Eric Bana

The Other Boleyn Girl actor Eric Bana talks about his latest role as Henry VIII, maintaining an English accent and the possibilities of reviving the codpiece as a modern man bagÖ

How familiar were you with Tudor history before taking on this role?

"I didnít pay a lot of attention at school, so every film I do is like a history lesson. Iím using the film industry to educate myself - itís a very expensive education!"

Henry is one of history's more familiar characters and everyone tends to have an opinion about him. How did you prepare for the role?

"You have to try and construct the character from the elements of the script. I deliberately chose to stay away from seeing any previous versions because I would find that too confusing and restricting. I just tried to come up with my own interpretation."

Is it fair to describe the story as one of a lustful monarch who goes out of control?

"Itís not a bad description. I think thereís a very human side to Henry, one thatís very juvenile when it comes to love, passion and women. And I think thatís a very believable trait when it comes to men!"

What do you think about a guy who gets to make love to two sisters?


Did he get away with it because he was so powerful?

"I think that had a lot to do with it, but he was obviously very charming. He got away with it because he was the king of England, and was aided by the fact that he was also quite a brilliant young man."

Do you think he was bewitched by Anne, but in love with Mary?

"I think he was genuinely in love with both, but definitely bewitched by Anne; I think she was the one who drove him crazy."

How hard was it maintaining the accent throughout the film?

"It took a bit of practice. When it comes to these parts you want preparation time. Itís not the sort of role you get a call and a week later turn up on set.

"I had many months to prepare. And I guess being from Australia Iím probably more familiar with it than some people."

Tudor costumes look quite tricky to get used to and not particularly comfortableÖ

"They take a bit of getting used to, but they make you feel quite kingly! You have someone to help you get dressed in the morning and get you out of your clothes at the end of the day."

When you first saw yourself in tights and the ruffles was there a moment when you thought ĎI look pretty ridiculousí?

"Perhaps the very first time, and then you get used to it. The codpiece probably took the most getting used to. That took me about a week. And then I was very comfortable and felt naked without it at the end of the day, like a cricketer at the crease without his box."

It's unlikely the codpiece is going to return to male fashion, thoughÖ

"I disagree. Iím trying to bring them back. I think they make a good man-bag. You just need them big enough that you can put things like mobile phones, keys in them!"

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