Actor Bana on Spielberg's Munich

Publié le par David CASTEL

Eric Bana and Mathieu Kassovitz in Munich
Munich star Bana (right) is best known for his roles in Hulk and Troy
Steven Spielberg's Munich, which opens in the UK on Friday, is a fictional account of events following the 1972 Olympics, which saw 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian militants.

It features actor Eric Bana as an Israeli intelligence officer who leads a group of undercover recruits on a mission to assassinate the 11 Palestinian men accused of masterminding the hostage-taking attempt in Munich.

Based on the 1984 book Vengeance, the film has been criticised in both Palestinian and Israeli quarters for its historical inaccuracy, but Bana believes their reaction is "a healthy sign".

"There is no way that you are ever going to get everyone to sign off on what actually happened," says the 37-year-old Australian.

I'm not a politician, I'm a actor - I can barely remember my lines
Eric Bana

"In the end we are having to deal with some indisputable facts and some poetic licence. How you join the dots doesn't change the central themes and moral complexities of the film."

The film explores the issue of whether responding to terrorism with violence can be justified, or whether it just prompts further terrorism - as Spielberg's Munich suggests.

Complex issue

"It's idealistic to say you shouldn't respond," says Bana. "But it is obviously going to be different in every set of circumstances."

"Both the film and real life are right now dealing with this complex issue."

"We were filming whilst the London bombings were occurring, so that was obviously very poignant because we had a predominantly British crew."

Daniel Craig, Steven Spielberg and Eric Bana
The Spielberg drama co-starred new Bond actor Daniel Craig (left)

But the Troy star refuses to be drawn on his personal beliefs.

"I'm not a politician, I'm a actor - I can barely remember my lines," says Bana, who maintains that paramount for Spielberg was to make a film that was "both balanced and challenging".

For Bana, the key challenge was playing Avner, a young Israeli patriot who becomes increasingly troubled by his conscience as the death toll mounts.

"The thing that was important to me was to be better equipped with the history of the region," explains Bana, who prepared for the role over a two-year period learning the Israeli accent from scratch.

"Growing up in Australia, Middle Eastern history and politics was not something I studied at school - so that was an area that I really wanted to concentrate on.

"You can never have too much information. It all sits in your subconscious and affects the character in the end.

Eric Bana and his wife, Rebecca Gleeson
Bana lives in his hometown Melbourne with his wife and family

"I was able to meet the gentleman on whom my character is based. He was very generous to me and it was extremely beneficial."

Bana praises Spielberg's rapid film-making process and instinctive response on set.

"He approaches his films with such energy that it really kept me going," says Bana, who was the director's first choice for the lead role.

"I was able to get into a zone and maintain it for the duration of the film."

Spielberg's 'energy'

He adds: "Steven works with an unbelievable crew of people.You have to step up to the job because you are on the field with arguably the greatest team in film-making.

"The character of Avner was very taxing, but also very rewarding.

"I became extremely anxious during the making of the film. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep - I didn't seem to need it.

The film was shot over three months, in Hungary and Malta

"If you're playing a character whose senses are so raw, you end up in a similar place personally."

Fortunately, Bana has a wife and two children in Australia to keep him firmly grounded. Despite a thriving career, he chooses to live in Melbourne, not Los Angeles.

"It's a very impractical choice to live in Melbourne, but it's not one I have a say in because it is home," he explains.

"Home is one of the central themes of the film and it's one that I related to. The Palestinians are in search of a home, the Israelis are in search of home. Home for some people is a geographical place on a map and for other people it's a notion."

Munich is released in the UK on Friday.

Publié dans Critiques film France

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