Underbelly: articles

Bana rejects Underbelly role

Eric Bana has rejected an offer to appear in the second series of the hit TV gangland crime drama Underbelly.

The A-list Australian actor, who is a fan of the TV show, has been approached by the Nine Network for the upcoming prequel but is unavailable, his manager said today.

Bana is currently filming for the comedy Funny People with Adam Sandler, while Underbelly 2 is due to start shooting in Sydney next month.

"Eric was grateful to be approached but is focusing on various film commitments," his manager Lauren Bergman said today.

Earlier in the year, the Chopper actor said he was disappointed he hadn't been approached for the first series.

While casting for the much anticipated show has not been finalised, a number of well-known actors had been approached, a Nine Network spokeswoman said.

Nine is keeping secret many of the details but the spokeswoman said the cast and content would be vastly different from the first hit series. It centred on Victoria's infamous underworld wars, which raged from 1995 to 2004, leaving 27 people dead.

The prequel will be set in the '70s and '80s and based mainly in Sydney, in King's Cross, and partly in Melbourne.

"It's going to be a whole new set of characters based on real life people," the spokeswoman said.

She also confirmed that actors from the first series like Les Hill, who played Jason Moran, Callan Mulvey, who starred as Mark Moran, and Damian Walshe-Howling, who played Andrew 'Benji' Veniamin, would not be in the production.

"Due to the era, those characters would've been teenagers, hence why the actors can't play them," the spokeswoman said.

The network could not confirm rumours that the show will focus on the background of Vince Colosimo's character Alphonse Gangitano - known as the Black Prince Of Lygon Street.

Nine chief executive David Gyngell previously said he expected the show to air from February next year.

September 12, 2008