Australian actor Eric Bana has spoken about his love for Irish people and how much he has enjoyed living and working here.
The Black Hawk Down star has spent the past few weeks living in Dublin while filming takes place for his latest movies The Secret Scripture.
He told joe.ie that he has thoroughly enjoyed the experience: “It was my first time to Dublin. In fact, I hadn’t been to Ireland before. I loved it. The people were super friendly, really warm and it was great. It was winter, but whatever! I had a blast.”
Bana also revealed he was thrilled to get the chance to work with Jim Sheridan, a man he considers to be one of the great directors.
He said: “I’ve a lot of respect for Jim’s movies. In the Name Of The Father was one that really stuck with me. I think he’s really brave and ballsy and interesting. He’s just great with actors. Yeah, I was just pinching myself when they rang and said that Jim wants to talk to you.”
The Secret Scripture tells the story of a psychiatrist (played by Bana) who must evaluate a woman (played by Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara in different time-frames in the film) in a mental hospital and decide if she should be released back into society.
Similarly to Sheridan’s previous works such as My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, The Secret Scripture takes a close look at what life was like in rural Ireland in the recent past.
Bana joked that his work in The Secret Scripture is his “apology” to Ireland, after he was the man responsible for killing national treasure Brendan Gleeson in Troy.
He laughed that he was lucky to have been allowed in to the country: “Ha ha, I forgot about that! They (passport control) probably did too! It was so long ago that they probably did. Maybe I made up for it by working with Saoirse (Ronan) on Hanna! Maybe that got me over the line. But Brendan is such a great bloke. The Secret Scripture is my apology for killing him. To be fair, I was just defending my brother (Orlando Bloom’s Paris).”
He went on to discuss the relationship between Ireland and Australia, and how he believes the two countries share many values.
“There is an affinity between Ireland and Australia that’s unique. I’ve always got along with every Irish person that I’ve worked with or met. I really loved the ones that I’ve worked with especially.
“There’s an assumed familiarity that’s not at all offensive between Australians and the Irish. I don’t know what it is really. Maybe it’s the colonial thing, but it’s probably even beyond that. It’s something about the island mentality a little bit. The humour is really similar. I think cultural humour is a much greater bind than most other things.”
Bana is also a huge sports fan and admitted he has adopted Mayo as his team to support in the GAA.
“I felt a kindred spirit with their pain. See, I’ve got no interest in jumping in with a team that has recently won a bunch of championships, so Mayo seemed like a team for me. I feel their pain of reaching finals and not lifting the trophy.
He was then told by the interviewer that Mayo lost last year’s All-Ireland Final in a replay to Dublin.
“Christ, in a replay?! The last time my side (Aussie rules football team St Kilda) played a Grand Final, it was drawn and then we went back a week later and were smashed. That match is still the last ever drawn Grand Final. They’ve now changed the bloody rules! So yeah, I feel the Mayo pain even more now!”