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Bana shed the weight he had gained for Chopper and began an exercise regimen months before filming began.
He also trained with Delta Force operators at Fort Bragg, learning to fire weapons and clear rooms.
Only after learning of director Ang Lee's involvement in the project did he consider the role.
Hulk (2003) received mixed reviews and a moderate success at the box office, but Bana's performance was praised: Jack Matthews of the New York Daily News felt that Bana played the role of Bruce Banner "with great conviction".
During his four years on the show, Bana wrote much of his own material, and based some of his characters on members of his family.
His impressions of Columbo, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Tom Cruise made Bana popular with the show's audience.
He was featured in a supporting role as Con Petropoulous, a kickboxing accountant who is the householder's son-in-law.
After a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Bana gained Hollywood's attention for his performance in the war film Black Hawk Down (2001) and the title character in the Ang Lee's Marvel Comics film Hulk (2003). Kristensen in the war film Lone Survivor and in the following year he played police sergeant Ralph Sarchie in the horror film Deliver Us from Evil.
He has since played Hector in the movie Troy (2004), the lead in Steven Spielberg's historical drama and political thriller Munich (2005), Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and the villain Nero in the science-fiction film Star Trek (2009). An accomplished dramatic actor and comedian, he received Australia's highest film and television awards for his performances in Chopper, Full Frontal and Romulus, My Father.
Bana also played Henry De Tamble in The Time Traveler's Wife (2009). His father, Ivan, was Croatian and worked as a logistics manager for Caterpillar, Inc., and his German mother, Eleanor, was a hairdresser, originally from near Mannheim in Germany. In a cover story for The Mail on Sunday, he told author Antonella Gambotto-Burke that his family had suffered from racist taunts, and that it had distressed him. Showing acting skill early in life, Bana began doing impressions of family members at the age of six or seven, first mimicking his grandfather's walk, voice and mannerisms.
Scott, with a recommendation from Russell Crowe and impressed by Bana's performance in Chopper, did not require him to audition.
In the film, he played Sergeant First Class Norm 'Hoot' Hooten, an elite Delta Force soldier, who fights his way out of a battle in Mogadishu, Somalia after a mission to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord goes awry.