As Swedes settled down to the traditional New Year’s Day viewing of the made-for-TV adaptation of the Walter Scott Novel, which is traditionally accompanied by takeaway pizza, Neill, 69, issued a cryptic ultimatum over Twitter.
“OK Sweden. This is DEFINITELY my last Ivanhoe,” he wrote.
Neill, who plays the evil knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert, told Sweden’s Aftonbladet
tabloid that he still failed to understand why an otherwise rational nation maintained such an obsession.
“It’s such a mystery, I don’t know any other country where you even remember the movie,” he said. “This has to be the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard. You might have to explain it a bit more, this odd habit. Because I’m not sure I can.”
“Is it a classic because you laugh about it or is it the story? I have to say i think this is extremely fun but I’m also very confused by it.”
After Neill made his comments, Swedes tried to portray the tradition as largely an attempt to troll the actor, who is perhaps best known for playing Dr Allen Grant in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park movies.
Some Swedish Twitter users even suggested that Neill, or at least the character he plays, is widely loathed in Sweden.
Neill, who now runs the Two Paddocks vineyard in New Zealand, took the gentle ribbing in good grace.
Asked over Twitter to explain the cryptic tweet, Neill joked that perhaps his role could be played by another actor in future.