Eric Bana's "beast" love rivals his acting passion

Fri May 1, 2009 8:35pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Eric Bana, star of movies such as "Troy" and "Munich," let New Yorkers in on a different slice of his seemingly glitzy life this week at the Tribeca Film Festival -- his passion for cars and motor racing.

The green monster of 2003's "Hulk" who returns to movie screens on May 8 in big-budget "Star Trek," has made his directing debut with a documentary revolving around his love of cars. Although, he says, it truly deals with friendship and having interests in life other than just work and career.

"Love the Beast" tells of his obsession with his beaten-up 1973 Ford GT Falcon Coupe, nicknamed "The Beast." He has owned it since he was 15 years-old and, he says, it "has had a very big impact on my life" because it kept him off the streets and "out of trouble when I was younger."

The Australian actor told Reuters he loves acting and would find life hard if he could not be involved in filmmaking, but as automobile enthusiast, he would be "devastated if someone took the keys to my car away and said you can't have it back."

"Love The Beast" follows the 40-year-old Bana and his closest friends as they transform his cherished Falcon Coupe into a racing machine and enter it in a five-day rally on public roads in southern Australia.

The film also features interviews with fellow car enthusiasts, U.S. television host Jay Leno, British motoring journalist and host of "Top Gear" Jeremy Clarkson and U.S. television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw.

But Bana, who uses footage in the film of him growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne, said his movie is not just about cars, but also addresses the bonds of friendship and the importance of hobbies.

"I felt very passionately that the story would resonate with anyone who has these huge interests, and it doesn't have to be cars -- 'love the beast' being a metaphor for whatever the beast is in your life," he said.   Continued...

<p>Australian actor Eric Bana poses for photographers during a telecommunications promotional event in Sydney July 19, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>