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Bana In The Garage

Eric Bana is planning to bring Mike Hailwood back from the dead.

The Hollywood star reveals his new movie project to Greg Rust in the latest episode of his podcast, Rusty’s Garage, in an episode which goes flat-out to mark a major milestone.

It’s the 50th time since 2018 that Rust has settled down with his microphone for an interview that’s always more like a chat and a catch-up with an old friend.

Rust says he never dreamed of interviewing someone like Bana, even though the Melbournian is a well-known car nut who has raced Porsches and made a film about his personal Ford Falcon, The Beast.

It’s an odd confession for someone who has been in and around Australian motorsport for decades, often as a talking head or pitlane reporter on television with Supercars.

But the real Rust is reflected in his move to the countryside in New Zealand with his family, although his flying visits to Australia for everything from TCR reporting to motorsport awards shows have been curtailed during the days of COVID-19.

Rusty had to chat remotely with Bana, as the movie man is locked down in Melbourne, but it is a small hurdle for a project that took more than a year to pull together.

“I’d interviewed him once or twice before, just briefly, for TV, but it honestly blew me away,” says Rust.

“He’s so grounded and a proper enthusiast. We’re fortunate to mark this milestone episode with a guest of his calibre, for me he ticks all the boxes – car lover, motorbike rider and racer.”

All of that is reflected in the chat, as Bana talks cars and Hollywood.

The Beast, his XB Falcon Coupe, gets plenty of discussion as Bana goes through its history, restoration, the love story he made on film, and how it was nearly destroyed by a crash in Targa Tasmania.

Bana has been around for longer than some people know, starting in the TV comedy show Full Frontal and including his early role as Con Petropoulous in The Castle back in 1997 Aussie movie. He admits he thought the script for the classic Aussie film was a “piss take” when he first read it.

Anyone who has seen the film will know that it is quintessentially Aussie, and familiar to the Bana family, with the need to move the Camira, to get the Torana out, to get to the Commodore.

There has been plenty of quality stuff for Bana since then, and a string of Hollywood blockbusters, but he is just as comfortable talking about cars including his Ford F100 truck.

Rust also gets him talking about his Hailwood project.

The man known as Mike the Bike, which is also the title for the movie, was a larger-than-life figure on two wheels as he won world titles and starred at the Isle of Man. He also raced in Formula One but was only 40 when he died in a road crash in 1981 while driving to collect a fish-and-chips dinner.

Bana is hugely enthusiastic about the project, which he will write, co-direct and star in.

But passion is no surprise to Rust, who hears it every time he goes for a podcast.

He was even able to get Casey Stoner, a notoriously private person despite his world championship success in MotoGP, to open up.

Anyone can listen to the Rusty’s Garage podcast for free, by downloading the PodcastOne Australia app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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