Recently, MovieWeb had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Aussie-actor Eric Bana about his role as Prince Hector in the upcoming war epic, Troy. With this thick Australian accent and his charming personality, Bana took a few minutes to comment on the film and his steady rise to Hollywood stardom. With blockbuster films like Black Hawk Down and The Hulk already under his belt, and Troy coming this week, Bana seems ready for the inevitable success that awaits him on the other side of the spotlight. Except that The Hulk, for all its financial gain, was largely considered an ambiguous misstep in the recent comic-book-turned-film tradition - a consideration which Bana takes largely in stride. And with a candid sense of humor.
"Let me tell you something," he begins."If you're in a film and 99% of people think it's fantastic, then it's probably fantastic. And if you're in a film and 99% of people think it's a pile of shit, then it's a pile of shit. If you're in a film that sits somewhere in the middle, it basically means nothing."
But as for a comparison between last year's Hulk and this year's Troy, Bana refuses to budge.
"The weird thing about Hulk was that it never felt like a big production because it was about small sets and intimate moments. This film felt more like Black Hawk Down in scale and by how exciting it was to be on set every day. It was a pretty awesome playground to play on." On the subject of the film's action, however, Bana speaks nonstop, motioning enthusiastically as recounts his experience on grueling set.
"There was so much adrenaline around the project," says Bana,"and everyone loved the story so much. It was a bit of marathon, and a really tough job, but it never felt like a chore. Every day you'd wake up and as tired as you were or as sore as you were you just never had a problem getting through the day. You'd get to work with the swords and the horses and you'd be in for a good time."
"I was cast in September and started training straight away," says Bana of the film's brutal, climactic battle, pitting his Prince Hector against Pitt's legendary Achilles."I started training months before we got to the location. And when we got to London, we started on day-one choreographing the final fight scene. We knew that would it be the last scene that we would shoot and we trained for it non-stop, until the morning of production."
" We weren't too precious about getting hurt. I got quite a few whacks," he laughs, pointing to a small scar on his forehead."A full-fledged, back-handed, fist to the face. We were just both so ready and we'd decided to take chances that maybe we normally wouldn't have taken." And Bana's fondness for his co-stars extends far beyond the popular Pitt, as he speaks with a broad smile about the oft-lauded and highly-praised Peter O'Toole.
"I didn't dare have any expectations going in," he praises."He was just way beyond this universe. So fantastic. He certainly kept all of us younger people on our toes, because he had as much, if not more, energy than all of us. He's so incredibly committed and so incredibly in the moment. It was something to behold, a really great thing to see."
Following in the footsteps of such iconic talent wasn't an easy thing, especially given the great challenge of bringing the character of Hector to life. In a war based largely on the pursuit of love, it's difficult to find a villain, as heroes blend slowly into the blood-soaked sand, blurring the obvious line between good and evil.
"I loved Hector because he was such a great character, and what I liked, from an acting point of view - whilst we're introduced to him as the prince of Troy - he doesn't just arrive and simply say, "Hey there, I'm Prince Hector.' He really earns your respect and earns his nobleness. So as an actor you, yourself, had to earn it and work for it. Yes, he's Hector, but he does so many things through the course of this movie that make you feel for him and his journey, so that when you're reading the script, it has an effect."
Bana speaks in the midst of a rough political times, with the an obvious war raging in the deserts of the middle east and another, more invisible war being fought in the shadows of international terror. And so obviously the desire to compare the film to its current climate begins to flutter upward, but Bana is hesitant to so easily make the comparison.
"I think the reason that this story has lasted so long is that it's completely capable of being laid over every period of time. It's not just simply the fact that it's a time of war for us now, and so that it's incredibly relevant for us, but that it's relevant to every single regime, every single dictatorship, every single warrior. It's completely relevant to every war that's ever been waged."
And who wins that war remains to be seen as theaters on May 14th flicker to life the Iliad's epic battlefield.
- By Kelly Dumouchelle
- Additional reporting by Chris Monfette
Dont't forget to also check out: Troy