Eric Bana


Interviewed by James Mottram

What research did you do into Mark 'Chopper' Read himself?

I basically inherited about five years worth of research that the director Andrew Dominik had accumulated. Then there was stuff I did myself: a lot of reading, a lot of talking to people. I hate guns, so I had to learn how to do all that. It was about visualisation and interpretation - trying to find relevance in all that was the most difficult part.

Was it difficult realising a person well known to the Australian public?

There had only been a small fracture of the character presented to the public. I knew that what I had in my arsenal was always going to be interesting for this very reason. He only had one persona, and that was the one he put forward himself. The film undoes a fair bit of that. People are more confused than what they were initially.

What did you conclude about the figure of Chopper?

I didn't really surmise anything. I never felt pressured to come up with some kind of definitive explanation, or judgement of him. It's like someone you might hate in the media, but then you hear they're a really nice person but you actually don't want to know about it. It's the same with Chopper. People who read his books might like him because of the image he put forward, but the more politically correct might think him an idiot because he's a criminal. Somewhere in between all that, there's a judgement for those who want to judge.

Read a review of "Chopper".