Please explain what just happened.

Robert DeNiro plays a film producer who is struggling to get his movie released. The film is a satirical take on behind the scenes Hollywood, showcasing the kinds of egos, neuroses and personal problems one is likely to encounter when attempting a career in show business. It opened in 2008 to mostly lukewarm reviews.


What is your earliest memory?

It’s possibly a false memory, but I can remember being in hospital for pneumonia when I was one year old. I have a clear image of being visited by my sisters and seeing them come through an automatic door.


If you weren’t an explorer of ancient ruins, what other profession would you choose?



Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

Junkfood. Coupla cans of coke. No eggs. Staypuft marshmallows. Mesopotamian temple. One Hellhound.


What verb best describes you?

Is ‘Ben’ a verb? Can you Ben someone?


What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

If you ever have kids, and one of them accidentally sets fire to the living room rug, go easy on him.


What are the steps you take to regain your composure?

I ply it with gifts.


Define “success”.

the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.


From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

In my work there are a lot of movies that inspire me. Most of them are at least twenty years old. I like a lot of old fashioned classic storytelling.



What change do you want to be in the world?

Well, I would like to make lots of good films and stuff. Does that count? I’m also quite interested in medical research. If I can raise awareness about the potential for things like regenerative medicine to cure age related diseases and ill health, and the need for funding for that kind of work, then I would like to do so. I consider that to be important.


Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.

I’m for them. Skype has some good ones. Like the one that’s a bear. I like that one. They have obscure ones that you can rarely use like coffee cups and a ringing cell phone that looks like it’s from about 1991.


How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

I worked on The Pacific with Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks worked on Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.


What makes you feel most guilty?

The time I killed that guy.


Please list three things you never leave home without.

That’s fascinating that you would ask. My keys, wallet and phone.



What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

‘You should consider a career as a tradesman.’


What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

You know that ‘dance as if no one’s watching’ thing you see on greeting cards? That was me.


What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

Triple agents. No standards.


Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

I was a contestant on Deal or No Deal once. I didn’t win anything. I’d really like to spin The Wheel.



What do you want to know?

Where it’s at.


What would you like your last words to be?



Please explain what will happen.

It’s the sequel.

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BEN ESLER is an actor, screenwriter, producer and director from Melbourne, Australia. He can currently be seen on HBO's World War II action-drama The Pacific, the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Band of Brothers, in the role of United States Marine, Chuck Tatum – a job which saw him become close personal friends with a 50-pound machine gun.

No stranger to working on stage or on screen and with years of show business experience under his belt, Ben’s original work was in Australian television and stage, with roles in the long-running Australian police drama Blue Heelers and the story of Australia’s war-time Prime Minister, Curtin. During his time in Australia he also worked as one of the co-creators of the ghoulish short feature Gravediggers, a tale of greed that went beyond the grave in the vein of classic films such as The Goonies and Stand by Me.

Like many of his compatriots in the industry, Ben divides his time between Melbourne and Los Angeles. During his travels and in addition to acting, he is a producer and senior writer on Haven’s End, an in-development TV series being produced by Omnilab Media (Oliver Stone's W, the upcoming Tomorrow When the War Began) and intends to commence production on his first feature film, a neo-noir collegian murder mystery, this year. He will co-direct.

3 responses to “21 Questions with Ben Esler”

  1. Simon Smithson says:


    Who told you to be a tradesman?

    Also: welcome to TNB!

  2. Ben, it’s lovely to have you here. I’m so envious that you’re an explorer of ancient ruins, that’s my dream job.

    Welcome aboard!

  3. […] useless actors than I am, Mr. Ritchie, the director and year 12 drama coach, gives both parts to my friend Ben, who is already a lead. Ben’s performance of three characters is rightly received as magnificent, […]

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