Dark Horizon's Eric Bana Interview

Eric Bana of The Hulk Movie has been making the rounds and is answering all the tough questions. This interviewer asks the question that we all wanted to know... Namely who's doing the nudity, and if it ain't Jennifer Connelly, won't that hurt sale
Question: Was it your butt or a double?

Answer: It was mine. It was mine. Doubles, I’m not at that point in my career yet where I could ask for one, so no. It was my freezing ass up in The Sequoias.

Question: How do you feel about the digital character building off of your performance?

Answer: I guess it’s something you’re not really- - on a day to day sense, you’re not really consciously aware of. You’re aware of the pressure of Bruce Banner having to work. Otherwise we’re all in trouble. But no, there were never a lot of conscious decisions I would make that would be about ‘Okay, well, later on when the Hulk does this…’ Pretty much, I have to service Bruce because I knew it was kind of the other way around. I knew that ILM would be chasing what I was doing in a lot of respects. And when I saw the film, that was the thing that I was most thrilled about, was I felt like they had totally managed to drag character into that CGI figure. That was what blew me away. Not only was it beautiful- - I thought the effects were actually beautiful in the film, but I thought that they had really actually put character into it.

Question: How much did you know about the Hulk?

Answer: I was very familiar with the television series. I’ve probably seen every episode and I wasn’t a huge comic book reader as a kid. So, I guess the television show was the only thing I was really familiar with.

Question: Did you test for the part?

Answer: No, I didn’t. Not in the traditional sense.

Question: Why do you think you got this role?

Answer: I’m too scared to ask Ang. I don’t know what transpired. I know it was a combination of things but I don’t exactly know. There were times in pre-production where I started to freak out and wanted to ask him. I thought no. I don’t need to be aware of it.

Question: Wasn’t it Chopper?

Answer: Yeah, I’m sure the stuff that I’d done in the past had a big bearing which was very flattering. It was kind of nice not having to audition obviously. I probably wouldn’t have got the part if I had to audition. So yeah, but I never really specifically said, ‘So, what elements are we looking for here?’ I just kind of didn’t want to know.

Question: How much will this change your career, or has it already?

Answer: Yeah, it has a bit. I mean, for the last, I guess, year and a half, two years, there’s been some wonderful opportunities and offers and I take them all very seriously and try to be very choosy. That, to me, is the greatest guarantee in what’s happening to me now and obviously it helped me find this incredible role that I’m doing now over on Troy. Yeah, it opens up doors and that, to me is where it’s at.

Question: Are there similarities between Chopper and Hulk?

Answer: Maybe a couple here and there. I guess the difference is I think Chopper is a more self-indulgent character. He’s more self-serving whereas Bruce is far, far more innocent. Even though I do have some obvious empathy for a lot of elements of Mark Read’s character, it was more kind of self serving whereas Bruce is not. It’s different. Bruce isn’t in control.

Question: What makes you angry?

Answer: Well, I have two children, so I’m usually Hulked out by eight a.m. probably two or three times.

Question: Are they old enough to see this movie?

Answer: No, no, they’re not. They’re very young so they won’t be seeing this for quite some time.

Question: Do they know what comic books are?

Answer: No. They’re not quite four and one year old, so they’re very young.

Question: Talk about working with Ang Lee?

Answer: Well, it was really incredible. I guess in this film it was intensely draining because not only were you trying to capture performance but then you had to do it a billion times because of the coverage he wanted to have to choose from. Which really takes a lot of effort and trust because as a performer, it’s not just about nailing it. It’s about nailing it from 40 angles, you know, just so he can choose to do things with the split screen and all the rest. So, it did help to have a lot of respect for the director on those days, as opposed to saying, ‘How many more freakin’ times?’ It did make those days a little easier.

Question: How many takes did he do?

Answer: There’s a scene with Sam Elliot and I were after I Hulk out and I’m at the dining room table with Jennifer, he comes with all these security guards and we sit on the couch and have a conversation, I think we did close to 140. Might’ve been more because then we picked up a couple more after.

Question: What were the differences take to take?

Answer: Energy. Energy was higher on some of them. It was a lot.

Question: Where did you get by take 140?

Answer: You go to so many different places as a person and as a performer. I remember at about 70, Sam and I losing it as they were setting up for another angle. I was sure they’d exhausted every possible camera angle and technique in the world, and I’d forgotten about the crane. I think Ang was almost ready to move on and the DOP came in and said, ‘Ang, I think we should do a high crane.’ ‘Yeah, we’ll do a high crane now.’

Question: Was this for the comic book panelling or just angles?

Answer: Yeah, well both.

Question: I don’t remember panelling in that scene.

Answer: The bastard didn’t use it.

Question: Does it concern you that half the performance is CGI?

Answer: No. Again, I think you’re just so anxious about and paranoid about delivering what you’re responsible for which for me was always just Bruce. And I knew that the rest was out of my hands. And I was quite comfortable with that. I actually liked the fact that even though you’re kind of the lead, there’s plenty there to take away from you which is kind of nice.

Question: Is this the first time you’ve played an American role?

Answer: No, I played an American in Black Hawk Down.

Question: Is it hard to do the accent?

Answer: Yes and No. It’s actually CGI in this movie. [joking] Yes and no. Luckily for me, with a sketch comedy background, I’ve had to do it for a long time. But I always figure there are two American accents. There’s the one that kind of sounds okay and there’s one that sounds perfect and I think if we’re going to come and take jobs, it needs to sound perfect. So yeah, I’m pretty conscious of it.

Question: You started in sketch comedy?

Answer: I started out in stand-up in 1990 and in about ‘92 moved across into television sketch comedy and did that for about six years. I did stand-up right up until like two years ago.

Question: Are you planning any comedic film projects?

Answer: Not at the moment, no. It all seems a bit too
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