Flying with the stars

Cattle farmer Douglas Hamilton little realised he’d be called on to act in a film starring a celebrated Hollywood actress when he arrived on set with one of his vintage aircraft. Stefanie Ferguson reports.

A cattle farmer from north east Victoria and his veteran aircraft have become Hollywood hits alongside superstar Angelina Jolie in the Oscar Award nominated film ‘Unbroken’.

Douglas Hamilton is now looking for more roles as a pilot in his World War II Lockheed Electra and other vintage aircraft he works on when not being distracted by cows and farm work.

Mr Hamilton, who is in his early 60s and has no plans to retire, said: “I just thought I was delivering the airplane and relaxing in the background. It wasn’t until I was on location that I was told to go to the wardrobe and get dressed up as the pilot.”

It was a first for Mr Hamilton and also for Jolie, the superstar married to Brad Pitt, who made her directing debut in the film about the harrowing war experiences of former Olympian Louis Zamperini.

Mr Hamilton’s unplanned new career as an actor started when an old friend responsible for locating old planes for film work contacted him about leasing his Lockheed.

He featured in two scenes that were filmed over two days at Tamworth Airport in New South Wales.

The film went on to be nominated for three Academy Awards in the Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing categories.

Mr Hamilton said Ms Jolie was “a lovely and professional woman whose small stature took me by surprise”.

He added: “You could say she needed a really good drench and a feed. She was minute.”

Mr Hamilton, who obtained his flying licence at 17, celebrated the premiere by booking out the entire Gold Class section in the local cinema in Albury for his family and friends.

Mr Hamilton, who farms at Whorouly in north east Victoria, said he had no plans to retire in the near future.

“I like the concept of retirement,” Mr Hamilton said. “But there are too many jobs to finish and I can’t see myself getting there anytime soon.”