Laura Dern and Sam Neill choose victimhood over achievement
It has been almost thirty years since Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park was released.
The film opened in 1993 to critical acclaim and did wonders at the box office. It made $404 million in the U.S. and $695 million internationally, making it one of the first films to make over $1 billion worldwide.
While computer graphics and animatronic dinosaurs were the focus of Jurassic Park, the film also helped the cast.
Prior to Jurassic Park, Laura Dern was known for her roles in independent films such as Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose and supporting roles in films such as Teachers and Blue Velvet.
Sam Neill was known for playing supporting parts in films such as The Hunt For Red October and Dead Calm and for playing the title role in the TV Series Reilly: Ace of Spies. He was also known for auditioning for the role of James Bond, though the part eventually went to Timothy Dalton. Neill signed on to star in Jurassic Park after Harrison Ford turned down the role.
Jurassic Park may not have made superstars out of Dern and Neill, but it certainly made them well known. It was among the few occasions when they were part of such a widely watched blockbuster.
If you were to ask the average moviegoer about Neill and Dern, he would probably know them only for their work in Jurassic Park and their sequels. The film obviously must have put more than a few pennies in their bank accounts.
They are all set to reprise their parts in the latest installment of the Jurassic Series called Jurassic World: Dominion.
While promoting the film, you would have expected nothing but appreciation and gratitude for the original film and how it benefited them in every way.
Alas, that wasn't the case.
Neill recently told The Sunday Times:
I am 20 years older than Laura! Which at the time was a completely appropriate age difference for a leading man and lady. [The age gap being inappropriate] never occurred to me until I opened a magazine and there was an article called "Old Geezers and Gals." People like Harrison Ford and Sean Connery acted with much younger people. And there I was, on the list. I thought, "Come on. It can't be true."
Well, it felt completely appropriate to fall in love with Sam Neill. And it was only now, when we returned in a moment of cultural awareness about the patriarchy, that I was, like, "Wow! We're not the same age?"
Hence, instead of celebrating the success of the film that gave them so much, Dern is claiming victimhood, and Neill is claiming to be remorseful for victimizing Dern.
The utterances by both Neill and Dern once again prove that in current times, victimhood earns you more accolades and press than success and accomplishment.
If Neill and Dern had merely lavished blandishments on the Jurassic Park phenomenon, the coverage they received would have been restricted to entertainment outlets. But the mention of their age gap and their empty virtue-signaling gave them wide press coverage.
Both Dern and Neill were adults in 1993. The '90s were the Stone Age, where age differences didn't matter. Both actors could have refused their respective parts. But neither of them is willing to accept any blame. Dern is claiming that she was so brainwashed by patriarchy that she didn't even realize there was anything wrong with the age difference. Neill claims he didn't realize the age difference until he read an article about it.
It all seems far-fetched. The age of a person is often among the first few attributes you notice in any individual, especially when you work in proximity. Age is not only revealed in its physical manifestation, but also in choices of language, clothing, and other tells. Surely Neill and Dern must have had some conversations that made Dern's age apparent to Neill?
The implicit suggestion here is that either Dern's character was groomed to be with an older man or Dern herself was groomed to think it was okay to be with an older man.
It seems ridiculous to examine this more, but let's do it anyway. Both Dern and Neill in Jurassic Park play highly educated adults. He is a paleontologist, while she is a paleobotanist. If they are old enough to study the history of life on Earth through the fossil record, they are old enough to engage in a consensual relationship.
Laura Dern and Sam Neill in Jurassic Park.
The only way to confront patriarchy is to respect a woman's wish. If a woman chooses to be in a relationship with an older person, she must be respected for her choice. Setting norms of what is and is not appropriate for a woman is a way of controlling a woman. It assumes that she is unintelligent and unable to decide what is good for her and constantly needs to be educated.
Will Dern's and Neill's utterances harm the film? Probably not — every article that mentions this age difference also mentions the release of the latest installment in the Jurassic Series.
The question remains: if the age difference was such a big issue, why did they both sign on to the latest film? You know the answer.
This is modern Hollywood, always willing to say the right thing, but when they have to act, their sole focus is pecuniary gains.
They claimed to be feminists at award shows but allowed Harvey Weinstein to prey on myriad innocent women because they profited from the films he produced. They spoke up only when Harvey was sent to prison.
They claim to care for the dignity of mankind but are willing to star in series produced by Apple TV, knowing that Apple exploits its workers in sweatshops.
Neill's and Dern's comments are a continuation of this series of empty virtue-signaling.
Photo credit: Screen grab from IMDB trailer.