The Hulk Picks Fatherhood Over Hollywood, ‘It’s The Best Thing’
It’s hard to believe today that anyone else besides Mark Ruffalo ever played the green beast, The Hulk. Before Marvel put together the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was another Hulk, and it was not Edward Norton either. Eric Bana once occupied the spot as the scientist Bruce Banner in the very early years of Marvel Studios.
In 2003, director Ang Lee was ready to put together the first movie since the old television show The Incredible Hulk. It would simply be titled The Hulk. Eric Bana came out of nowhere to pick up the role as Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego. While critics and fans alike questioned many of Lee’s decisions as a director, Bana’s performance helped springboard him into stardom in major films.Before Hulk, the Australian’s most notable work had been in the 2000 movie Chopper. After playing Banner, Bana landed roles with some of Hollywood’s most notable actors and directors. He played opposite Brad Pitt in the 2004 movie Troy. He was also chosen as the lead character in Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed Munich.
However, Hollywood stardom is not all that Eric Bana was destined for. After Ang Lee’s Hulk sequel was tabled. Bana was not chosen for the role of Bruce Banner for what would become the kickoff to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Edward Norton would get that role. While most actors would take this as an insult, Bana knew what was most important to him.
Recently, Sunrise, the Australian equivalent to the view, sat down with Eric Bana to discuss his newest venture opposite Ricky Gervais as reported by the Daily Telegraph. The film is Special Correspondents. It is a Netflix Original Movie that came out this past April. Bana opened up about fatherhood, what keeps him grounded, and what it’s like working with and for funny man Gervais.
Bana married is Rebecca Gleeson, his publicist, in 1997. They have two children, and while he has stole many hearts over his career, his heart belongs to his wife and family. Despite playing The Hulk, the mythological legend Hector, and a war hero, Bana thinks those jobs pale in comparison to his job of being a father.
“It’s the best job, the most rewarding job. It’s worth every bit of energy you put into it. It’s the best thing.”
So, what is the secret to staying grounded as an actor? How does an actor keep his ego in check? Bana explained how he is never too far away from the friends that were with him before he ever became famous. They are not afraid to knock him down a few pegs when he is needing it.
“It [ego] wouldn’t be allowed to fester to the point of needing to be smacked out. It’s like being sprayed with weed killer every day.”
Eric Bana’s role in Special Correspondents is a long way from The Hulk. The comedy centers on a radio journalist and his technician. The two are looking to score a name for themselves so they decide to fake their own kidnapping during an uprising of rebels in South America. From here the two work to try to unravel the problem they have created for themselves why trying to keep their jobs and stay out of jail.Ricky Gervais directs and stars with Bana in Special Correspondents according to IMDb. Bana talked a little of what is was like working for the comedian.
“It [filming] was the greatest two months of my life. It never felt like he was my boss. I would go to work everyday and just laugh all day long. He is nothing but fun. He is a great director.”
While playing the Hulk was not in Bana’s future, he hasn’t let that slow him down. While he enjoys acting, he is first a father, and his only real goal is to ‘stay employed’ no matter what the role is.
[Image via Getty Images/Caroline McCredie]