Novak Djoković Lines Up To Play A Serbian Hero In His Cinema Debut

19. October, 2011 Culture 5 comments

Serbian tennis ace Novak Djoković could be splashed on the big screen playing national hero Nikola Tesla, if he wins the role he covets in the sequel to his country’s biggest movie smash, Montevideo, Bog Te Video. During an interview in Belgrade, director Dragan Bjelogrlic revealed to W!LD RooSTeR that Nole recently called him to ask for a role in the forthcoming film.

“We have the strong idea for Novak Djoković to play Nikola Tesla in this film, because they look very similar,’ said Dragan. “He is a big fan of the first part. He called me and said, ‘look, I would like to act in the second part’. I said, of course, you could play Tesla. We are negotiating right now but it is difficult to find free time because he is now at the top. I am not sure if it will be possible but we are all trying to make it happen. Everything is difficult.”

If Djoković is successful in securing the plum role as the father of electricity, he would join the original cast as the second film picks up where the first hit film left off, as the young team of footballers leave Belgrade for the first World Cup Final in Uruguay. 

When Dragan put together the cast for such a mythical tale of young heroism, he realised that a special troupe of actors would be required. His inspired solution was to form the football team from some of Serbia’s young guns, many of who would be making their film debut with Montevideo. “The key decision was when I decided to use young actors, almost all without experience,’ said Dragan. “These were fresh faces with fresh energy. I saw that when I did the casting for the first time. When I felt something so new, I knew that energy could be the key. Of course it was a risk but I made the best decision I could make. And it payed off.”

At 23, Miloš Biković, who plays Aleksandar ‘Tirke’ Tirnanić,the hero from Cubura, is the youngest of the footballing cast and graduated the day before we met. “We are at different stages of our careers so there is a lot of exchange of experience,’ he said. “Some were in theatre already, whereas I just graduated, which was quite strange. From the end of the second year we have permission to work and I did Montevideo in my third year of study. I have been given a lot of help from the director and my colleagues to allow me to carry it out.

“I am honoured to have this opportunity. I don’t think other projects like this will be made soon. I hope they are but I am not so optimistic about that. They don’t come along every day. This production has some kind of positive energy about it, which keeps us together.”

That energy was clear to see on set. Rather than lounging around in the downtime or go off to in small groups or even alone, the cast was larking around and having a kick-about in the rail yard. “It is like a real football team, or a class in school,’ said Miloš. “Tenerife was like being on vacation and now we are back together. It was our excursion with our teacher, our director, but it is good to be back. We have our system of working together, our rhythm, and we know each other much better now, so it is easier. We are a complex team, not separated into groups or formations. It’s fun.”

Established Serbian actor Nikola Djuricko (Zivković) agreed that the team atmosphere on set is infectious. “One of the nicest things about being part of this project is that Dragan took so many young actors,’ he said. “He found a whole new generation of actors and actresses. They were there but he brought them together and revealed them. Now they are always together. That was a big thing to do but it has worked so well. As one of the more established actors, I am very excited to be part of this project and to be working with these younger actors. They are at the right age to do a job like this. They still have that energy and are not tired, which is very important for such a long job. They had six months rehearsing just the football, no filming. They were together every day: eating, sleeping and playing football together. That is what created the energy of the team, so what you see on screen is authentic.”

For the director, it has been good to see this become a tale for a new generation. “When I was a kid I knew something about the story, but most people knew about it only generally,’ said Dragan. “Now, because of the film, it is becoming like a fairy tale for the new generation growing up.”

Nikola remembers it the same way.“When I was a child, everybody knew the names of the players and how they were in the first world cup,’ he said. “But I never thought about the very different time it was. There was a romantic aura around that time and football was very different then. It was in the beginning of football. Now the players are multi millionaires and it is a job, a professional sport. In those days they were working in a factory or a school and then they would go to play football. It was nice and football was for everyone, for gentlemen and for commoners.”

While that preparation was key to the feel of the film, Miloš remembers those weeks of football training with mixed memories. “It is a unique opportunity in Serbia to have this kind of preparation, when we all lived together and had soccer training and games,’ he said. “But I sucked at soccer! I needed to have individual training with my coach, on his own initiative, because he saw what kind of soccer retard I was. But he wasn’t even paid for it. It was his goodwill. I think he felt that his career was on the line – or he didn’t want his name alongside mine the way I was playing. But it came good. We had even professionals see the movie and they said the soccer was really good. If my career in acting doesn’t work out, maybe I should go to play for that team!”

Football fanatic Viktor Savić (Milutin ‘Milutinac’ Ivković) did not have such problems. “I met the director some years before and he knew that I can play football and wouldn’t need so much training,’ he said. Viktor could also found it interesting to learn that these were part-time players. “In that time, football wasn’t a profession,’ he said. “My character was a doctor and playing football was a part time thing. Everybody played football because they really wanted to do it. They played with true love, not like it is now. I am a big fan of Red StarYugoslavia in the movie became Red Starlater, so it is quite something for me to be doing this film. I always watch Red Star games from the North End, and I go everywhere that they play. You need to experience that. Next time you are in Belgrade, I will take you to a Red Star game, in the North End with me!” I might very well take you up on that offer, Viktor! 

In recent years, Viktor has been fortunate to count two of Serbia’s most important and widely discussed films among his works: Šišanje and Montevideo. “Of course, there has to be a degree of luck in it but I had to work hard to get here, too,’ he said. “We were making Šišanje for four years, because nobody wanted to give us money. When we got money from producers, we were shooting for ten days with the money we had, then we had half a year waiting around to get more money before we could shoot a bit more. It went on like that.”

While Montevideo has been well received, Šišanje was critically praised but was not so universally appreciated by some Serbs who saw it as provocative, as Viktor experienced for himself when he accompanied director Stevan Filipović to a special screening at London’s Houses of Parliament. “There were some very annoying questions from Serbs in the audience and it became quite loud,’ he said. “Half of Serbia thinks this is not a Serbian movie, that we are traitors and not supporting Serbia, and the other half thinks it is a movie that the Government has paid for. To them, it is considered propaganda. I was bored with it all. The diaspora is like that everywhere we go. We are kidding in Serbia that we got rid of all bad people: to the UK, to America, to Switzerland and the whole of Europe.”

Success in two top films can be a double-edged sword, though, as Viktor explained: “Having success does not mean it is easier to get work. In normal places it would be, but in Serbia it is not like that. I heard that I lost chances for three movies because nobody wants to call because I am shooting Montevideo. In Serbia, people think I will be too big for them now, I will want too much money, and that could be difficult for me. But it is a problem I can live with. I am a little bit older than most of the young actors playing footballers in this movie, not just in age but in experience and work.

That said, Viktor is not planning to take his career abroad just yet. “I would need to work hard on my English first,’ he said. “In Serbia, we watch movies with subtitles and listen to English our whole lives, on cartoons, music etc. That is why everyone can chat in English. But to work in England or America I would have to learn my English very good and would need to go to more castings. If somebody calls me, I will make a presentation, no problem. But it is a lot of work and I don’t want to go for so many castings. Plus it is quite good here for me at the moment, so I am staying in Serbia.”

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  1. Anonymous

    10 / 20 / 2011 12:52 am

    I think that this guy is a retard and full of himself. Serbs from Serbia are often less Serbian than Serbs from anywhere else. This guy would rather be a Yugoslav, Montenegrin or other fake national designation, just so that he could call himself something other than Serbian.

    Srpstvo ili Smrt!


  2. Anonymous

    10 / 20 / 2011 10:20 pm

    I don’t think he’d be able to watch Zvezda games from the Sever if that was the case…


  3. 10 / 21 / 2011 9:39 pm

    Hahahaha anonymous, good joke. Those Serbs from outside of Serbia usually can’t even speak Serbian properly, which is the minimum. They are “heroic” only in words, while working for western corporations and living safely in their western countries… far, FAR away from Serbia and her problems. Where were they when the bombs were falling? You retard.


  4. Anonymous

    10 / 23 / 2011 3:42 am

    But there are a slew of movies lately, like Šišanje, that are depicting Serbia and Serbs as extremely violent, which is not the case at all. Many visitors coming to Serbia (those who haven’t been totally deterred by the propaganda) are quite fearful because of all the lies and propaganda are surprised to find not one skinhead and how they feel safe walking the streets at night – and these are people who come to stay for weeks, months and even a year or two.
    So what is it with these directors and their pushing of ultra-violent movies and making sure to associate them with Serbs or Serbia – like “A Serbian Film”?
    Something weird is going on here and these directors are coy about where exactly their funding comes from.


  5. Anonymous

    10 / 26 / 2011 2:15 am

    Brice Taton, Nacionalni Stroj, hooligans rioting… want more examples? Retard.





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