touches on his diagnosis of stage three angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of blood cancer.

He is now in remission.

He told Kelly: “I got a cancer scare about a year ago but I’ve been in remission for about eight months now, so I’m in tip-top health and I’m starting work next week so I’m all good.”

Talking about writing his book while receiving treatment for cancer, he said: “It was therapeutic for me. I found myself entertaining myself; it would cheer me up on what otherwise would be a dark day. It is not a cancer book, it’s a book about life and love.”

During the interview, Neill also discussed his audition for James Bond before Pierce Brosnan landed the role.

He said: “I was bullied into it by my agent at the time. I found myself auditioning for a part I never wanted to do, because no one wants to be the James Bond that no one likes – that’s an unenviable position.

“The other thing was my friend Pierce Brosnan wanted it and I wanted him to get it.”