We recently caught up with actor Eric Bana when he was in Perth to promote his latest thriller, Closed Circuit. In a week with an Australian spy scandal dominating the news, it seemed a pretty appropriate to chat to him about his movie involving espionage and state secrets.
“Everyone is doing us a lot of favours,” Bana says. “Each week something else happens in the world to make the film and it’s themes more relevant. When we were making the film it was the phone hacking scandal, when we were editing the film it was the Ed Snowden stuff and now we’ve got the situation with Indonesia. There’s no doubt that the film brings up lots of questions about surveillance, about privacy, and about transparency of process.”
Bana’s character, Martin Rose, is a barrister caught up in a terrorism case that is complicated by moves made by the intelligence community to protect its interests. Yet he is also a character undergoing personal difficulties “I love this notion that you’ve got someone that wears a superman cape and presents as being really together and really proficient at what they do, but behind closed doors is a bit of a mess. Essentially it is someone going through a midlife crisis, but at the peak of his career. I thought that was an interesting challenge.”
Ironically for a man that has played warriors, thugs and soldiers, this may also have been his most physical demanding role due to the rowing scenes. “Compared to bareback riding a horse and complicated fight choreography it’s easily up there, because it’s one thing to row, but another thing to single scull a race boat.”
As no stranger to accents (and seemingly rarely given the opportunity to sport his own) Eric Bana is affecting a quiet, educated English accent for Martin. “One thing you realise when you start really getting into accents is there’s accents and then there’s accents. There’s probably 25 different choices you can make in playing a British character. So it was about nailing down where he was from, his background. His job affects the way he speaks as well. You kind of end up making decisions based on all the information you’ve got.”
Getting his big break in the 1993 sketch comedy show, Full Frontal, Bana has transitioned into an acting career that normally involves roles of a more dramatic nature. “ For me there wasn’t really such a big leap from doing sketch comedy and drama, but for other people it may be different. I feel like basically you are becoming a character and feeling the essence of who that person is or not. Sometimes you’ll do that and get a laugh and other times you’ll do that and elicit other emotions. So I don’t see them as completely chalk and cheese. I think they are closer together than people think.”
As for what lies in the future, Bana has a role in Lone Survivor, but his next major film role will be Beware The Night in late 2014. This will be his first horror movie, and filming has just been completed in New York’s The Bronx.
To read the full review of Closed Circuit, visit www.xpressmag.com.au.