Eric Bana on ‘The Hulk’: ‘I apologize to all those people who were so angry about it’

A decade ago, Eric Bana was Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk. True story. Ang Lee directed a moody film version of The Hulk with Bana as Bruce Banner. I’ve only seen a few minutes here and there on TV, and while I wasn’t really impressed with The Hulk, I also didn’t think it was Bana’s fault. I’m not sure that Ang Lee was the best choice to direct a superhero movie, and I’m saying that as someone who LOVES Ang Lee. Anyway, the movie bombed and Eric Bana never really became a Robert Downey Jr.-level movie star with his own superhero franchise, which is fine. Bana also knows that some fan-boys still hold a grudge against him for The Hulk, and he ended up talking about it in an interview with HuffPo (to promote Closed Circuit, which comes out tomorrow):

He’s not surprised by government secrecy, conspiracy: “Absolutely! You put on the news and there’s a part of you that wants something to be salacious and you see it and go, ‘Well, it’s not that surprising.’ You get to a point — I’m 45 — you get to a point where it’s like I don’t know what can happen when I turn that on that’s going to do anything for me anymore.”

Becoming a rower for Closed Circuit: “I can now! I couldn’t before the film and I trained pretty hard for it. I really enjoyed it and found it extremely addictive. It’s really hard. It’s way harder than it looks. I’m talking about single style because it’s all you. It’s very technical; I underestimated it. Yeah, and then deep down you’re also saying to yourself, ‘They are so going to f–king cut this from the movie.’ You know? ‘What am I doing in this funny looking outfit?’

Americans don’t know him as a comedic actor: “Well, I have the opposite issue at home. It’s weird. Still today, there’s a certain portion of people of a certain age who refuse to accept me playing serious. So, I have the polar opposite problem. People my age back in Australia, it’s stamped in their minds of my sketch comedy characters. So, it’s very hard for them to watch me in a film. And I take that as a compliment. I don’t get offended by that. And here, it’s the opposite. Here, if I come out and say “I’m doing comedy,” people are like, “What the f–k do you think you’re doing? Who are you and who do you think you are?” So, I’m aware of that kind of weirdness. And I don’t care enough to want to prove any other party wrong. I just don’t. It’s one of these, “Take it, it’s on the table, you don’t have to take it, whatever bits you want. Just don’t criticize the bits of fruit that you haven’t touched and just walk away. OK?” I truly don’t care. And that’s the real reason. It’s funny now because my son is 14 and really loves comedy and has now seen all my old sketch comedy stuff. And he’s kind of intrigued and a bit pissed off that I don’t go back into it. “Why aren’t you doing more stand-up?” As I articulate my reasons to him, I realize how pathetic my reasons are.

When he’s told that the interviewer re-watched The Hulk: “I’m sorry about that… it was the first of the “dark” take. Make no mistake. I’m proud of what it tried to do. I apologize to all those people who were so angry about it…. I’m fascinated by the people who hated that movie and feel compelled to watch it again, which always blows my mind. But, yeah, it is what it is and I certainly don’t regret doing it.

The idea of having a different career if The Hulk had worked out: “I would have had a completely different career, right? I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunities that I’ve had the last 10 years — so I wouldn’t want to change that for anything. Everyone’s career is different and I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been exciting — it would have been a different thing. I don’t know that I would be siting down here talking to you about “Closed Circuit.” So, yeah, it’s just different. And I’ve really enjoyed my ride.”

No one realizes he was in Star Trek: “The most forgettable roles of all time.” It will be my own genre. My sub-genre. I still get people today who just saw “Star Trek” and had no idea. Someone just told me yesterday, “You’re in ‘Star Trek,’ and when it came out I had no idea it was you.” That’s a huge kick. No, I love that.

[From HuffPo]

Eric Bana loves to say “f—k”. But it’s not in a Kristen Stewart sort of way. Like, he’s not cursing to show everyone how hardcore he is. I think he just cusses a lot and he’s 45 years old and he doesn’t feel the need to change his speech patterns. I’m like that too – I dropped an f-bomb in check-out like at the grocery store and everyone was clutching their pearls and I barely registered that I had done something inappropriate. Also: ERIC BANA IS 45. Lord, this man looks SO GOOD.

As for his conversation about The Hulk… I think he strikes the perfect balance between acknowledging that a lot of people hated it – perhaps for good reason – and not shading or bad-mouthing the work. It’s like, “Yeah, you thought it sucked and you have your reasons but I still enjoyed making it and I’m proud of my career.” Which is an awesome way to handle that. Rooney Mara should take notes.

Photos courtesy of WENN and Fame/Flynet.

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51 Responses to “Eric Bana on ‘The Hulk’: ‘I apologize to all those people who were so angry about it’”

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  1. brin says:

    He handled it in a professional way…love him!
    “Closed Circuit” looks good, too.

  2. Meggie says:

    He’s so uniquely pretty. Pure forever dong right there.

  3. Maureen says:

    I don’t know much about him (but he’s really tall and a native of one of the the eastern European bloc countries) and haven’t seen him in much, but I actually saw The Hulk and thought he was sweet! He seems like such a nice man and I remember thinking that he had brought such a sweetness and tenderness to Bruce Banner. I wasn’t aware this movie was so hated. Oh well.

  4. Shade says:

    He seems kinda vanilla but I’d still hit it.

  5. QQ says:

    He came off nice and Humble

    And Id still hit it so hard that in the past his mama held him tight on her bosom and cried out “OH MY SON, No No” she had a flash of how i’d ruin him

  6. mia girl says:

    I love Eric Bana so much that I actually watched Chelsey Lately last night to see him. Now that’s some real fan commitment right there.

    Do fans of Eric even have a name? Maybe we can call ourselves Bananas.

  7. GMarchetti says:

    Jennifer Connelly should be sorry for that mess of a movie, she had won an Oscar the year before that and look at her career now…

    Wow, and how humble he is, really down to earth! A lot of actors should learn from him how to act properly (and nicely) when giving an interview.

    • Mindy says:

      JCons career arc is similar to that of the vast majority of Oscar winners, and in particular female winners. And anyway Halle made Catwoman, an infinitely worse film than Hulk (and this Hulk was pretty bad, the fanboys are right about that) and was able to recover and have a fairly good post oscar career.

      Some actors survive the Oscar curse, most dont though.

      • GMarchetti says:

        Hi, Mindy.

        I agree with you, actresses already have a difficult path to travel, especially after winning an Oscar, the only thing I disagree is about Halle’s “post career”. The Call, Movie 43 and New Year’s Eve are not an improvement since Catwoman, specially for an actress as good as her. And still playing Storm at almost 50, it’s definitely not helping…

        To me, she’s pretty much done.

  8. Jcamp11 says:

    I would love to see him in more comedy. I loved him in Funny People though if you’ve seen it you know it’s not a comedy. I also loved him in Hanna. He is sex on a stick. Period. The End. Forever.

  9. mslewis says:

    I’ve been a fan of Eric Bana for years, never actually knowing anything about him. He sounds like an intelligent, interesting man. He certainly knows how to acknowledge that some people hated The Hulk while not sounding like HE hated it. Good move. “Closed Circuit” sounds kind of intersting. It probably won’t be much of a hit but I’m going to see it.

    Also . . . stand-up comic?

  10. Charlotte says:

    We were watching Chopper a couple of weeks ago and my partner was commenting on really only knowing him for being ‘Poita’, and I was talking about him being The Hulk, and we were both wondering what he was up to lately because he’s so talented. Really pleased to see he’s getting more recognition again. I’d like to take credit for it because I put that energy out into the universe. Yep.

    • Mrs.Darcy says:

      He’s AMAZING in Chopper! He deserves to get meatier roles, I think he has the weirdest career trajectory and I’m not sure why, he certainly has the talent to be competing w/Christian Bale and Joaquin Phoenix for roles imo. I guess it’s just the way it goes.

      • Louminary says:

        Chopper is the first thing I ever saw him in, and I was blown away. He has that mesmerizing bad guy thing to a tee, you cant take your eyes off him!

        Is it gross to say that my crush and love for him started with Chopper? As a bloated, earless psycho?

  11. Teeny says:

    It’s so refreshing reading a celebrity interview where the actor comes across as being genuinely humble. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, more so warm as Eric Bana is such an attractive man. Whoever said we can call ourselves Bananas, count me in!

  12. Agnes says:

    Bana, Hardy, Fassbender and Hiddleston on the same day on CB. It’s Christmas

  13. ShakenNotStirred says:

    Awe. It wasn’t his fault. Even though The Hulk was a disappointment he was good in it.

  14. jacquie109 says:

    I actually like the hulk movie he was in. I was disapointed when they didn’t continue. Must have just been me..

  15. Turtle Dove says:

    ” I dropped an f-bomb in check-out like at the grocery store and everyone was clutching their pearls and I barely registered that I had done something inappropriate.”

    I hear ya. I am the worst for swearing. Never before has such an educated woman been so vulgar in speech. I tried to wean myself off to no avail.

    • Louminary says:

      ha, me too! Once I was sitting opposite my sister on a train in Ireland playing cards, with two elderly women sitting next to us.
      I got a bad hand and dropped an F-bomb, somewhat quietly, but loud enough for them to hear. I saw, for just a nanosecond, my sisters eyes flicker. So I looked her straight in the eye, slowly nodded my head and said “that’s right, I said it…” and we ended up laughing hysterically for most of the train ride!

  16. Joan says:

    Hehe! Don’t worry, Eric. I did notice that you were in Star Trek. He was funny in the bloopers by the way.XD

  17. taxi says:

    Bana was so good in Munich that I was really bothered that there was no Oscar nom. He managed to show, not tell, how his character was altered by the job they were doing as it progressed. There was a clear portrayal of a man doing his assigned job of exacting revenge while being diminished on a human level because he did it so well. The ultimate conflict.

  18. Jay says:

    It’s good that he apologized for making people so angry, because… “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” :D

  19. Veruca says:

    He was also one of the sharks in Finding Nemo (Anchor the Hammerhead).

    I’d take 1,000 Banas to one Cruise… Life is so unfair sometimes!

  20. Jag says:

    That’s not how I remember it. I remember him refusing to do a sequel or The Avengers because he said he hated doing the movie so much. So the fans didn’t watch it and they replaced him. Perhaps I’m confusing things, but that’s why I’ve not liked him all this time.

    • mythrasun says:

      Thats actually completely false. They “re-booted” the Hulk character in The Incredible Hulk, (hence the origin story re-told) once Iron Man was a hit and they wanted to start building up the Marvel Universe. He never was never supposed to be in the Avengers as he wasn’t even the current Hulk. They re-cast Edward Norton because of all the issues he caused on The Incredible Hulk with the re-writing and control issues.

    • mia girl says:

      Jag – I think you are confusing Bana’s feelings with Edward Norton’s issues after he made the 2nd Hulk. There was a lot of bad blood on that film and Marvel decided to recast him in the Avengers with Ruffalo.

      So you are now free to like Bana and project your bad feelings (if you must) onto Norton.

  21. Maddy says:

    Eric Bana is awesome! That is all.

  22. amd says:

    Oh, and I definitely knew he was in Star Trek. I think most Australians did.

  23. Claire says:

    Remember him in ‘The Castle’ – that was a great film. One of those ones you still quote years later. He was the karate obsessed son in law. He was so funny