The Dry star Eric Bana on making the Aussie thriller 'on the road to nowhere'
The Munich star plays a federal agent investigating a gruesome crime in new whodunit.
In director Robert Connolly's just-released Australian thriller The Dry, Eric Bana plays a federal agent named Aaron Falk who returns to his remote, drought-stricken hometown and is drawn into investigating a double murder. "We get the distinct impression right away that he's not welcome and we spend some time understanding the reasons for that," says Bana. "He's having to deal with a ghost from his past in order to help solve a mystery in the present."
Below, Bana talks more about the film (which was a huge hit in Bana's native Australia) and what it was like shooting this adaptation of Jane Harper's bestselling novel "on the road to nowhere."
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get involved with The Dry?
ERIC BANA: I had read Jane Harper's book and loved it. I share an office with my close friend Robert Connelly, who is our director. We share ideas, projects, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. One day he got off the phone and told me he was looking at directing Jane Harper's novel. I told him I'd read it and loved it. We just looked at each other and it just kind of happened. We thought, let's do this together. I was thrilled to take responsibility for Aaron.
You shot in the middle of nowhere, really. What was that like?
Oh, look, it was amazing. The locals were wonderful. We couldn't have made the film without their assistance. The town that we shot in did not have enough hotels and motels and so forth. We literally had people moving out of their houses so that the crew could be accommodated. I'm a locations guy. I hate shooting in a studio. I always avoid it all cost. I relocated for those two or three months and enjoyed the experience, and really really struggled when I came back to the city, to be honest. Still to this day, and it's been over two years, I really feel the effects of that vastness.
There's something very special about the location we were in. It's on the road to nowhere so that creates a very very special different feeling. This is a region where people live and die by the rainfall, it's a crop town so a lot of Americans would be able to relate to that. We shot at the beginning of 2019 at the height of our drought, before the rains came, which you can see onscreen. Fortunately, they did get some rain after we left but it was very very tough going during that period for them.
I believe this was the first time you've shot a film in Australia for 12 years. Did it seem strange at all? Was it a surprise to realize it had been that long?
I'm not surprised because it's really hard finding great material. It's hard finding good material in any country. It's not through lack of looking. I've never really felt it my national duty to do a certain number of films over a period of time. I would rather take massive swings at things I really really believe in. So the success of the film has been incredibly rewarding for me. In some ways, it didn't feel any different from any other film. There was the novelty of not needing a passport to go to work, which seemed incredibly novel, and if the dog got out of the front gate then in five or six hours I could be at home. [Laughs]
The Dry also features Genevieve O'Reilly, Keir O'Donnell, and John Polson. Watch the film's trailer above.