Hollywood heavyweight joins fight to tear up shark nets
HOLLYWOOD heavyweight Eric Bana has lent his voice - literally - to the controversial campaign to rip up shark nets in Queensland and NSW.
The homegrown Aussie star of films including Chopper, Hulk, Troy and Black Hawk Down and the recent hit television series Dirty John, has signed on to narrate a new Queensland-made documentary aimed at getting the nets removed to save sharks and other marine creatures including whales, dolphins and turtles.
Revelations of his role in the project follow a spate of fatal shark attacks in recent months, including those that claimed the lives of Gold Coast surfer Rob Pedretti at Kingscliff and spear fisherman Matthew Tratt off Fraser Island.
But the two young Ipswich filmmakers behind the documentary, Envoy: Shark Cull, Andre Borell and Reese Lowe, see Bana's involvement as a major coup in their bid to promote shark conservation and get the film picked up by a major streaming service like Netflix.
Borell and Lowe have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the "horrifying" film to highlight what they say are cruel and dangerous flaws in the Queensland and NSW shark control programs and encourage less harmful alternatives.
The documentary, which stars shark crusaders Ocean Ramsey and Madison Stewart, contends that the nets and baited drum lines actually lure deadly sharks closer to the coastline, endangering human lives, while also trapping 'countless' whales, dolphins, turtles and dugongs.
Borell said they were looking for a distinctive Aussie voice to narrate the film and approached Bana, unaware he was also sympathetic to their cause.
"To secure an actor of his calibre is just a huge coup for the film and what we're trying to achieve in terms of raising awareness about these shark control programs and how archaic and outdated they are," he said.
Bana, who ironically starred as a hammerhead shark in the 2003 hit Finding Nemo, told the Sunday Mail he was happy to help "give voice to an important issue".
"It seems unimaginable to me that a system would be put in place to punish an animal for roaming in its natural habitat," he said.
Borell said he hoped the film, due for release in the coming months, would show that sharks were "not just mindless killers swimming around the ocean".
Originally published as Hollywood heavyweight joins fight to tear up shark nets