Movies

Eric Bana’s bond with Deborra-Lee Furness sparks her return to acting in The Dry 2

"It's great to be back!"
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Red carpets are certainly no new thing to Deborra-Lee Furness. She’s hit up some of the most world famous ones too, from the prestigious Oscars in Los Angeles to the super exclusive Met Gala in New York. 

But it was apparent as the actress walked the black carpet on January 23 for the Sydney premiere of Force of Nature: The Dry 2 – her first major on-screen role in almost a decade – that this meant something special to her.

WATCH: Jane Harper talks about The Dry

She beamed from ear to ear, laughed, cracked jokes, waved to fans and chatted with media, looking in no rush to see the moment end. 

“Look at the backdrop, look at the weather. I’m home in Australia seeing family and friends and sharing creativity in our community,” she shared with WHO. “It’s a Beautiful experience. It was great to come back to work.”

Getting Furness, 68, back into acting – which has taken somewhat of a back seat in recent decades as she raised her kids and devoted herself to advocating for changes to global adoption laws – was crucial for the producers of the film. After Eric Bana, who reprises his role as Aaron Falk from the original film, Furness was one of the first to be cast. For her, it was an easy decision to sign on.

“I loved it because it was a strong female ensemble,” she says of what drew her to the project. “And then I went, ‘Great Robert Connolly is directing, Eric Bana is an old friend, and it’s brutally Australian.’”

Eric Bana and Deborra-Lee Furness in Force of Nature: The Dry 2
Bana returns as Aaron Falk with Furness starring alongside him (Credit: Roadshow)

After a long hiatus from the screen, it seems certain we’ll be seeing plenty more of Furness, whose prowess as an actress first came to the fore in 1988 with her starring role in Shame.

She’s revealed that she’s working on a project with fellow Aussie actress Rebecca Rigg, which she wants to direct and act in. Like Furness, Rigg’s long-term marriage also recently ended, with her and husband of 29 years Simon Baker splitting in 2021.

As for Bana, 55, there’s a good chance that we’ll seem him back as Falk one more time, with the film based on a trilogy of books written by Jane Harper. Bana tells WHO that the rarity of playing the same role across several films was something he relished.

“To make a second film with the same character, the closest you get to that is a TV mini series, so we tried to make the most of it in terms of the script development and character development and so forth,” he explains.

“It was amazing to already know that character before you started filming.” While Bana says he’s not wedded to only working in Australia, and continues to shoot films overseas, there’s no hiding his delight about a local project like The Dry.

Eric Bana and Deborra-Lee Furness as the premiere of Force of Nature: The Dry 2 at Sydney Harbour
Bana and Furness were arm-in-arm on the black carpet movie premiere (Credit: Getty)

“I just want to do the best work that I can and my theory is that I should only do Australian films that I think are going to be absolutely fantastic,” he tells WHO.

“I don’t have a two-for-one or three-for- one idea in my head, I never have. I live here so it’s absolutely amazing to work here too – it feels like a cheat, though, especially when I’m shooting in Victoria! I don’t have a set idea in that regard, I just to do the best work that I can and if it happens to be Australian that’s a huge bonus.”

Furness is one of five women lost in the bush in a still from Force of Nature: The Dry 2and co-stars in a still from the
Furness was thrilled to work with a strong ensemble of female co-stars (Credit: Roadshow)

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 opens in cinemas on Thursday, Feb. 8.

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