If you ask an American if they’ve heard of actor Eric Bana, chances are they’ll reply “Sure. He’s the guy from all those serious movies, like Hulk, The Time Traveller’s Wife and Munich, right?” But if you ask an Australian who Eric Bana is, you’ll get a very different reply.
Us Aussies know Eric Bana as a comedian who spent years making us laugh hysterically after debuting on the late night talk show, Tonight Live and afterwards with his impersonations of Columbo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise on the comedy series Full Frontal. Not to mention his two most iconic roles (to us Aussies anyway) firstly, as the kickboxing-accountant Con Petropoulous in the Australian cult film classic, The Castle, and secondly for his amazing portrayal of the infamous Australian criminal Chopper Read, in the 2000 film, Chopper.
Bana’s latest role is as defence attorney Martin Rose, in the film, Closed Circuit, where he is assigned the case of defending terrorist suspect Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto) after a discreetly staged attack in London. Due to a quirk in the U.K. legal system, Martin doesn’t have access to all the evidence of the case and he soon learns that the further he digs, the more he learns about the government’s involvement in the terrorist attack.
Eric sat down with The Huffington Post recently for a one on one interview to discuss Closed Circuit, his disappointment with Hulk, and to explain why Australian’s have a hard time accepting his more serious roles.
Huffington Post: This is a very timely movie, with everything going on in terms of government secrets.
Bana: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, it wasn’t something that we discussed at the time of making it, obviously. But I guess it’s kind of played out that way and I guess it will continue to.
Huffington Post: I think what’s tough for really any movie about this subject is that as more time goes on, less and less surprises me in real life. Do you feel that way?
Bana: Yes! Absolutely! You put on the news and there’s a part of you that wants something to be salacious and you see it and go, “Well, it’s not that surprising.” You get to a point — I’m 45 — you get to a point where it’s like I don’t know what can happen when I turn that on that’s going to do anything for me anymore.
Huffington Post: I love that you came up as a comedian and sketch comedy performer. I feel a lot of people don’t know that.
Bana: No, they don’t.
Huffington Post: I enjoyed your performance in “Funny People.” Is it weird that no one realizes that your background is in comedy?
Bana: Well, I have the opposite issue at home. It’s weird. Still today, there’s a certain portion of people of a certain age who refuse to accept me playing serious. So, I have the polar opposite problem.
Huffington Post: I didn’t realize that.
Bana: People my age back in Australia, it’s stamped in their minds of my sketch comedy characters. So, it’s very hard for them to watch me in a film. And I take that as a compliment. I don’t get offended by that. And here, it’s the opposite. Here, if I come out and say “I’m doing comedy,” people are like, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Who are you and who do you think you are?” So, I’m aware of that kind of weirdness. And I don’t care enough to want to prove any other party wrong. I just don’t. It’s one of these, “Take it, it’s on the table, you don’t have to take it, whatever bits you want. Just don’t criticize the bits of fruit that you haven’t touched and just walk away. OK?” I truly don’t care. And that’s the real reason.
Also starring in Closed Circuit is Rebecca Hall (The Awakening) as Claudia Simmons-Howe, Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones) as Tom Rose, and Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge) as The Attorney General.
Check out the trailer for the movie below:
Closed Circuit opens in theatres August 28.