EXCLUSIVE
narcissism

Eric Bana ceased contact with Chopper Read after 2000 crime film

Australian actor Eric Bana played convicted criminal and gang member Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read in the 2000 crime drama film, Chopper.

But the 50-year-old Hollywood star claims he never spoke to Chopper after he met the infamous criminal to establish his character for the true-crime movie.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Eric said: ‘You make a decision when you’re portraying characters to take a deep dive into that piece of work then move on to the next thing.’

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EXCLUSIVE 'It doesn't always feel appropriate': Eric Bana (left in 2000 film Chopper) ceased contact with Mark 'Chopper' Read after working with the criminal for his 2000 film... and reveals why he'll NEVER play the controversial character again

EXCLUSIVE 'It doesn't always feel appropriate': Eric Bana ceased contact with Mark 'Chopper' Read after working with the criminal for his 2000 film... and reveals why he'll NEVER play the controversial character again (Pictured: Mark 'Chopper' Read in 2002)

EXCLUSIVE 'It doesn't always feel appropriate': Eric Bana ceased contact with Mark 'Chopper' Read after working with the criminal for his 2000 film... and reveals why he'll NEVER play the controversial character again (Pictured: Mark 'Chopper' Read in 2002)

EXCLUSIVE ‘It doesn’t always feel appropriate’: Eric Bana (left in 2000 film Chopper) ceased contact with Mark ‘Chopper’ Read (right in 2002) after 2000 crime film… and reveals why he will NEVER play the controversial character again

Chopper, who died in 2013 at age 58, was convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping and had a fellow prison inmate cut off his ears in the 70s. 

Eric spent two days with the high-profile criminal to establish a base for his character and on-screen portrayal, an experience he says now can come at a cost. 

PICTURED in 2002: Chopper, who died in 2013 at age 58, was convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping and had a fellow prison inmate cut off his ears in the 70s

PICTURED in 2002: Chopper, who died in 2013 at age 58, was convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping and had a fellow prison inmate cut off his ears in the 70s

PICTURED in 2002: Chopper, who died in 2013 at age 58, was convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping and had a fellow prison inmate cut off his ears in the 70s

'You take a deep dive into that piece of work then move on to the next thing': While Eric spent two days with the high-profile criminal to establish a base for his character  on-screen, he says chose not to have any other contact beyond that as the years went on

'You take a deep dive into that piece of work then move on to the next thing': While Eric spent two days with the high-profile criminal to establish a base for his character  on-screen, he says chose not to have any other contact beyond that as the years went on

‘You take a deep dive into that piece of work then move on to the next thing’: While Eric spent two days with the high-profile criminal to establish a base for his character on-screen, he says chose not to have any other contact beyond that as the years went on

‘There’s only a few times in the past where I’ve kept in contact (with people he’s met with to get into character), but it doesn’t always feel appropriate, and it depends on the situation. But in that particular case, No. I would only occasionally read things he would say, but no other contact after that.’

When discussing the pros and cons of meeting a real-life person to develop a character on-screen, Eric said: ‘It can go both ways, sometimes it can be a great bonus and sometimes it can get in the way.’

‘Sometimes it can be liberating not spending time with, or having access, to the real person.’   

He said ‘Chopper was a one-time thing for me’ and insists the story-line wouldn’t be a good fit for a mini-series on streaming platforms because ‘so much about him has already been written’.

'Chopper was a one-time thing for me': Eric said he wouldn't play the character again and believed his story-line wouldn't be a good fit for a mini-series on streaming platforms because 'so much about him has already been written' (Pictured: Eric as Chopper in 2000)

'Chopper was a one-time thing for me': Eric said he wouldn't play the character again and believed his story-line wouldn't be a good fit for a mini-series on streaming platforms because 'so much about him has already been written' (Pictured: Eric as Chopper in 2000)

‘Chopper was a one-time thing for me’: Eric said he wouldn’t play the character again and believed his story-line wouldn’t be a good fit for a mini-series on streaming platforms because ‘so much about him has already been written’ (Pictured: Eric as Chopper in 2000)

The Australian actor plays American con artist and sociopath John Meehan in Netflix’s true-crime series Dirty John, but Eric didn’t have the opportunity to meet John before his mini-series portrayal. 

Dirty John, starring Eric and American actress Connie Britton, is an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name.

‘I felt very free, because I knew I wasn’t going to be meeting John and ultimately I didn’t feel like it was my job to protect any honourable qualities of his personality. That’s a very freeing thing as apposed to when you’re playing a soldier who has been killed in battle and is no longer with their family – it’s a different thing. You’re trying to approach that in a far more honourable way.’

'Sometimes it can be liberating not spending time with, or having access, to the real person': Eric said he had a more 'freeing' experience when he played sociopath John Meehan in 'Dirty John' as he wasn't given the opportunity to meet the man behind the true story

'Sometimes it can be liberating not spending time with, or having access, to the real person': Eric said he had a more 'freeing' experience when he played sociopath John Meehan in 'Dirty John' as he wasn't given the opportunity to meet the man behind the true story

‘Sometimes it can be liberating not spending time with, or having access, to the real person’: Eric said he had a more ‘freeing’ experience when he played sociopath John Meehan in ‘Dirty John’ as he wasn’t given the opportunity to meet the man behind the true story

The real 'Dirty John': Dirty John, starring Eric and American actress Connie Britton, is an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name about sociopath John Meehan's (left) relationship with Debra Newell (right)

The real 'Dirty John': Dirty John, starring Eric and American actress Connie Britton, is an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name about sociopath John Meehan's (left) relationship with Debra Newell (right)

The real ‘Dirty John’: Dirty John, starring Eric and American actress Connie Britton, is an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name about sociopath John Meehan’s (left) relationship with Debra Newell (right)

Preparing for the role, Eric said he drew on his past work and concentrated on traits specific to John’s conman behaviours.

‘Getting into the psychology of a that (sociopath con artist), it was very interesting. I just tried to come up with a version of John that spoke to that character type. It was about convincingly portraying what these types of men are like,’ Eric explained.  

Dirty John is now available on Netflix Australia 

Steaming now! Dirty John is now available on Netflix Australia

Steaming now! Dirty John is now available on Netflix Australia

Steaming now! Dirty John is now available on Netflix Australia

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