Serbian actress to play Nikola Tesla’s mother in TESLA, the most talked-about film in the Balkans. Mirjana Karanović will star alongside acclaimed Serb actor Branko Tomović as the great scientist and engineer Nikola Tesla. @TeslaTheMovie
Celebrated Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović (Grbavica/Esma’s Secret) has joined the cast of TESLA (@TeslaTheMovie), the Nikola Tesla biopic that is scheduled to shoot in Serbia and the United States, in the autumn. She will play Djuka, the hardworking Serbian mother who had a big influence on the inventive instincts of the young Nikola.
“It is quite a small role in the film, but Djuka played a very significant role in the life of Nikola Tesla,’ said Mirjana. “She helped to define who he was. It really is an honour for me to play this hardworking woman who brought up such a strong and interesting family.”
TESLA: A Wonderful Script
From the moment Mirjana read American director Michael Anton’s script for the film, she knew this was the role of Georgina-Djuka Mandić (Tesla) was one that she must play. “When I was approached about this role, I was very moved by the wonderful script, by the way each character is portrayed with such integrity,’ she said.
“Michael has produced a film that is a tribute to Nikola Tesla. We are telling his story as it happened, without the silly stories that Tesla can attract. Michael has maintained the authenticity. This film should finally make the world aware of the great man and all that he did for us in our lives today.”
Mirjana enjoys an illustrious career as an actress, having starred in Emir Kusturica’s Oscar-nominated movie When Father was Away on Business (1985), and being especially lauded for her much talked-about role in Grbavica/Esma’s Secret from Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić. Among its many awards, the film won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. Since then, she has carved out a name for herself as an actress unafraid to tackle tough roles that can sometimes attract interest beyond the cinema.
Director Michael Anton always had Mirjana in mind for the role. “I believe the value of Mirjana Karanović to this film goes beyond the scope of her body of work,’ he said. “She is one of Serbia’s most celebrated actresses. To say that her addition is a blessing to this production would be an understatement.
Inventive Spirit & Unwavering Commitment to TESLA
“With that said, her brilliance as an actress is not the only reason why she has been cast as the mother of the greatest mind the world has ever seen. Djuka was known for her intense resolve, her inventive spirit, and her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. It was those values that helped guide her son throughout his life, even after her death. Mirjana is absolutely fearless in her approach to acting, a trait I also noticed in Branko. That appealed to me because this is a trait shared by the Tesla family.”
“There was absolutely nothing or no one for that matter who could stop Tesla from doing or saying what he felt was right. This is a characteristic that I greatly admire in both Mirjana and Branko and for that I could not think of a better pairing for mother Tesla and her son Nikola.”
Mirjana will film her scenes during October/November 2013, in Serbia, alongside London-based Serb actor Branko Tomović in the lead role. Michael is currently in discussion with Balkan actresses to play Nikola’s sisters. “Tesla’s family should garner the same characteristics of the people from that region at that time,’ he said. “They were Serbs living in what is now Croatia; I want the audience to feel the authenticity of those circumstances.”
We Hold TESLA Close to Our Serbian Heart
Mirjana applauded Michael’s decision to shoot some scenes in the Serbian language. “It is a really great thing that we are going to shoot these scenes in Serbian, not in English,’ said Mirjana. “This is very special and respectful to us. I think this shows how we hold Nikola Tesla very close to our Serbian heart.
“Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest names in Serbian history and we all think about Tesla as one of our own. Everybody is so proud that Tesla was a member of our nation. For him, it wasn’t important what recognition he would get in the future. He cared only about the things he invented. He didn’t care about what people thought about him personally. I strongly believe that Nikola Tesla was so special.
“I hope that this film receives the support that it deserves from Serbia and the whole of the Balkans. Nikola Tesla was from these lands, and this script is written with respect and integrity. Michael’s script faithfully represents Tesla as a truly great man of the world. This is a film that we should all get behind.”
“The more I discover about this brilliant man and his unacknowledged achievements, the more driven I become to tell his story in a way that is authentic, avoiding trivial speculation and notions of conspiracy,’ he said. “For me, Tesla’s story is far more intriguing than the mystery.
“As we continue to engage Serbian investors to acquire the additional funds to make this a great film, it is additions like Mirjana that make us one step closer to achieving our goal. With that said, we work hard to make sure that every decision involving this film continues to enhance the momentum, not only among the Balkan people but across the globe.”