In the international thriller “Closed Circuit,” a mysterious explosion in a busy London market results in a police swoop. A suspect is detained, and the United Kingdom prepares for one of the most high-profile trials in British history. Two exceptional lawyers — Martin Rose and Claudia Simmons-Howe (played by Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall) — with a romantic history step into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, and when evidence points to a possible British Secret Service cover up, it’s not just their reputations, but their lives that are at stake. Here is what Bana said during a roundtable interview with me and other journalists at the “Closed Circuit” press junket in New York City.
Did the timing of increased surveillance in our society attract you to “Closed Circuit”?
Definitely not. Selfishly, I read the script on the plane actually, and I was riveted the whole time. I just thought it was so well-written. And I was intrigued, excited, scared. It just read like a great thriller. And I loved the characters. And I thought Martin was really interesting. I thought he would be a fun smartass to play. He’s actually more of a smartass in the film, prior to it being cut. The timely nature had nothing to do with it for me. It just read really, really, really well. And then I met with John [Crowley, the director of “Closed Circuit”], and I fell in love with him. And I thought he’d make a really interesting film.
Can you talk about your perspective of Martin Rose, in terms of how he may have changed from the beginning of his law career to where we see him in the context of the “Closed Circuit” story?
Tim Owen [an attorney consultant on “Closed Circuit”], who is a great friend of Tim Bevan of Working Title, which is how this movie was made. Tim Owen, I think, wrote the original treatment for it. And [Owen] does a lot of human-rights law in the U.K.
He’s very interesting, very intelligent. He’s represented a really diverse range of people. He’s a really interesting guy.
I didn’t really talk to him about his early years or in what ways his ideals have changed or anything like that, but obviously, the character of Martin is I don’t think pushing back as much as Rebecca [Hall’s] character [Claudia]. I think Claudia is holding on to the original ideals that are a lot closer to her heart. In fact, I think Martin is quite prepared to do a couple of deals along the way to keep her safe, which I guess is fair enough.
Is there anyone in your family who influenced your performance as Martin Rose, since you have family members who are attorneys?
Not my side [of my family], but my wife. I married into a legal family. So I’m somewhat anxious but looking forward to my father-in-law seeing the movie, because he was our chief justice of our High Court. He constantly jokes when I go off to do a film, “Is there a role for perhaps a conservative, intelligent former judge in your movie?”
This was the first time I got to say, “Well, actually, there may well be.” So it was fun to jump into his world. And obviously our [Australian] legal system mirrors the British one. It’s a lot closer to the British one than the American one. So a lot of that I was familiar with, and it was fun to jump in the world of advocacy.
For more info: “Closed Circuit” website