A new movie that might strike a chord with FarmWeek readers has been released digitally this month.
Entitled Rams, it is set in a remote region of Western Australia where two estranged brothers, Colin and Les, played by Sam Neill and Michael Catonm are at war.
Raising separate flocks of sheep descended from their family’s prized bloodline, the two men work side by side yet are worlds apart.
When Les’s prize ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal illness, authorities order a purge of every sheep in the valley.
While Colin attempts to stealthily outwit the powers that be, Les opts for angry defiance.
But can the warring brothers set aside their differences and have a chance to reunite their family, save their herd, and bring their community back together?
Inspired by the 2015 Icelandic film Hrútar, but very much its own piece, Rams was directed by Jeremy Sims and also stars Miranda Richardson, Asher Keddie and Wayne Blair.
As it transpired, playing a sheep farmer was not a stretch for either leading man, with Michael Caton having been raised on a sheep farm in Central Queensland and Sam Neill – who was actually born in Northern Ireland – currently keeping sheep on his New Zealand farm, Two Paddocks.
“My family came from Central Queensland, where the sheep stations are on a huge scale,” said Michael.
“I was about 14 when I first got up on a horse and mustered sheep from one paddock to another.”
Sam said: “I’m a great believer in sheep and sheep are great believers in me.
“They’re terrific assistants, not only in terms of morale – although they do keep my morale up – but they’re also very useful around the vineyards where we farm organically.
“Sheep are keen followers of the organic methods – they like to do the weeding for me, hang out and keep me company…”