Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Eric Bana (born 9 August 1968; age 55) is an award-winning actor who played Nero in Star Trek. He is known for starring in such films as Black Hawk Down, Hulk, Troy, and Munich.

Early life and comedy career[]

He was born Eric Banadinović in Melbourne, Australia, to a Croatian father and a German-born mother. His affinity for performing surfaced when he was six or seven years old, when he began to imitate members of his family. He even mimicked his teachers at school in order to get out of trouble. Bana decided he wanted to become an actor after watching the 1979 film Mad Max as a teenager, but it was not until 1991 when he began doing stand-up comedy that he started to seriously consider a career in performing.

After performing on the late night talk show Tonight Live, Bana was invited by the producers of the sketch comedy program Full Frontal to join their show as a writer and performer. One sketch Bana did on this show was a parody of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which he portrayed Worf, with a crab in place of the character's signature ridges. [1]

In 1996, after three years on Full Frontal, Bana created his own television special, called Eric, which was followed by a sketch comedy series of his own, The Eric Bana Show. Although this show was canceled after only eight episodes due to low ratings, it earned him a Logie Award as Most Popular Comedy Personality.

Having become a successful film actor, Bana currently has no interest in returning to comedy. Bana stated that, by the time he made the transition to film, he was "kind of burnt out" from his comic performances and that he "had had enough of it." [2]

Film career[]


Bana made his film debut in the 1997 Australian comedy The Castle, but first earned wide recognition as an actor for his starring role as legendary criminal Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read in the 2000 film Chopper. Bana's performance in this film earned him critical acclaim and several awards, including the 2000 Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor.

Impressed with Bana's performance in Chopper, director Ridley Scott cast Bana as "Hoot" in the war film Black Hawk Down without an audition. Also starring in Black Hawk Down was Tom Hardy, who played Shinzon in Star Trek Nemesis (the film immediately preceding Bana's Trek film), Jason Isaacs, as well as Glenn Morshower and Enrique Murciano. Afterward, Bana starred as Dr. Bruce Banner in Hulk, the 2003 film adaptation for the Marvel Comics character. Although the film was not a critical or financial success, Bana's performance was lauded and earned him a nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as "Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award".

Bana's voice can be heard as the hammerhead shark named Anchor in Disney/Pixar Animation Studios's 2003 CG-animated hit Finding Nemo; Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Stephen Root also had a voice-over role in the film. In 2004, Bana played Prince Hector in Troy. The following year, he starred in Munich (2005), his performance in which earned him a nomination from the Australian Film Institute, again for Best Actor. Bana then starred with Drew Barrymore in the 2007 romantic comedy Lucky You.

Coincidentally, before donning the role of a Romulan, Bana played the title role of the 2007 drama Romulus, My Father. He received his second Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute for his performance in this film. [3] In 2006 and 2007, he played the role of Henry VIII of England in The Other Boleyn Girl opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, an historical drama released in February 2009.

Bana's participation in Star Trek led to a delay in another project, The Time Traveler's Wife with David Cowgill, a romantic science fiction story in which he played a man who suffers from uncontrollable jumps in time. Although principal photography for the film occurred before Star Trek, New Line Cinema determined they needed to shoot a new scene. By that time, Bana had shaved his head for the role of Nero. They needed to wait not only for him to regrow his hair, but for seasons to change again for the desired environment. This pushed the film's release back from Fall 2008 to August 2009. [4]

Star Trek[]

Trek 2009 theatrical teaser poster, Bana

Star Trek promotional poster featuring Bana as Nero

Bana has stated he was a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series when he was a child, but his appreciation for the show was not the reason he signed on to do the movie. Bana said he accepted the role after reading the script (written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman), which he called "awesome" and said he could not resist being a part of the movie. Another factor was his friendship with the film's director and producer, J.J. Abrams. He and Abrams have the same agent, which allowed them to meet several times before the film was in production. [5][6][7][8]

His casting in Star Trek was announced on 9 October 2007. He was filming The Time Traveler's Wife when the announcement was made. [9][10] Before Bana's casting, it was reported that Paramount Pictures were seeking Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe to play the role of Nero. [11] Bana was the first of three Star Trek cast members with a strong connection to comedy; his co-stars John Cho (Sulu) and especially Simon Pegg (Scotty) are also known for their comedic works.

Despite being the film's primary villain, Bana described his role as a "cameo," stating Nero to be "a great character" and that he "couldn't say no." [12] However, sources revealed to that Bana's characterization of the role as being a "cameo" was an understatement, and that Nero was much more than that. [13] Bana later clarified his statements in an interview with Cinematical:

…what I mean is that in the context of the roles I usually do, the weight is firmly on other areas … It's not one of those roles where you're carrying the movie, is what I'm saying. I feel like I'm very much in a supporting role, not one of the main guys. … It's a luxury to not be in that position. It's nice to be offered a part like that. [14]

Bana began filming his part on Star Trek sometime between 20 February and 28 February 2008. He had to miss the New York premiere of The Other Boleyn Girl due to his work on Trek. [15] For the role of Nero, Bana was required to shave his head bald, as were all other actors portraying Romulans. [16][17][18] His work on the film was completed by 27 March 2008, when principal photography wrapped. [19]

Reflecting on the role in 2013, Bana noted most people did not realize he played Nero. "I still get people today who just saw Star Trek and had no idea. Someone just told me yesterday, 'You're in Star Trek, and when it came out I had no idea it was you.' That's a huge kick. No, I love that." He added he did not receive any backlash for destroying Vulcan.[20]

The 2013 virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals is using his picture for card #104 "Romulan Captain Nero".

Post-Trek films[]

After finishing his work on Star Trek, Bana played the supporting role of Clarke in Funny People, a comic drama set in the world of stand-up comedy. This film also featured Andy Dick and Sarah Silverman, who appeared as themselves.

In 2009 Bana produced, directed, and starred in the documentary film Love the Beast, a "biopic" of his 1974 Ford XB Falcon, which he purchased at age 15 and has kept ever since. The film became the second-highest grossing documentary film in Australia's history. A 1973 Falcon is the signature vehicle of "Mad" Max Rockatansky, the franchise character recently played by Tom Hardy.

He then co-starred in the 2011 film Hanna as an ex-CIA operative who raises and trains his daughter to be a skilled assassin. This film's action designer, fight choreographer and stunt coordinator was Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country stuntman Jeff Imada.

Bana went on to star in Deadfall (2012), Closed Circuit (2013), Lone Survivor (2013, produced by Akiva Goldsman) and Deliver Us from Evil (2014, co-starring Édgar Ramírez, who was considered for the role of the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness).

He co-starred in the 2016 film The Finest Hours reuniting with Chris Pine.

In 2022, Bana provided the voice of Monterey Jac]" in Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers alongside Alan Oppenheimer and Tim Robinson.

Television Roles[]

Bana's latest project is the true crime series playing real life criminal John Meeehan, the title character of "Dirty John".

Personal life[]

Bana has been married to publicist Rebecca Gleeson since 2 August 1997. They have two children together, Klaus (born August 1999) and Sophia (born April 2002).

Bana is a motor racing enthusiast and once even considered dropping out of high school to become a full-time mechanic. He participates in various motor racing competitions in Australia.

He is also a fan of Australian rules football and is an advocate for the Mental Illness Fellowship.


  1. Pascale, Anthony. "Eric Bana To Be Star Trek Villain." [1], 9 October 2007.
  2. "No more funny business, says Bana." [2] The Daily Telegraph, 27 February 2008.
  3. McWhirter, Eric. "Eric Bana the best with two AFI awards." [3] The Daily Telegraph, 7 December 2007.
  4. Topel, Fred. "How Eric Bana's shaved Trek head held up Time Traveler's Wife." [4] SciFiWire, 27 March 2009.
  5. Rich, Katey. "Bana Says Nero Is The Main Trek Villain." [5], 11 February 2008.
  6. Fischer, Paul. "Exclusive Interview: Eric Bana for The Other Boleyn Girl. [6] Dark Horizons via the Internet Archive, 20 February 2008.
  7. Pascale, Anthony. "Bana Spoofs Star Trek Plot Details." [7], 6 February 2008.
  8. "Bana calls Star Trek role irresistible." [8] United Press International, 29 February 2008.
  9. "Eric Bana Cast as Villain 'Nero' in New Movie.", 9 October 2007.(X)
  10. Siegel, Tatiana. "Eric Bana set as Star Trek villain." [9] Variety, 9 October 2007.
  11. Stax. "Exploring The Next Star Trek." [10] IGN Movies, 8 August 2007.
  12. Sutherland, Claire. "Eric Bana happy to stay on couch" [11] The Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2008.
  13. Pascale, Anthony. "Bana Talks A Little About Trek." [12], 4 February 2008.
  14. Stewart, Ryan. "Eric Bana Talks About Playing Nero in Star Trek" [13] Cinematical, 11 February 2008.
  15. Pascale, Anthony. "Eric Bana Thinks Trek Is Going To Be Fun." [14], 2 March 2008.
  16. Pascale, Anthony. "Bana Shaves Head For Nero + Pegg Loses The Blond." [15], 26 February 2008.
  17. staff. "Yelchin, Cho & Bana Video Interviews [UPDATED: 2 new videos]." [16], 27 February 2008.
  18. Pascale, Anthony. "Star Trek Villain Spoilers." [17], 16 May 2008.
  19. Pascale, Anthony. "Star Trek Wraps." [18], 27 March 2008.
  20. Ryan, Mike. "Eric Bana, 'Closed Circuit' Star, Is A Lot Different Than You Probably Think He Is." [19] The Huffington Post, 26 August 2013.

External links[]