Friday, February 17, 2012

Eric Bana

Eric Bana (born 9 August 1968) is an Australian film and television actor. He began his career as a comedian in the sketch comedy series Full Frontal before gaining critical recognition in the biopic Chopper (2000). After a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Bana gained Hollywood's attention by playing the role of American Delta Force Sergeant Norm "Hoot" Hooten in Black Hawk Down (2001), the lead role as Bruce Banner in the Ang Lee directed film Hulk (2003), Hector in the movie Troy (2004), the lead in Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005), and the villain Nero in the science-fiction film Star Trek (2009).

An accomplished dramatic actor and comedian, he received Australia's highest film and television awards for his performances in Chopper, Full Frontal and Romulus, My Father. Bana has performed across a wide spectrum of leading roles in a variety of low-budget and major studio films, ranging from romantic comedies and drama to science fiction and action thrillers.

Early Life and Family
Eric Bana was born Eric Banadinović in Melbourne, Victoria, the younger of two children; he has a brother, Anthony. He is of Croatian ancestry on his father's side. Bana's paternal grandfather, Mate Banadinović, moved to Argentina after the Second World War, and Bana's paternal grandmother emigrated to Germany and then to Australia in the 1950s with her son, Ivan (Bana's father). His father was a logistics manager for Caterpillar, Inc., and his German-born mother, Eleanor, was a hairdresser. Bana grew up in Melbourne's Tullamarine, a suburban area on the western edge of the city, near the main airport. In a cover story for The Mail on Sunday, he told author Antonella Gambotto-Burke that his family had suffered from racist taunts, and that it had distressed him. "Wog is such a terrible word," he said. He has stated: "I have always been proud of my origin, which had a big influence on my upbringing. I have always been in the company of people of European origin".

Showing acting skill early in life, Bana began doing impressions of family members at the age of six or seven, first mimicking his grandfather's walk, voice and mannerisms. In school, he mimicked his teachers as a means to get out of trouble. As a teen, he watched the Mel Gibson film Mad Max (1979), and decided he wanted to become an actor. However, he did not seriously consider a career in the performing arts until 1991 when he was persuaded to try stand-up comedy while working as a barman at Melbourne's Castle Hotel. His stand-up gigs in inner-city pubs did not provide him with enough income to support himself, so he continued his work as a barman and waiting tables.

Personal Life
In 1995, while working on the television series Full Frontal, Bana began dating Rebecca Gleeson, a publicist with the Seven Network and daughter of then Chief Justice of New South Wales, and later Chief Justice of Australia, Murray Gleeson. They married in 1997, after Bana proposed to her on a trip to the United States, which he won from Cleo Magazine after being named their "Bachelor of the Year" in 1996. Bana and Gleeson have two children, a son, Klaus (born August 1999), and a daughter, Sophia (born April 2002). They live in Melbourne. On the official identity documents he still has his birth surname, Banadinović.

Bana is a motor racing enthusiast, and participates in various motor racing competitions in Australia. At the age of fourteen, Bana wanted to leave school to focus full-time on becoming a motor mechanic, but his father convinced him to complete school, advising him to avoid making his hobby a job. Bana purchased his first car, a 1974 XB Ford Falcon coupé, at the age of fifteen for A$1100 and driving it, made his motor sport racing debut in 1996's Targa Tasmania, a week-long race around the island state of Tasmania. (Bana has had this car for more than a quarter century. In 2009 he released a documentary named Love The Beast. The film details the central role that racing and fixing this same car has played in his life and the lives of his friends.) In 2004, Bana purchased a Porsche 944 to compete in Australia's Porsche Challenge. Competing throughout 2004, he often finished in the top ten and in November, finished fourth at the Sandown 500, a personal best. On 21 April 2007 Bana crashed his 1974 XB Falcon Coupe in the Targa Tasmania rally. Neither he nor his co-driver was injured. Bana appeared on the British motoring show Top Gear on 15 November 2009 as a guest for its "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment. Bana completed a lap of the Top Gear test track in 1 minute and 47.5 seconds on a wet track, the fastest wet lap ever recorded at that time.

Bana is a prominent fan of Australian rules football. His love of the sport began at a young age when his godfather took him to games to see the St Kilda Football Club, his favourite team in the Australian Football League. Bana can often be seen at AFL games when he is back in Australia on vacation or promoting his films. Bana's love for St Kilda FC resulted in the club being featured in the film Funny People and in Bana's promotion of the film in 2009, notably on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. In 2010, Bana was named the "Saints Number One Ticket Holder".

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