OnlyOnAOL: For Eric Bana, 'there's nowhere to hide' from Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana On "Special Correspondents"

By: Donna Freydkin

As the creator and star of the original British sitcom "The Office," Ricky Gervais knows a thing or three about being funny.

"Trump is not trying to make us laugh. But it's hilarious," says Gervais. "I don't live here. I think it's hilarious."

He's now written and directed "Special Correspondents" for Netflix. In the satire, Gervais plays a radio technician, and Eric Bana a slick, suave reporter who wants to be a major foreign correspondent. So when a war breaks out in Ecuador, the two, after a series of mishaps, cover the battle from the safety of a New York City deli.

Bana has a background in standup comedy, which lent itself to his starring role. "I could just go in and relax and play Frank as Frank in order for it to be funny," says Bana.

Working opposite Gervais makes keeping a straight face something of a challenge. Meaning, if you crack up -- which is often unavoidable -- you ruin a take. "There's nowhere to hide," says Bana. "The camera is always on you."

The Australian-born Bana is known for his intense roles in dramas like "Munich." But he can showcase a funny bone with the best of them.

In "Correspondents," Bana's character dreams of being the next Anderson Cooper, and behaves like an ambitious, obnoxious reporter. "We made him a bit angrier," says Bana. "Ricky found it humorous when Frank got really, really angry at him. That developed during filming."

The project wound up at Netflix because Gervais wants control. "I want as many people to see my work as possible but with no compromise," says Gervais.

Here's a look back at Bana's impressive career.

Eric Bana through the years
See Gallery
OnlyOnAOL: For Eric Bana, 'there's nowhere to hide' from Ricky Gervais
Bana swings by AOL BUILD on April 26. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
He's dapper at the 'Finest Hours' premiere on 25, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Bana watches the action at Rod Laver Arena during day 14 of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. (Photo by Patrick Scala/Getty Images)
He's riffing with Jimmy Kimmel. (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)
Taking the stage at the WonderCon panel on April 19, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic)
Bana attends the 'Lone Survivor' New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 3, 2013. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Bana at the premiere of 'Deadfall' at ArcLight Hollywood on November 29, 2012. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Olivia Wilde, Eric Bana and Kate Mara attend the 'DeadFall' premiere on April 22, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
Bana at the screening of 'The Time Traveller's Wife' in Deauville on September 4, 2009 France. (Photo by Marc Ausset-Lacroix/Getty Images)
Bana and Jimmy Fallon yuck it up in 2009. (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Bana at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on August 1, 2009. (Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images) 
Eric Bana and Seth Rogen premiere 'Funny People' at the ArcLight Hollywood on July 20, 2009 in Hollywood. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Beam him up! Bana at the premiere of 'Star Trek' on April 30, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Bana promotes 'Star Trek' on April 17, 2009 in Madrid, Spain (Photo by Fotonoticias/WireImage)
Steven Spielberg and Eric Bana during a 'Munich' special screening in Los Angeles in 2005. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.