Eric Bana

Active - 1997 - 2021  |   Born - Aug 9, 1968 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Culture & Society, Comedy Drama, Science Fiction

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A popular and easygoing Australian comedian whose keen adaptability lent itself well to aggressive-oriented early film roles, Eric Bana's hatred of firearms may seem ironic in contrast to the Aussie funnyman's fledgling film portrayals of real-life mass murderer (and popular cult celebrity figure in the land Down Under) Mark "Chopper" Read (Chopper [2000]) and a military man caught in heated battle on a rescue mission (Black Hawk Down [2001]).

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Bana's career as a comedian began while working as a bartender at his native city's Castle Hotel in 1991. Television offers began flowing in a few short years later, and in 1993, Bana took his sharp wit to the small screen as he assumed the roles of both writer and performer on one of Australia's top comedy programs, Full Frontal. His star on the rise, the increasingly popular comedian made audiences laugh even harder when he co-produced and starred in his own 1996 comedy special Eric (later to become a series) and kicked off The Eric Bana Show Live the following year. 1997 proved to be a busy year for Bana as he also made his feature debut in The Castle, though all of his hard work would pay off when he took a feature role in Australian television's Something in the Air in 2000 and was voted Australia's Most Popular Comedy Performer at the Logies.

Bana next took on the role of notorious Aussie author/murderer Mark "Chopper" Read in Chopper (2000). Hollywood was soon calling for Bana, and he answered by accepting a role in the tense true story of the Battle of Mogadishu, Black Hawk Down, followed by the title role in Ang Lee's The Hulk. While Lee's adaptation of the comic would be universally panned, Bana continued his upward trajectory, playing a major role in the acclaimed film Munich, playing the head of the squadron assigned to avenge the murder of Israeli athletes at the 172 Olympics. He then showcased his range by playing opposite Drew Barrymore in the Curtis Hanson film Lucky You, followed by a turn as infamous Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl. Bana would round out the next few years with roles that cemented his position in Hollywood, like Star Trek, Funny People, The Time Traveler's Wife, Hanna, and Deadfall.

Movie Highlights

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  • At age 14, wanted to become a mechanic.
  • Began his career as a stand-up comic in Australia and starred in the sketch-comedy show Full Frontal.
  • Met his future wife Rebecca in 1997 while shooting a short-lived Aussie comedy series, The Eric Bana Show.
  • Father-in-law is Murray Gleeson, Australia's High Court Chief Justice.
  • Won the Australian Film Institute's Best Actor award for 2000's Chopper, about a real-life murderer-turned-memoirist.