11 Feb 2024

Eric Bana on dealing with leeches while filming

From Sunday Morning, 9:40 am on 11 February 2024
Eric Bana

Photo: Narelle Portanier

Force Of Nature: The Dry 2 which is in cinemas now is the follow up to the hugely successful The Dry. It sees five women take part in a corporate hiking retreat with only four coming out the other side.

Australian actor Eric Bana stars as detective Aaron Falk who, in the film heads off into the Victorian mountain ranges  to investigate the disappearance.  

Filmed on location Bana described filming as "pretty brutal" and "a real physical challenge to cast and crew", but ultimately worthwhile.

"We really loved being where we were, once you took the leeches out."

Bana’s character has been called an Aussie Hercule Poirot but he concedes, Falk is a more laconic sleuth, and he hopes he has managed to capture the essence of the character.

“I'm just trying to be true to the essence of what Jane (Harper) had written.

“You know you're trying to capture the essence of who Aaron Falk is and it might be slightly different to what's in the readers' minds.

“It's just about creating a sense of ownership that you can inhabit.”

Deborra-Lee Furness, Hugh Jackman's ex-wife, also appears in the film.

As an old friend of Bana, he says that he knew she would be “perfect” for the role of Jill.

“She's a wonderful actor and I think the last big film she did here was perhaps Jindabyne. So she's a dear old friend of mine and Rob, and so we just approached her, and we knew she'd be perfect as Jill”.

In The Dry 2, Falk is once again confronted with his past that weaves into the narrative of the missing women. Bana says the director Rob Connolly’s dual timelines allows the audience to be more informed about the character.

“It's a storytelling device, I guess, but it's also adds to the drama because the audience has seen what's happened in the past and they bring that into the present”.

For Bana The Dry’s success at the box office and its wider reception via streaming services has given the actor a new direction.

He was once fated by the famous film critic Roger Ebert as a star early in his career for his charisma following his role in Chopper. He went on to star in a broad range of films from The Hulk to Finding Nemo.

“I think it depends on the character you're playing. You know, I think some of them can be quite boring. Some of them can be really interesting. So, a lot of it comes down to the writing.”

For Bana it is always a case of performance last and writing first. He lauds the writer and director as essential to getting the best from the actor, rather than it being about pure onscreen charisma.

“You've gotta really try and find the stuff that then makes the job easy, because it's really hard to turn bad material into great performances.

“I really put the writer first. I think the writer is king and then after that it's the director, and so I just try and always work with the best possible people to give me the best.”