8 APRIL 2009

It was a big night for Australian actor Eric Bana this week as he helped launch the latest instalment of the Star Trek movie series in his homeland. The Melbourne-born actor was joined on the red carpet at the Sydney Opera House by co-stars including Heroes actor Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine – the flick's captain James T Kirk - and fellow Aussie, Lord Of The Rings star Karl Urban.

To play evil baddie Nero in the sci-fi film, Eric – who tries to limit his workload to one film a year in order to spend time with his children Klaus, ten, and eight-year-old Sophia, had his face dramatically altered with prosthetic features, including a bald head and facial tattoos.

"Being completely unrecognisable was a huge draw card," said the 40-year-old star, who revealed the makeup team used "quite a lot of prosthetics, from the tip of the nose up and over the eyes" and also that "the eyebrows are fake and the ears are fake".

The film, the 11th in the Star Trek series, opens in the UK on May 8. Also starring Winona Ryder and British funnyman Simon Pegg, it tells the tale of the early days of Captain Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.

Photo: Rex
The Melbourne-born star joined fellow Aussie, actress Rebecca Gleeson, for the screening of the new sci-fi film in Sydney
Photo: Rex
Eric, who plays the movie's baddie, met up with the crew of the Starship Enterprise, including Heroes' Zachary Quinto (far left) – who portrays Dr Spock - Chris Pine (third left) – aka Captain James T Kirk and Karl Urban – the man behind Dr Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (in blue)