Here's Why Sam Neill Made Sure That His "Event Horizon" Character Had The Aboriginal Flag On His Uniform
In the 1997 sci-fi movie, Neill's character has a uniform that includes the Australian flag without the Union Jack. Instead, it's been replaced with the Aboriginal flag.
Throughout his career, Sam Neill has appeared in a number of major blockbusters and TV shows like Jurassic Park, The Piano, The Tudors and Peaky Blinders.
The New Zealand actor has also gained a reputation for being an absolute gem of a person, who fills his social media accounts with gentle, soothing and wholesome imagery that I, quite frankly, adore.
But just when I thought I couldn't love him anymore, Twitter user @Jayfuz pointed out an incredible detail about Neill's character in the 1997 sci-fi film Event Horizon.
Just in case you're not familiar with this movie, it follows a group of astronauts in the year 2047 who are sent to investigate and salvage a lost spaceship — the "Event Horizon" — after it suddenly reappears in orbit.
Alongside Lawrence Fishburne and Jason Isaacs, Neill plays an Australian called Dr William "Billy" Weir, who is the designer of the Event Horizon spaceship.
Now, what Jayfuz noticed was that Neill's character has an Australian flag on his uniform. While that is pretty standard, what's different about this particular flag is that the Union Flag that's usually located in the corner has been replaced with the Aboriginal flag.
According to his tweet, Jayfuz said that Neill requested for the Union Flag to be replaced with the Aboriginal flag as he believed it should look that way in 2047.
Neill later confirmed this, saying that he "wouldn't do it any differently today".
For those reading this who are confused about why this is significant, let me give you a bit of context.
The Australian national flag — which was first flown in 1901 — has three main elements: The Union Jack, the Commonwealth star and the Southern Cross.
Over time, there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the Australian flag, as it does not accurately represent the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who suffered greatly during Australia's British colonisation.
So, by Neill requesting this small but significant change to his character's uniform, he was acknowledging both Australia's colonial past, as well as the continued suffering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in this country.
Considering this movie was released in 1997 as well, I take my hat off to Sam Neill for making this very important decision to acknowledge Australia's history (and hopefully, our future — without the whole lost in space part, of course!).
If you want to do more reading on the Aboriginal flag, I would suggest looking up the "Free The Flag Movement", which details how the Aboriginal flag is currently protected under copyright law and is unable to be used freely by those it best represents. A good place to start is here!