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Eric Bana depicts Navy SEAL leader in 'Lone Survivor'

Eric Bana portrays Lt. Commander Erik Kristensen in the war drama "Lone Survivor."
Eric Bana portrays Lt. Commander Erik Kristensen in the war drama "Lone Survivor."
Universal Pictures

In “Lone Survivor,” Eric Bana plays the commanding officer of a unit of Navy SEALs sent on a dangerous mission to take out a ruthless Taliban leader in Afghanistan. When their cover is blown on a stakeout and their communications system fails, it is up to Bana to lead a rescue mission to find the surviving troops in a treacherous mountain range. But even helicopters aren’t safe in this dangerous region.

The action drama, which also stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch, is based on Marcus Luttrell’s bestselling book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.” Action-packed and emotional, the film is due in theaters December 25.

The Australian actor recently spoke about playing a U.S. Navy SEAL, and depicting a character based on a real life hero, who sacrificed his life trying to save others.

Q: Why did you want to be in this movie?

Bana: I was a really big fan of Marcus’ book. I’d read it some years ago when I heard that Peter (Berg, the writer and director) was adapting it. He called me and asked me if I’d consider playing Commander Kristensen. I said “yes” right away because I’m not only a fan of Marcus’ book, but I have a fascination with the Special Forces community, in general. I think they’re all amazing people and perform an amazing function. Not every film has this experience (for me as an actor). We all make different kinds of movies all the time, and I knew going into this that this was one that would feel very different to make, and it would still feel very different five to 10 years from now from the other films I make. That doesn’t come along every day and I think all of us (in the cast and crew) had that sense with this one.

Q: Do you think you could make it through real Navy SEALs training?

Bana: Marcus tells great stories of when he went through BUDs (Basic Underwater Demolition) and he would look around the room and ID guys he was convinced would get through based simply on how (rugged) they looked, like the ones that looked like cage fighters or bodybuilders. But it was the guy in the corner that you thought “What the **** is he doing here? Did he come through the wrong door?” Those were the guys that would get through (the training), and the guys that looked like they could take on the world were crying after one or two days. It’s really so much of a mental thing. What’s so fascinating when you read about BUDs training and the training that occurs after that is that (these guys) are made of something else. Marcus’ book did such a great job of making you realize how big that gap is between most of us and them.