Eric Bana On Munich

Publié le par David CASTEL

 
Munich
So how did it feel being the centre of Steven Spielberg's most controversial film to date? Eric Bana talks about his intense relationship with the character of a Mossad agent charged with eliminating Palestinian terrorists



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Given the choices he's made as a film actor, it seems incongruous that Eric Bana got his big break doing sketch comedy. Since then he's played a psychopath in Chopper (2000), gotten very angry in Ang Lee's po-faced Hulk (2003) and died a tragic hero in Troy (2004). In Steven Spielberg's Munich, he plays Mossad agent Avner, recruited to assassinate a cell of Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics. It's harrowing subject matter, but the way Bana sees it, his grounding in comedy affords the edge he needs. "It forces you to rely on your instincts," he explains. "As well prepared as you can be for a character, there are times in the middle of a scene where if something's not working, no amount of preparation does you any good whatsoever. You have to completely fly by the seat of your pants and go with your gut instinct. Having a comedy background, I think, does help because you are more used to flying in that area than someone who has not been in that world. It also makes you braver."

Bana certainly had to think on his feet working with Spielberg who, he reveals, played fast and loose with the script. "On a daily basis he was just responding to what was occurring on set and was never completely fixed in his mind about what these scenes were," he says. "They would kind of evolve in front of him. He would constantly be changing and adapting to it, and it is very exciting to work in that environment." It could be an extension of the film's documentary style, but Bana insists, "He's not at all set in his ways. He's constantly evolving his thoughts, so when you're working on his film, it feels like a very organic, live beast. It really is amazing."

Next page • "You get to a place where you're very raw"


So how did it feel being the centre of Steven Spielberg's most controversial film to date? Eric Bana talks about his intense relationship with the character of a Mossad agent charged with eliminating Palestinian terrorists



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Although Bana found the process inspiring, he admits that getting inside the head of a blinkered assassin took its toll emotionally. "He's still with me today," he admits. "It does take a long time to shake them off. The deeper they go inside you, the harder it is to get rid of them." From the outset of production, Bana recalls, "I became extremely anxious. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep during the making of the film. I didn't seem to need it, or it didn't seem to be important. You fundamentally change as a person - you get to a place where you're very raw."

Prior to shooting, Bana had two years to prepare for the role - an unusually long time, but there was much to learn. "The thing that was important to me in playing an Israeli in such a sensitive environment was knowing more about the history of the region," he explains. "Growing up in Australia, Middle Eastern politics and history is not something we study at school so that was really the area I wanted to concentrate on because it was just important to me, personally, in how it was going to affect the character."

Perhaps more significantly, Bana had the opportunity to speak to the man he was going to portray. "He was very generous to me and it was extremely beneficial, no doubt. You can always glean some things that are not on the page or that are not expressed - things he might say, things that he might not say... It all sits in your subconscious and affects the character in the end." Even so, Bana remains diffident on the moral question raised by the film; was the Israeli response to the Munich massacre justified? "Oh, that's a tough one, isn't it? You know, it's a couple of things. It's really idealistic in some ways to say that you shouldn't respond to a response, but it's obviously different for every set of circumstances."

Next page • "The message of the film is different for everyone that sees it"




So how did it feel being the centre of Steven Spielberg's most controversial film to date? Eric Bana talks about his intense relationship with the character of a Mossad agent charged with eliminating Palestinian terrorists



Previous Page   previous page 3 of 3    


Inevitably the film has divided the American audience for whom the themes raised are especially pertinent in the post-9/11 climate. For Bana, this is a sign that Spielberg has been successful in his objective. "I think it's a pretty healthy sign, most definitely. There's no way you're going to get a whole bunch of people to sign off on what actually happened. Nobody is going to be able to get that document so in the end we're having to deal with some indisputable facts and some poetic licence. I trust that we've achieved a pretty good balance."

In an echo of the recent atrocities, Spielberg ends Munich with an image of New York's iconic Twin Towers, but Bana emphasises something even more fundamental to the film. Referring to one of the film's screenwriters, he explains, "Tony Kushner added a really great theme which I hope everyone understands - that of 'home'. It was one that I definitely related to. The Palestinians are in search of a home. The Israelis are in search of a home. For some people it's a geographical place on a map and for other people it's a mere notion. But that was one I felt very strongly about." So, overall, what does Bana hope that audiences will take away from watching Munich? Unlike his on-screen counterpart, he remains ever the diplomat. "I think the message of the film," he says, "is different for everyone that sees it."

Publié dans Promo du film

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