The career of Eric Bana to date has been kind of a funny one. The Australian former stand-up comedian grabbed everyone's attention with a blazing performance, one of the decade's best, in Andrew Dominik's "Chopper," but when Hollywood discovered that Bana could clean up into a chiseled leading man, the actor was thrust into action roles in "Hulk" and "Troy." These were followed by leads in misfires "Lucky You" and "The Other Boleyn Girl," with only an excellent performance in Steven Spielberg's "Munich" proving to be a bright light.
Taking stock, and at risk of being typecast in fairly dour roles, Bana broadened his horizons and had a better time of it in 2009 with a villainous role in the megahit "Star Trek," a fun supporting role in Judd Apatow's "Funny People" and a lead in the modest surprise hit "The Time Traveler's Wife." With a general shortage of leading men in his age bracket, and a reminder of his talent, it looks like Bana's again becoming something of a go-to actor, with reports that he's signed on to a new crime thriller, and that he could be in talks for one of the higher-profile job vacancies around.
Variety reports that Bana, along with Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam, are in talks to come on board the crime thriller "Kin," which 2929 Entertainment and Mutual Film are currently putting together. Stefan Ruzowitzky, whose film "The Counterfeiters" picked up the 2008 Best Foreign Language Picture Oscar, is attached to direct the film, from a script from first-timer Zach Dean, who came up with the idea while trapped on a flight with broken landing gear.
The plot follows a brother and sister team of thieves, on the run after killing a state trooper, who collide with an ex-boxer. Bana and Wilde would play the siblings, and Hunnam the pugilist. It's a fairly attractive package -- the kind of role that Bana hasn't taken for a while, and the pairing with Wilde, who's said by pretty much everyone to be the best thing in "Tron Legacy," could be a fun one. Filming will begin in March in Canada, presumably before Hunnam has to return to his duties on the FX show "Sons of Anarchy."
Meanwhile, Bana is said by The Wrap to be in contention for one of the few 2012 tentpole roles yet to be cast -- the titular president in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," Timur Bekmambetov's Tim Burton-produced adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel, which supposes that the great leader spent much of his life battling the undead.
It's certainly a good thought for the role, as there aren't enough actors with the gravitas and action chops to pull off the role, even if we worry that it's the same kind of dour gig that Bana was stuck in in the middle of the last decade. But it also seems like things are very early -- this isn't even the reporting of a meeting between Bana and Bekmambetov taking place, it's the reporting of a meeting being scheduled.
Furthermore, signing on to "Kin" would seem to cause a scheduling problem: with "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" already set for a June 2012 release, things start to look a little tight when you take into account "Kin"'s March shoot, especially as the Bekmambetov picture is likely to be effects-intensive. It's not impossible, and the other projects that Bana had percolating, like Noah Baumbach's "The Emperor's Children" and the cop thriller "By Virtue Fall," seem to be quiet, but at best it's a premature report, although at least an indication of the kind of actor that's being looked at.
Tom Hardy was mentioned for a role in the film at one stage, but there's no way his schedule has room for it now, if that report was true. Bana, meanwhile, will next be seen in Joe Wright's teen assassin thriller "Hanna," which opens on April 8th, 2011.