Bana: No ego clash in film with Johansson, Portman

Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:32pm EST
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - Eric Bana insisted his co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman got on famously and that all three actors were able to raise their game in "The Other Boleyn Girl" with a friendly competition to out-do each other.

The Australian who plays England's King Henry VIII in the film that made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday went out of his way to quash any notion there was any clash of egos or friction between high-powered young Americans.

"Why is it that people in the media hate the idea that actors working together is possibly true?," Bana said at a good spirited news conference after Johansson and Portman had been heaping praise on each other's acting talents.

"I hate to break it to you but actors really do love each other. It's a crazy job and we put ourselves in vulnerable positions. I don't care if it sounds corny but it's true: you're part of a brotherhood, and protect each other.

"And they indeed do get along really well."

Yet there are sparks between the two in "The Other Boleyn Girl," adopted from a best-selling novel by Philippa Gregory about the 16th century king and his second wife Anne Boleyn -- the mother of Queen Elizabeth I who was beheaded in 1536.

Portman, who plays a scheming Anne Boleyn, and Johansson, her sister Mary, vie against each other for the affections of King Henry -- Mary is his mistress and Anne becomes his wife.

"People keep asking if the rivalry was real but it was the opposite because we just liked each other so much," said Portman, 26. "It was such a rare opportunity to work with an actress my age who I much admire."   Continued...

<p>Actors Scarlett Johansson (L), Natalie Portman and Eric Bana pose during a photocall to present their film 'The other Boleyn Girl' running at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 15, 2008. The 58th Berlinale, one of the world's most prestigious film festivals, runs from February 7 to 17 in the German capital. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>