Even as his international career flourished, Eric Bana had a rule about going to Los Angeles.
No matter how many meetings were on offer, no matter how many people he had to see, no trip could last more than seven days.
Not because he doesn't like America or Americans. But because he simply couldn't live in a city "full of movie people".
Watch: Eric Bana stars in one of the most anticipated movies of the year, The Dry.
Bana is a Hollywood star with none of the affectation, a rare kind of film actor who chooses roles based on character rather than his billing on the poster.
It just so happens that the parts eagerly hurled across his desk over the past two decades are for blockbusters, soaring epics and award-winning adaptations.
Even in 2020, a year in which studios have been battling against public health restrictions and the increasing dominance of streaming services, Bana looks set to cut through with a star turn in The Dry, the hugely anticipated film version of Jane Harper's best-selling Australian novel.
Bana plays the lead, Aaron Falk, an AFP agent lured back to his outback town by a decades-old mystery - the death of a local teenage girl. It's due in cinemas on January 1, but early reviews are already praising Bana's performance; his latest in his diverse and wonderfully odd career.
"There was definitely an adjustment period."
Comedy was Eric Banadinović's fallback career in the early 1990s. Another trade to bolster his income.
The Melbourne man had been drifting through odd jobs — labourer, courier, bartender — and after filling in for a standup one night at Melbourne's Castle Hotel to relative success, he kept on gigging.
Having seen a lot of comics over the years, he decided he could be "at least as good as the bad ones".
"I didn't have stars in my eyes. I'm an introvert so that whole world is the opposite of where I thought I'd end up. I mean, I enjoyed it when I did it and I still miss it sometimes," he told The Feed in 2016.
"I miss the purity of writing something, being on stage and performing it, and that's it... It's a big change when you go from doing standup comedy to walking on a set and speaking everyone else's words and sometimes not even the way you want to say them. There was definitely an adjustment period there."