Veteran New Zealand actor Sam Neill returns to television with “Happy Town,” a new mystery series on ABC with tones of “Twin Peaks.” According to the eternally boyish actor, the series is as much fun to try to figure out as it is to take part in.
Does the rest of the cast sort of look up to you like an elder statesman?
Well, I’m certainly the oldest in the cast. And I am surrounded by these beautiful young things, you know, which is slightly aggravating. But they’re all very nice, beautiful young things, and we all get on very well. We’re having a ball, actually.
Your character seems like a very enigmatic, secretive presence on the show.
Well, he’s an outsider clearly. And sometimes it takes an outsider to see things with clarity. And this is a town which is labyrinthine, and there are secrets covering secrets. It’s a town that ostensibly seems idyllic, the sort of town that we all would like to live in. But, of course, every town has its past and every place has things they’d sooner forget. Merritt is a man that’s been involved in dark things. I don’t see him as a villain, but he’s certainly a man that there is a lot more to be learned about.
Do you have any guesses as to who the mysterious Magic Man on the show is?
You know, there’s a lot of money being changed hands on this between us. And currently I’ve actually — no, I can’t say, because tomorrow I will change my mind again. But, you know, the Magic Man thing is only one mystery. When it becomes apparent who that is, more mysteries will be revealed. Every mystery triggers another one.