Eric Bana interview

Hanna star talks long johns, mullets and dying on stage

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

You shot Hanna on location in Finland. We imagine you have quite a collection of thermal underwear, then.
[Laughs] Yeah, I’ve got a couple of trusty ones that travel with me on the job.

We’re delighted that movie contains an Ursula Andress shot where you emerge from a river, but rather than a white bikini you’re in long johns.
Yeah, sexy. We’re all about the clichés of what men are supposed to look like when they come out of the water.

There’s also a lovely moment when Hanna cuts your hair and gives you a Flock of Seagulls ’do. Ever thought of sporting that in real life?
I had a couple of shockers back in the ’80s, but the Flock of Seagulls look – I didn’t get that far. I was more of a mullet and partially-shaved-head guy.

Did you ever have the little rat tail in the back?
No. I don’t quite get it. That’s not something I or anyone I know wears, actually, I don’t trust the rat tail.

It’s something to hold on to, if you get my drift, if your opponent had one.

Saoirse Ronan is great in the lead role. But did we pronounce her name right?
‘SIR-sha?’ Okay, close. I’ve noticed a lot of red-carpet journalists just mumble the name and hope no one notices. [Laughs] Once you know it, you can really go for it, and that sets you apart from the other mumblers.

Did you get her name right the first time?
Yes. I met Joe [Wright, Hanna director] first, and he confirmed the pronunciation. I was able to knock it out with confidence the first time I saw her.

You were a stand-up comic in Australia before you took up acting. Did you ever die on stage?
Well, every stand-up dies. I think you always, in particular, remember the first time. My first death was particularly aggressive – in a pub in a border town between New South Wales and Victoria. There were about 400 people, and about half of them were rugby players on a Friday-night bender. I look back on it with affection; I’m just happy to have kept my health.

Did you finish your set?
Almost. I was only meant to do 10 or 15 minutes, and I got about eight minutes in. There was something out-of-body about it that I found hilarious. My friends thought I was psychotic. It happened, and actually I’m still alive, so it’s not that bad – and now I feel like part of a fraternity. A good thing to get out of the way.

Would you indulge our geeky side? If Eric from Hanna took on notorious Aussie criminal Chopper, who you’ve also played, who would win?
Eric from Hanna would be faster, but he would want to get a good one in early – if he didn’t knock Chopper out, I’d say Chopper would get the better of him. So it would be 50-50, I reckon. It would come down to the first round.
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