Eric Bana was born and raised in Australia, but based on his latest film, "Deliver Us From Evil," you'd think he had spent his entire life in the Bronx.
His character -- who lands on a case that leads him to believe that the suspect is possessed by a demon -- is Ralph Sarchie, a real-life Bronx police officer.
"The safe, easy thing to do is . . . a general accent," Bana says. "But I refused to do that because I felt this was nowhere near realistic enough. We spent time in the Bronx with these cops and they just don't sound like everyone else. They sound different.
"I had the real Ralph around me all the time," he continues. "My version is a slightly toned-down version of the real thing."
amNewYork spoke with Bana (in his natural Aussie accent).
What drew you to doing this film?
[Director Scott Derrickson] wrote a really, really satisfying screenplay. It was intriguing, it was interesting and at the center of it was this fascinating character who just happens to be in a horror film. And I really loved that combination.
What was it like meeting the real Ralph Sarchie?
It can potentially be really awkward for both parties, when you meet someone [who is] having a movie made about them. . . . He was on our production officially as a police adviser and he had his own work to do. He was on the set every day, practically, so we spent a lot of time together. To be honest, most of the time we were talking about motorcycles.
What were the advantages of filming on location in the Bronx?
The advantages are huge on a number of levels. To start, the environment is real and it's got to affect the performance. . . . The first thing I said to Scott when I met him was, "Please tell me we're not going to shoot this in Canada. This needs to be in New York." Everyone else felt the same, fortunately.
Anything eerie happen on set?
Absolutely bloody nothing. We had a lot of fun, a lot of mucking around, a lot of jokes and nothing scary happened to me. How disappointing is that?
Scott Derrickson was recently announced as the director of the upcoming Marvel Comics movie "Doctor Strange." As someone who played the Hulk, did you have any advice?
Scott is way too talented for me to offer him advice of any description. I'm really thrilled for him. He's a great guy, he's a terrific filmmaker. I wish him all the best, I can't wait to see what he does with it.