Why Eric Bana Wishes He'd Never Quit Comedy

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May 24, 2017

He dreams of cycling great mountains but is wary of stairs... The Australian actor talks about life’s ups and downs. Interview by Jessica Irvine.

What is your greatest strength?

My patience. Maybe it comes from having kids [Klaus, 17, and Sophia, 15] but I can almost always find somewhere in my head to go when things are taking too long at work. It extends to waiting for good scripts; I don’t care how long it takes, as there’s a bike to ride in the meantime.

What is your greatest weakness?

Choosing perfect fruit and vegetables when I’m shopping on my own.

What scares you?

Running down stairs. Perhaps it stems from falling down a flight of stairs in the dark after a stand-up gig. It was a long way down. 

What virtue do you most admire in people? 

The ability to listen to a complete idea or set of facts before interrupting and to admit to being wrong. I’m still working on it...

If you could do another job, what would it be? 

I had 1625 jobs before I found this one and I’ve got to say, I miss stacking shelves at the supermarket.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

I can make a good bed.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My first car, a 1974 Ford Falcon Coupe that I still own. It’s my go-to happy pill.

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?

A cup of coffee in one hand, my wife in the other and a dog at my feet.

If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would you choose?

Ricky Gervais and Steven Spielberg – two of my favourite directors that I’ve worked with. Both are hilarious in their own ways. 

What travel experience is on your bucket list?

I’m a lifelong cyclist and envy friends who’ve followed the Tour de France. To spend a few weeks climbing those incredible mountains with a bunch of mates is on the short-term bucket list. A hard one to schedule, though.

How do you switch off?

By riding, either pedal power or motor. Nothing clears my mind quicker or gets the endorphins flowing more effectively. I couldn’t live without it.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Single-malt Scotch, neat. 

If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life? 

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t stopped doing stand-up. Your mind works differently as you get older and I wonder how my act and material would have progressed.

What is your greatest achievement?

My kids telling me that I should work more.

Who is your personal hero?

My father, Ivan. I have never in my life heard him say a bad word about anyone.

What’s the most Australian thing about you?

My obsession with St Kilda. We haven’t won a flag since I was born but it’s coming.

Where would we find you at a party?

At home, beating myself up for not having gone, or in a quiet corner having my ear chewed off by a football or car enthusiast.

If you were down to your last $20, what would you spend it on? 

A cup of coffee and a good schnitzel sandwich because I’m not stupid.

How would you like to be remembered? 

As the guy who was in a bunch of movies but you didn’t quite know who he was. 

SEE ALSO: Up Close with Actor Paul Hogan