Eric Bana

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Eric Bana
Eric Bana at London premiere of Hulk in 2003.

<tr><td style="text-align:left;">Birth name</td><td>Eric Banadinovich</td></tr>

Born 9 August, 1968
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Height 6 ft 2½ in (189 cm)<ref>Quotes from Eric. Eric Bana Archives. Retrieved October 24 2006.</ref>
Notable roles Chopper Read in Chopper,
Bruce Banner in Hulk,
Hector in Troy,
Avner in Munich

Eric Bana (born Eric Banadinovich on August 9, 1968) is an Australian film and television actor. He began his career as a comedian in the sketch comedy series Full Frontal and gained critical recognition in the biopic Chopper (2000). After a decade of critically acclaimed roles in Australian television shows and films, Bana gained Hollywood's attention by playing the role of American Delta Sergeant Norm 'Hoot' Gibson in Black Hawk Down (2001) and the lead role as Bruce Banner in the Ang Lee directed film Hulk (2003).

An accomplished dramatic actor and comedian, he received Australia's highest film and television awards for his performances in Full Frontal and Chopper. 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. His most popular films include Black Hawk Down (2001), Hulk (2003), Troy (2004), and Munich (2005).


[edit] Early life and comedy career

Bana was born in Melbourne, Australia, the younger of two children. His Croatian father Ivan was a logistics manager for Caterpillar Inc., and his German-born mother Eleanor was a hairdresser. Bana grew up in Melbourne's Tullamarine, a suburban area on the western edge of the city, near the airport. Showing acting skill early in life, Bana began doing impressions of family members at the age of six or seven, first mimicking his grandfather's walk, voice and mannerisms. In school, he mimicked his teachers to get out of trouble.<ref>"Eric Bana". Marie Claire. March 2002.</ref> As a teen he watched the Mel Gibson film Mad Max (1979), and decided he wanted to become an actor.<ref name="BIO">Dominic Wills. Eric Bana - Biography. Tiscali Film & TV. Retrieved May 13 2006.</ref> However, he did not seriously consider a career in the performing arts until 1991 when he was persuaded to try stand-up comedy while working as a barman at Melbourne's Castle Hotel. His stand-up gigs in inner-city pubs did not provide him with enough income to support himself, so he continued his work as a barman, clearing tables.<ref name="Banks">Tony Johnson. "Bana Banks on Banter". Sunday Herald Sun - TV Extra. June 19 1994.</ref><ref>Melinda Houston. Eric's Eureka. Sunday Life. September 29 2002. Retrieved May 13 2006.</ref>

In 1993, Bana made his television debut on Steve Vizard's late night talk show, Tonight Live.<ref name="BIO2">Biography. Eric Bana Central. Retrieved May 13 2006.</ref> His performance gained the attention of producers from the sketch comedy series, Full Frontal, who invited him to join the show as a writer and performer. During his four years on the show, Bana wrote much of his own material, and based some of his characters on members of his family. His impressions of Columbo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Tom Cruise made Bana popular with the show's audience.<ref>Darren Devlyn. "First Impressions". TV Weekly. February 10 1993.</ref> This success led to his own television special titled Eric in 1996. The show, a collection of sketches featuring everyday characters, prompted him to launch a sketch comedy series The Eric Bana Show. The series, written and performed by Bana, featured skits, stand-up and celebrity guests, but failed to attract a substantial audience and was cancelled after only eight episodes due to low ratings.<ref name="BIO2" /><ref name="Under">Kate Halfpenny. "Under the Gun". Who Magazine. August 8 2000.</ref> Even so, in 1997, he received a Logie Award for "Most Popular Comedian" for his work on the show.

That same year, Bana made his film debut in the Australian movie The Castle, which tells the story of a Melbourne-based family's stuggles to keep their home by Melbourne's airport after the government and airport authorities force them to move. He was featured in a supporting comedic role as Con Petropoulous, a kickboxing accountant. The Castle was a surprise critical and financial success, earning AU$10,326,428 at the box office in Australia.<ref name="BIO" /><ref>Movie Marshall - 1997 Australian Box Office Totals. Retrieved November 11 2006.</ref>

[edit] Film career

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.<ref>Christopher Strickland. "Director's Cut: Andrew Dominik's Chopper". IF: Australia's Independent Film Magazine. July 2000.</ref>

Bana as Australian criminal Chopper Read in his breakthrough film role in Chopper (2000)

For the role, Bana shaved his head and gained thirty pounds<ref>"Chopping & Changing". Who Weekly. October 22 2001.</ref> 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.<ref name="BIO2" /> 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.<ref>Roger Ebert. Review of Chopper. June 1 2001. Retrieved June 14 2006</ref> He has a quality no acting school can teach you and few actors can match. You cannot look away from him".<ref name="BIO" /> 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.

In 2001, director Ridley Scott cast Bana as an American soldier in the film Black Hawk Down (2001). Scott, impressed by Bana's performance in Chopper, did not require him to audition.<ref>Stacey Woods. "First Buzz: The Incredible Hulk". Elle Magazine. February 2002.</ref> In the film he played Sergeant First Class Norm 'Hoot' Gibson, an elite Delta Force soldier, who fights his way out of a battle in Mogadishu, Somalia after a mission to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord goes awry. Bana shed the weight he had gained for Chopper and began an exercise regimen months before filming began. He also trained with Delta Force operatives at Fort Bragg, learning to fire weapons and clear rooms.<ref name="Hits">Mark Hopkins. "Eric Hits Hollywood". GQ Magazine (Australian edition). April 2002.</ref> The film was met with positive reviews and was number one at the American box office for three weeks after it opened.<ref>Box Office and Rental History for Black Hawk Down. Retrieved July 2, 2006.</ref>

Bana's next project was the low-budget Australian film The Nugget (2002). A comedy, the film portrays the effect of instant wealth on three working class men and was released with moderate success in Australia. Bana read the script after filming Chopper in 2000 and was drawn to it because it reminded him of his childhood and because he found its characters amusing and likable.<ref>The Incredible Rise of Eric Bana. What's On Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2006.</ref> While filming The Nugget, Bana was offered the lead role of Bruce Banner in the film adaptation of the popular comic book series The Incredible Hulk. Only after learning of director Ang Lee's involvement in the project did he consider the role.<ref name="Hits" /> Bana admired Lee for his work on the film The Ice Storm and agreed to work on the film before the final script was complete.<ref name="TNT">James Mootram. "Making it Big". TNT Magazine. July 14 2003.</ref> He said he was drawn to the film because "the character of Bruce Banner had dramatic potential" and was "a fairly non-traditional superhero".<ref name="TNT" /> Hulk (2003) was not a critical nor box office success, but Bana's performance was praised: Jack Matthews of the New York Daily News felt that Bana played the role of Bruce Banner "with great conviction".<ref>Jack Mathews. Beast for the Eyes. New York Daily News. June 20 2003. Retrieved May 31 2006.</ref> Bana earned an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films nomination for "Cinescape Genre Face of the Future" for the film.

In 2004, Bana co-starred with Brad Pitt in the big-budget film Troy. In the film he played Prince Hector, leader of the Trojan forces battling against the Greek warrior Achilles. Director Wolfgang Petersen offered him a role in the film after meeting with Brad Pitt, a fan of Chopper.<ref>Biography for Eric Bana. IMDB. Retrieved July 8 2006.</ref> The film was an international success, grossing US$364 million. In North America however, it was a commercial disappointment, grossing less than US$133 million.<ref>Box Office Mojo - Troy. Retrieved June 2 2006.</ref> After the commercial failure of Hulk the previous year and the American box office disappointment of 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."<ref>David Eimer. "Heroes of Troy: Eric Bana". Empire Magazine. June 2004.</ref>

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.<ref name="Republic">Bana Republic. The Irish Times. January 20 2006. Retrieved July 1 2006.</ref> The film was a critical success, and was nominated for five Academy Awards in 2006. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote that Bana as Avner is "excellent as he's forced to come to grips with the morality of the task he's undertaken."<ref>Phoebe Flowers. Munich: Revenge of Olympic proportions. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. December 23 2005. Retrieved June 2 2006. Inactive since August 7 2006.</ref>

Lucky You, a romantic comedy on which Bana worked before filming Munich, is scheduled for release on March 16, 2007. In the film, he plays Huck Cheever, a professional poker player who must overcome his personal problems to win a high stakes tournament in Las Vegas. Bana recently finished filming Romulus, My Father in Australia; he will next play Henry VIII of England opposite Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman in The Other Boleyn Girl, a historical drama which is scheduled to begin filming in Britain in October of 2006.<ref name="hsun">Template:Cite web</ref> Bana recently agreed to star in the Ridely Scott produced film Factor X (2008). In the film he will play a detective who tracks down and captures Dennis Rader, the "BTK" serial killer.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

According to ComingSoon.Net, Eva Green, who is signed to play Serafina Pekkala in the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass, revealed in an interview with French magazine, "Studio," that Bana will be joining the cast of the film.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> However, this has not been confirmed New Line Cinema.

[edit] Personal life

[edit] Family

In 1995, while working on the television series Full Frontal, Bana began dating Rebecca Gleeson, a publicist with the Seven Network and daughter of Australian High Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson.<ref name="Under" /> They married in 1997, after Bana proposed to her on a trip to the United States that he won from Cleo Magazine after being named "Bachelor of the Year" in 1996.<ref>"Eric's Secret Love: Going Bananas". The New Post. March 1 1997</ref> Bana and Gleeson have two children, a son Klaus (b. August 1999), and a daughter Sophia (b. April 2002). Since the birth of his son, Bana has limited his work to one film per year so he can spend time with his family at their home in Melbourne.<ref name="Republic" /><ref>Eric Bana – Biography. Lauren Bergman Management Pty Ltd. Retrieved July 3 2006.</ref>

[edit] Interests

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.<ref>Transcript of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. June 17 2003. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref> Bana purchased his first car at the age of fifteen for AU$1000 and driving it made his motorsport racing debut in 1996's Targa Tasmania, a week-long race around the island state of Tasmania.<ref>Eric Bana Bloody Brilliant to the Targa in a 351 XB coupe. Street Machine. June 1996. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref> 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.<ref>Eric Bana Achives. Reproducing Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge's "2004 November: Sandown", Matt Naulty, November 2004. Retrieved July 12 2006.</ref>

Bana is also a prominent supporter of Australian rules football. His love of the sport began at a young age when his godfather took him to games to see the St Kilda Football Club, his favorite team.<ref>Leif Kramp. Eric Bana: "Wo bleiben die leichten Stoffe?". RP Online. January 24 2006. Retrieved July 12 2006.</ref><ref>Donna Freydkin. 'Gentle Giant' Bana. USA Today. January 9 2003. Retrieved July 1 2006.</ref>

[edit] Other activities

Bana is 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.<ref>Mental Illness Fellowship Launches Biggest Ever Campaign with Support of Film Community. Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria. September 29 2004. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref> 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.<ref>Liam Houlihan. Toy Run 2004: Troy Boy Leads the Pack. December 12 2004. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref>

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.<ref>Sympathy for the Devil. The Age. January 20 2005. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref> 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.<ref>Monthly Journal: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. May 9 2004. Retrieved June 1 2006.</ref>

[edit] Filmography

Year Film Role Other notes
1993-1996 Full Frontal Various characters Television series
1996 Eric Various characters Television special
1997 The Eric Bana Show Various characters Television series
The Castle Con Petropoulous  
2000 Chopper Chopper Read Australian Film Institute Award - Best Actor
Something in the Air Joe Sabatini Television series
2001 Black Hawk Down Sergeant First Class Norm 'Hoot' Gibson  
2002 The Nugget Lotto  
2003 Finding Nemo Anchor Voice
Hulk Bruce Banner  
2004 Troy Hector  
2005 Munich Avner  
2006 Romulus, My Father Romulus Post-production
2007 Lucky You Huck Cheever Completed  
The Other Boleyn Girl King Henry VIII Filming
2008 Factor X Pre-production

[edit] Notes


[edit] References

  • Donna Freydkin. 'Gentle Giant' Bana. USA Today. January 9 2006. Retrieved June 2 2006.
  • Mark Hopkins. "Eric Hits Hollywood". GQ Magazine (Australian edition). April 2002.
  • Patrice Fidgeon and Celia Barnes. "Eric Goes Solo ". Woman's Day Magazine. October 28 1996.

[edit] External links

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