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Closed Circuit – Eric Bana on defending a terrorist

Australian actor Eric Bana has had an eclectic career, starring in such diverse movies as Black Hawk Down, Troy, Munich, The Other Boleyn Girl, Star Trek, Funny People and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

In his new film, the suspense thriller Closed Circuit, he plays defense attorney Martin Rose, who along with his ex-girlfriend lawyer Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rebecca Hall), must defend a terrorist following the bombing of a London market. But as the case evolves Martin discovers a sinister conspiracy that puts him and Claudia in danger.

Eric Bana spoke about the movie at the press day in New York City.

How did you come to Closed Circuit?

Closed Circuit - Eric Bana and Director John Crowley
Closed Circuit – Eric Bana and Director John Crowley discuss a scene on the set ©2013 Focus Features

I read the script on a plane and was blown away.

It was intriguing, it was thrilling, it was intelligent, it had great dialogue, I selfishly loved the character of Martin, I thought he’d be a lot of fun to play and I was shocked that George Clooney wasn’t doing it when I first read it. (he laughs)

So I was just thrilled that it came to me.

I was able to meet John (Crowley, the film’s director) straight away and just thought he was fascinating, I thought he was super intelligent, he had a great handle on the material, had a great point-of-view and really knew what he was doing. I’d seen his previous film Boy A, with Andrew Garfield.

Andrew is incredible in that film and it’s a really interesting movie. I had a lot of confidence in John and had an incredibly fantastic working relationship with him.

You and Rebecca have great on-screen chemistry, was that there from the beginning?

Closed Circuit - Poster: Eric Bana and Rececca Hall
Closed Circuit – Poster featuring Martin Rose (Eric Bana) and defense lawyer Claudia Simmons-Howe (Rececca Hall) ©2013 Focus Features

It was effortless for us. Both John and Rebecca came out a couple of months before we started shooting and we had a good amount of time to rehearse. [Chemistry is] never really essential when you’re an actor, it’s just a bonus to be honest.

There are plenty of cases of amazing romance movies where the actors didn’t get along, and their on-screen chemistry is amazing. So I never really worry about it because I’m always confident that the actors will be able to do that.

What’s more important is that it’s on the page, because there are plenty of examples where you might have great chemistry in real life, but if there’s nothing on the page to help sell what’s meant to be there, you’re screwed.

So I was very confident that on the page in this case there was a great, legitimate back story.

This movie was so intense, what was it like between scenes on the set?

Closed Circuit - Eric Bana and Jim Broadbent
Closed Circuit – Martin Rose (Eric Bana) and Attorney General (Jim Broadbent) ©2013 Focus Features

Rebecca and John are funny, so we had a really good time. This is quite a serious film in its tone, but if you’re working with people with a good sense of humor quite often you’re mucking around more on a movie like this than you are on a movie that supposedly seems lighter.

I did have a great time on Funny People though, that’s the exception. But sometimes the movies that are the darkest are the ones that you have the most fun on, and that comes down to the people you’re working with. It’s kind of the survival instinct to the material.

Eric was asked if the government surveillance in Closed Circuit made him paranoid? Click here to listen to his reply

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