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Eric Bana interview: 'Deadfall', 'Star Trek', 'Hulk' and more

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Eric Bana stars in Deadfall as one of a pair of siblings (the other played by Olivia Wilde) who take ruthless measures to fend for themselves after a casino heist goes awry.

Digital Spy caught up with Bana last week to discuss playing an anti-hero, working with Wilde, and his memories of filming Star Trek with JJ Abrams.


What was it that appealed to you about Deadfall and your character, Addison?
"Zach [Dean]'s script was really intriguing, I wasn't really sure every ten pages what was going to happen next, so that really drew me in. And I just absolutely loved the character of Addison, I thought he'd written him in a way that made him very accessible to me. There was a really nasty sense of humour that pervaded through Addison that I just loved, and was one of the main reasons why I really wanted to attach myself straight away."

How did you approach it in terms of wanting to engage the audience's sympathy, while still playing a character who's fundamentally a bad guy?
"I think quite often when you have a bad guy in a movie, the bad guy knows he's bad and the bad guy is trying to be bad generally, and in this case I don't think Addison sees himself as a bad guy at all. I think he's on a collision course and these events kind of accumulate and amass around him and he responds to them - obviously he responds to them in a negative fashion!

"I felt like it was my job to make the audience somewhat believe the fact that Addison is a bit of a passenger to himself, and maybe, just maybe enjoy his company as much as the good guy."

Did you find the Southern accent challenging to get to grips with?
"I didn't find it difficult at all, actually. For some reason the Southern American is far more accessible to us [Australians], it's got something to do with the way that Southerners and Australians speak and the shaping of vowels. There's a mechanical link as well in terms of the shape your mouth makes, so it's actually one of the easier accents.

"I've spent a fair bit of time travelling around America and spent time in the South, so it wasn't a completely foreign idea. I've got a great woman that helps me with that stuff and I actually found it quite fun."

Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde in 'Deadfall'

Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde in 'Deadfall'



The sibling dynamic between you and Olivia Wilde on screen is unusual, to say the least - how did you guys develop that relationship?
"It was extremely unique because, whilst I loved Olivia and she was a lot of fun, we had the unique situation of her not being available to us until her first day of shooting. So I had no rehearsal time with Olivia and no real access to her.

"Normally it's the opposite, and in this case I had to kind of make up what I wanted to about us and about what had happened in the past, and she was encouraged to do the same. So it was kind of fun to both turn up on set and have secrets about each other to a degree, and not know everything about each other and each other's process. While that's not ideal on every shoot, in this case I tried to make it work for me.

"It was aided by the fact that she turned up and she was awesome and hilarious and just lovely and gorgeous. It could have been a nightmare but it wasn't at all, it was actually a really different way of working that I enjoyed."

The weather conditions look pretty adverse on screen - was this a tough shoot?
"There were days when, sure, I was cursing my wardrobe selection from the belt down because I literally had a pair of suit pants, a thin pair of black socks and dress shoes, so there's only so much the wardrobe department can do when you're traipsing through the snow. But in each case, I was far happier about the fact that we were in the snow than not, because there's nothing worse than traipsing around a studio trying to look cold.

"And for me, I hate to say it but [the cold] is a bloody novelty, so I didn't mind it at all."

Eric Bana as Nero in Star Trek

Eric Bana as Nero in 2009's 'Star Trek'



You played the villain in JJ Abrams's Star Trek – have you seen Star Trek Into Darkness yet?
"No I haven't seen anything and I'm dying to see the film. That was nothing but some of the most fun I've ever had on a film, and working with JJ (Abrams) was just incredible. There would be very few - if maybe only one other director that I've worked with - who I think can have ten frequencies running at the same time, and he's definitely one of them. I don't know how his brain works and how he can compartmentalise so many things at once, but he can and he's brilliant at it.

"I think his sense of humour and his sense of child-like enthusiasm is pretty evident in his work, so he is one of the most fun people to work for. Any actor that gets the chance to work for him is just really, really lucky."

What do you think about the character of the Hulk and the difficulties of building a film around that character?
"I don't really think much about it. I guess the fundamental issue you've got is that there's a character who only truly exists as that character as a CGI form, so I guess that's what makes him unique. I haven't seen The Avengers, so I can't comment on what direction they've gone or not gone in."

'Hulk' (2003) still

Ang Lee's 'Hulk' (2003)



Have you finished shooting on Peter Berg's Lone Survivor?
"Yeah, we did that one before Christmas, that was a pretty small part for me. Pete called me up and I had already read the book twice actually years ago, so I said 'Absolutely, let me come over and get into it'. It was great to be a part of, and I've got a great relationship and a lot of respect for the Special Forces community. It was great to be a part of. It's an amazing story and I think Pete has a real handle on that world, so I can't wait to see it."

What do you have coming up next?
"The next thing I've got coming out after Deadfall is a film I shot last year, actually in your amazing hometown, London. Closed Circuit, which is a thriller with Rebecca Hall and Jim Broadbent and directed by John Crowley. It was just fantastic and so much fun; so much so that I'm hoping for a sequel to a legal thriller. I don't think it's likely, but, you never know..."

Deadfall is released in the UK this Friday (May 10).

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