Eric Bana is one of Australia’s most famous acting exports, who has had an extremely successful and varied career in Hollywood.Known for his muscular good looks in movies like The Incredible Hulk, Eric Bana underwent a huge change, gaining 28 pounds to play a murderer in Chopper. He made gaining the weight look effortless—”[he] ‘just sat still’ and steadily consumed great quantities of beer, saturated fats, and doughnuts.” But he made losing the weight look just as easy. Bana was back to his old self within months, ready for his next film.
But if you had told the 45-year-old this twenty years ago, when he was a comedian on Australian skit show Full Frontal, he would have laughed at you. ‘When it happened, I was very happy about it. Mainly because it’s about having more choices, not so much about ambition or anything like that.’ Eric told The Daily Telegraph. On the promo trail for this latest flick Deliver Us From Evil, Eric spoke about how making the movie had opened up his mind to the possibility of evil, ghosts and demons after watching some disturbing video of a real life exorcism.
The horror film is loosely based on the work of Bronx cop Sergeant Ralph Sarchie who, while investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes, teamed up with an unconventional priest who was schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to rid the city of demonic possessions. When asked by the journalist if he acknowledged the presence of evil in the world, after playing murderer Chopper Read, Eric seemed protective of the criminal and his character. ‘I never saw that character as evil. He’s obviously very violent but I don’t know if you’d classify that as evil.’ he said.
Eric portrayed Chopper in the self titled 2000 Australian film, which was a game changer for the actor and arguably a career defining role. The movie was based on the autobiography of the prominent Melbourne underground figure, Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read, who was in and out of jail most of his life, for a string of offences including kidnaps and murders. It was Eric’s first dramatic movie role and one that certainly got him noticed, earning him the coveted Best Actor trophy at both the Australian Film Institute and Inside Film award shows in 2000.
He also received international acclaim for his work, winning Best Actor at the Stockholm Film Festival and was praised by influential film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 stars out of 4, and raved about Eric Bana’s strong performance, writing: ‘He has a quality no acting school can teach and few actors can match.’