ACTORS Michael Caton and Sam Neill were no doubt warned of the old adage about working with animals.
However, they may not have known that one of their Dorset Horn ram co-stars already had an acting career.
Without letting too much of the story out, the "human" actors are estranged brothers Les and Colin in remote Western Australia, both still breeding from their family's prized bloodlines.
Behind the scenes was animal trainer Kirstin Feddersen from west of Sydney who tracked-down Sue McGoldrick who runs the Binbadeen Dorset studs with St Lawrence's Central School, Coonabrabran, and who is well known to the Dorset and meat sheep world.
She sold Ms Feddersen a Dorset Horn ram she named Locke as a bit of a joke after her "tall and lanky son-in-law" for an earlier film, "Lambs of God".
Back then, to keep Locke company she also sold a young ewe, which Ms Feddersen named Susie, after Mrs McGoldrick, also as a joke against Locke's naming.
The WA film producers were still short of sheep, so Robert Grieves, Hillend stud, Ballarat, Victoria, was approached and leased rams which he drove to Mt Barker, WA, in an eight-day turnaround.
Mr Grieves said Locke's running mate was selected from his five rams and then trained for the role.
As coincidences have it, both rams had been shown in same classes at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo, Vic.
According to Mrs McGoldrick, Locke was champion of the Cowra Dorset Fair and then reserve at Bendigo the same year.
In Rams, when Les's prize ram is diagnosed with a lethal illness, the fun begins.
- By MARK GRIGGS