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One in a million

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

by K C. Quimbach

What are the odds? Would you ever believe that someday your paths would cross and you might end up meeting a famous movie actor or singer? Well, that’s precisely what has happened with Derek Hall.

Derek Hall has been a member of the Australian Society of Mayflower Descendants from the start. He is a Charter Member. When Derek joined our Australian Society he was the Head of Studios at Screen Queensland Studios in Brisbane, Australia, operating Australia’s largest network of film studios.

Derek was born in New Jersey. He spent his first six years living in Florida. Derek came to Australia with his family in the 90’s, growing up in Sydney, NSW. Derek met his wife Laura in high school, the love of his life. He studied acting at the prestigious Nepean University in Sydney.

Even though Derek was living in Sydney, Australia, he enlisted in the US Navy at the age of 21. He attended Aviation Ordnance “A” school in Pensacola, Florida. He served aboard the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, CVN-73 deploying in the Global War on Terrorism. As an Aviation Ordnanceman (AO) Derek was trained to handle bombs and missiles and work on various weapon systems and small arms such as the .50 Cal. Machine gun.

Derek and Laura were married in 2007, just six months after his enlistment in the Navy ended. They now have four wonderful children.

Derek has had a very diverse background, beside filmmaking, Derek has worked for the US State Department at the US Consulate in Sydney as well as a member of the White House Advance Team and has also been a humanitarian aid worker across the globe.

After his time of Government service and aid work, Derek had his passion for the film industry reignited when he was living in Hawaii, where he ended up running the largest network of studios across the island state. He helped make Jurassic World 1 & 2, Hobbs and Shaw, Jumanji and produced his own projects along the way. While in Brisbane, Derek more recently helped make Young Rock, Joe Exotic, Love & Monsters, Elvis, Thor: Love & Thunder and plenty more. He’s had the pleasure to work directly with Universal, Paramount, Marvel, Netflix and others long the way.

So, who would have ever guessed that such a varied career path would lead to meeting and working with Tom Cruise? Derek says, “we talk about Top Gun: Maverick, a lot”. What were the odds, a million to one?

Derek and his family are currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Derek commented, “the UAE is lovely and wonderful. It’s a whole different world, but also very familiar”. Derek also commented: “he is loving his new position”.

Derek is now Head of Studios, Twofour54, responsible for the design, building and operation of the largest film studio in the Middle East. Derek, quoted, “We were getting phone calls two or three times a week from Tom in relation to a stunt of epic proportions, the likes of which will never be seen again” for Tom’s next motion picture “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning 2. Details are certainly “classified”. Details are confidential, for now, but Derek promises it will bigger than Ben Hur!

Derek’s Mayflower ancestors are Henry and David Samson and Myles Standish. So what were the odds a Mayflower descendant traveling around the world and meeting up with someone like Tom Cruise? One in a million?

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