Eric Bana’s performing resume dates again to 1993 and features a little little bit of every part: comedy (Australian TV’s “Full Frontal”), historic romance (“The Different Boleyn Lady”), horror (“Ship Us from Evil”), political thrillers (“Munich,” “Blackhawk Down”), a superhero (“Hulk”) and even a sci-fi villain (Nero in 2009’s “Star Trek”).
Nevertheless it’s his position as smooth-talking psycho John Meehan that takes front-and-center on “Soiled John,” the eight-episode drama premiering Sunday night time at 10 on Bravo.
“It’s undoubtedly double-edged,” says the Australian-born Bana, 50. “There’s a variety of problem in attempting to current somebody [who’s] so terrible in such a method that folks don’t wish to flip their TV off midway via the primary episode. On the opposite facet, there’s the liberty that comes from taking part in a personality who’s not holding the ethical compass of the story.”
That will be an understatement.
“Soiled John,” based mostly on investigative journalist Christopher Goffard’s 2017 podcast, stars Bana because the good-looking Meehan, who meets high-end inside designer Debra Newell (Connie Britton) on a courting app. He tells Debra he’s a divorced physician who served in Iraq; Debra, married 4 instances earlier than, is initially cautious of John’s patter, however succumbs to his appeal. Briefly succession, they’re secretly married (in a Las Vegas chapel) and transfer into an expensive, too-expensive waterfront condominium on Balboa Island (John’s “dream dwelling”) — funded by Debra.
It appears too good to be true, and it’s: Debra’s two grown daughters and her nephew — Terra (Julia Garner), Veronica (Juno Temple) and Toby (Kevin Zegers) — aren’t shopping for John’s smarm and begin to query his motives. Finally, his sordid previous involves mild (a protracted historical past of stalking, dying threats, a number of identities, scams, extortion) whereas Debra tries frantically to finish her nightmare.
“I believe it’s very onerous for some folks to disassociate themselves from different folks and detach,” says Bana, who took the position after listening to the “Soiled John” podcast. “On a extremely minuscule stage everyone knows individuals who have held onto friendships that aren’t wholesome for them. On a extremely primary stage, there’s a motive folks have held onto these poisonous relationships that perhaps aren’t even abusive: it’s as a result of they simply discover it too awkward to extricate themselves. And while you amplify that as much as a 10, the place there’s a excessive stage of intimacy and keenness, it may be, I believe, 10 instances more durable.”
Bana says that what actually attracted him to “Soiled John” was John himself — however not in the best way you may suppose.
“John was probably not prevalent in the podcast. He’s alluded to, referred to, however he’s the shark in ‘Jaws,’ he says. “I felt I had the liberty to give you a model of that kind of persona. I wasn’t in a facsimile of him. I didn’t really discover him fascinating — I discovered his conduct fascinating and that was what I focused on.
“I believe it’s straightforward for us to view and decide Debra from our personal perspective, however we’re not inside her perspective,” he says. “Guys (like John) doing this form of harm are actually, actually good at what they do — they know find out how to wound folks in such a method that these persons are hooked up to them. That focus and a spotlight they lavish on their victims could be very calculating and manipulative and extremely efficient.
“Hopefully, in all seriousness, [‘Dirty John’] does open folks’s minds to the potential for this sort of abuse and makes them extra conscious or extra snug to succeed in out for assist.”