Bana: Nero Is Really The Misunderstood Tragic Hero Of Star Trek

We got a few minutes alone with Star Trek's Romulan bad boy, Eric Bana, and looked deep into the psyche of Nero. Bana explained how he got so revved up, he passed out on set.

Let's talk about your character, Nero. He has such a tragic back story. Did you ever feel like a tragic hero?

That's a good question. Tragic hero? I guess to a degree. I never really saw him as a villain, even though he sort of performs that function for the drama of the story. To me, yeah, he was Nero, leader of the Romulans who has been wronged and is seeking revenge, and that's kind of how I see him so I think. Yeah, I like your description.

The writers wrote a whole comic prequel about your character, did you read it?

No, no I didn't, actually. I was so engrossed in the script and had a bunch of ideas for the character, and I was very careful. I learned about some of that stuff, but I didn't want to cloud what I had going on in my own head, but I'm looking forward to reading it now.

So how did you come up with your ideas for the character? Where did you go?

Essentially, I think if a script's well-written, it sparks your imagination, and you almost like start directing the film in your head, with ideas. And for me it was a lot of his back story and the fact that he's been in prison for so long, and was so patient in enacting his revenge, which makes it a lot about the character. So it was essentially, you know, I guess... you join the dots and try to come up with something that's interesting and entertaining. You know, it's a character we haven't seen before.

I'm curious about your movements in character. You're very aggressive and strong, did you come up with any of those reactions and jumps yourself or was it all planned out?

Some of them were a bit spur of the moment. It was a pretty intense character. I passed out, I think, once during one of the takes, I got so carried away. Lost about twenty seconds, down on the floor, and got up, and the camera was still rolling and it was like, "I guess I just continue now." Um yeah. It was pretty crazy.

I can't believe you passed out on set! How did you stay that cranked up on set?

You get used to it. The reality of it is you just ebb and flow. There are times during the day when you're really really peaking, and then you just come down the other side. It's like having an espresso, you know - you just gotta allow for that and just try and jazz yourself up when that camera's rolling, but it is exhausting.

Bana: Nero Is Really The Misunderstood Tragic Hero Of Star Trek

Time traveling should be very familiar to you now. You time-travel in Star Trek and you time travel in The Time Traveler's Wife. How is that time-traveling different from what we see in Star Trek?

Well it was very, very different. The Time Traveler's Wife,... it's very, very emotional context, all the time. I mean, they're going back to visit your wife as she's growing up. It's such a beautiful story, and yeah, yeah, it's a lot less about revenge and destruction.

Does the travel have any special FX in Time Traveler that are similar to Star Trek with the back holes?

No. I wouldn't really describe it as science fiction-y at all, it's a love story with some time-traveling elements.

And are we gonna see more science fiction from you after this?

I don't know. I'm sort of not such a huge science fiction guy. It just sort of happened that way. I got involved in this, you know essentially, because I thought the script was incredible and [I'm] just a huge fan of J.J., and was dying to work with him. And so it was out of a longing to get into science fiction, but yeah, I'm interested in it. It's fascinating.

See Nero in action this Thursday night when Star Trek is released in theaters.