Eric Bana

Eric Bana (born August 9, 1968) is an Australian film and television actor. He began his career as a comedian in the sketch comedy series Full Frontal before gaining critical recognition in the biopic Chopper (2000). After a decade of critically acclaimed roles in Australian TV shows and films, Bana gained Hollywood's attention by playing the role of American Delta Force Sergeant Norm 'Hoot' Hooten in Black Hawk Down (2001), the lead role as Bruce Banner in the Ang Lee directed film Hulk (2003), Prince Hector in the movie Troy and the main villain, Nero in 2009's hit movie Star Trek.

An accomplished dramatic actor and comedian, he received Australia's highest film and television awards for his performances in Chopper, Full Frontal and Romulus, My Father. Bana performs predominantly in leading roles in a variety of low-budget and major studio films, ranging from romantic comedies and drama to science fiction and action thrillers. [...]

In 1997, in spite of his lack of experience in dramatic roles, Bana was approached by director Andrew Dominik to appear in the film Chopper (2000), a biopic based on the life of infamous Australian criminal Chopper Read. Dominik had been working on the project for five years, but was unable to find an actor to portray Read. Only after Read himself suggested Bana, having seen him perform a skit on television, did Dominik consider him for the part.

For the role, Bana shaved his head, gained thirty pounds, and spent two days with Read to perfect his mimicry. During filming he arrived on set at four in the morning and spent five hours being covered in Read's trademark tattoos. In spite of the film's limited release outside of Australia, Bana's performance received positive reviews. American film critic Roger Ebert complimented Bana, stating that "in a comedian named Eric Bana the filmmakers have found, I think, a future star ... He has a quality no acting school can teach you and few actors can match. You cannot look away from him". Chopper was a critical and financial success in Australia, and was nominated for Best Film at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2001. Bana's performance won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor. [...]

After the disappointment of Hulk and Troy, critics questioned Bana's bankability in big-budget films. He responded in Empire Magazine:

It's not like it [Hulk] was a flop. When you're on a long shoot it is a long personal investment. If I wasn't happy with the end result I'd be bloody upset, but in every case so far I've been happy. Troy could take $50 and I wouldn't regret it.

The following year, Bana co-starred with Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush in Steven Spielberg's controversial film Munich. Bana played Avner, a Mossad agent, who is ordered to track down and kill the Black September terrorists thought to be responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics.[22] The film was a critical success, and was nominated for five Academy Awards in 2006. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Bana as Avner "projects a combination of sensitivity and ruthlessness and...knows how to present a face for which worry is a new experience." [...]

Bana is a motor racing enthusiast, and participates in various motor racing competitions in Australia. At the age of fourteen, Bana wanted to leave school to focus full-time on becoming a motor mechanic, but his father convinced him to complete school, advising him to avoid making his hobby a job. Bana purchased his first car, a 1974 XB Ford Falcon coupé, at the age of fifteen for AU$1100 and driving it, made his motor sport racing debut in 1996's Targa Tasmania, a week-long race around the island state of Tasmania. In 2004, Bana purchased a Porsche 944 to compete in Australia's Porsche Challenge. Competing throughout 2004, he often finished in the top ten and in November, finished fourth at the Sandown 500, a personal best. On 21 April 2007 Bana crashed his 1974 XB Falcon Coupe in the Targa Tasmania rally. Neither he nor his co-driver were injured. [...]

Charitable Work
Bana is an ambassador for Father Chris Reilly's charity for homeless young people, Youth off the Streets. In 2008 he appeared with Father Chris in an advertisement to support the organisation's annual appeal. Bana is also an advocate for the Mental Illness Fellowship, which works to increase the awareness of mental illness in Australia. In 2004, he appeared in several high profile advertisements for the fellowship. Bana is also active in campaigns with the Australian Childhood Foundation and the Bone Marrow Donor Institute. Since 1995, he has participated in the Motorcycle Riders Association Toy Run in Melbourne, which raises money and toys for needy children at Christmas.

In 2005, Bana narrated the documentary Terrors of Tasmania about the endangered Tasmanian Devil. The film followed the life of a female Tasmanian Devil called Manganinnie and discussed the incurable facial cancer which threatens the survival of the species. He has also worked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, donating money to animal shelters in Berlin while filming Troy in 2004. END


I WASN'T angry enough about the world to be one of those trailblazing comics, which is probably why the sketch comedy for me probably was a better fit.

I'VE NEVER felt a compulsion to make someone who I barely know fall in love with me through laughter. And as a stand-up I was never a big joke teller or a big physical comedy guy, so when I didn't want to be there it was the worst form of torture.

MORE THAN anything else I was attracted to playing a character (Hulk) that had so much baggage and so much going on. I love the idea that Bruce has no control over what's happening to him and that he's on this journey of personal discovery and there's always something going on in his head. As a character actor that's what you are looking for.

WAS IT your butt or a double (in Hulk)?
It was mine. It was mine. Doubles, I’m not at that point in my career yet where I could ask for one, so no. It was my freezing ass up in The Sequoias.
I LEARNED a lot about women through my wife, actually, so I was a bit of a late bloomer in that respect. I've always really loved the company of women, I quite often find them more interesting. Men spend a lot of time playing games with bravado and bullshit whereas I think women can be far more honest.

THERE IS too much expectation when you date at night. Not only is alcohol involved but there's the whole "walk to the door, go in for a nightcap, will- this-end-in-sex?" thing. I'd like to start with breakfast and let the rest come naturally. People tend to be more themselves in the daylight hours.

DO YOU listen to music when you make love?
I can't. I lost my virginity to Dragon and that kind of ruined the whole making-love-to-music gig for me. Now, I prefer silence.

WHAT IS the greatest myth about men?
That all men prefer skinny women. It frustrates the hell out of me. I don't know who started the rumor but it's wrong. Women who are hippy, shapely and healthy are far sexier than starved girls with attitude. Perhaps it stems from media images. In women's magazines, models are generally skinny and pouty whereas in men's magazines the models are softer, curvier and rounder. They're not called men's magazines for nothing.

YEAH, I proposed at 7000 feet. By the time I got to 2000 feet, the wedding was organised.

YOU GET older and you can't be bothered. It's like, am I really going to change the world by throwing a tantrum? Sometimes I'd rather just pop on my motorcycle and go for a ride. Release it through fossil-fuel consumption.

I GO pretty quiet when I'm angry. I'm more likely to kind of walk off and brood somewhere because I'm probably afraid of the repercussions of 'going off', you know. I am generally pretty well-measured.

MY FEARS are not taking risks. So as a result, I think that I do have fear, but I like to think that I don't. Because, really, what are the consequences of failure? It doesn't manifest itself in anything other than how you perceive yourself or how you think others perceive you, which is completely irrelevant.

I THINK there's a potential for experience to help you. I think there's also the potential for experience to be a hindrance. It is one of the reasons that I didn't want to, when I was young, attend drama school. I think sometimes too much knowledge can be a hindrance. And I've found that myself as you go through more and more productions, there are some things that can weigh you down. I actually find myself reverting more than anything else and try to tap into primal instincts that haven't been tapered.

I HAVE a theory, the public should only ever see you when you're in the middle of promoting a film, otherwise keep out of their face. I know it's odd and I know it's weird because I'm in this industry and I'm in these huge movies, but at the same time I'm the last person in the world to want attention, you know?

SO WHAT do you owe the public as a movie star?
It's pretty simple. You owe them to not ever walk through a film. You owe them to make correct choices and not sell your soul to a movie that you don't really want to do, and then not deliver. You have to deliver. You can't be a fake. Whatever you do, you've got to give it your best and believe in it. It's fair to expect that. You can't do it for a payday.

[Quotes via here & here]

A Dangerous Beast to Love
A MOMENT in the documentary Love The Beast shows Eric Bana looking as shaken as he has ever been on screen. The star of Chopper, Troy and Munich had just crashed his beloved racing car during a Tasmanian rally and walked away, with his navigator, from what could easily have been a fatal accident.

"I'm probably a little bit shocked but I remember the overwhelming thing was feeling like I was just floating on a cloud," Bana told Stay in Touch yesterday. "I went into that event knowing that was my last rally but no one else knew that. So when I crashed and I realised we were both OK, it was a massive relief."

Bana turned director to make the film, about his 25-year love for an XB Falcon. The film, which will be in cinemas next month, has given him a taste for writing and directing. [...]

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