CLOSE-UP Culture’s James Prestridge chatted with rising Serbian actor Milena Radulovic ahead of Raindance Film Festival’s screening of Milorad Milinkovic’s Front Page Midgets (4 and 5 October).
Q: I imagine working on a comedy like ‘Front Page Midgets’ was fun experience. Was that the case?
A: ABSOLUTELY. This is my first feature film and we began shooting as soon as I graduated. It gave me the chance to immediately get experience working in film, which was of great importance for the two projects that came along right after Front Page Midgets.
All of the people I worked with on this film are witty, just like the director, which made my days on-set quite interesting and amazingly easy.
Q: Do you have any fun stories from the shoot that you can share with us?
A: I would not be able to single out one funny story, but the most brilliant part of this shoot was that I caught ourselves perpetually laughing, sometimes so much that we had to stop the shoot until we all calmed down.
Q: What can you tell us about your character Zaklina and how she fits into the story?
A: ZAKLINA is a girl you can find in every Serbian school. She lacks an opinion and interests of her own, and allows others to choose her destiny. She is on the wrong path and has a completely deranged system of values.
Even though she knows what her mother is making her do [to be famous] is undoubtedly wrong, she remains indifferent. In addition, Zaklina’s mother is very ‘ambitious’ – she can be labelled as a ‘gold-digger’ and her only aim is for Zaklina to become a local reality star.
Q: What are your views on reality TV culture?
A: I understand reality shows are a global phenomenon with higher viewership than most films and TV shows. But, personally, this form of entertainment frustrates me, as it only signifies the regression of the human race.
Q: This is an impressive cast led by Gordan Kicic. What was it like working with this cast? What did you learn?
A: SOME of the actors I had a pleasure to work with were my role models when I was a child, so it was a huge honour to perform with them. My belief is that one can always learn from another human being, and thus every shooting day is a new learning experience for a young actress like me.
As for Gordan Kicic, his incredible timing, organisational skills and inspiring energy taught me, or rather, showed me the ‘model’ of an actor I want to look up to. This is how an actor should start his working day, not only occasionally, but every single day.
Q: What was director Milorad Milinkovic like to work with?
A: MILORAD Milinkovic directed one of my all time favorite domestic films Frozen Stiff – a movie I have seen over 30 times. Once I officially got the role for Front Page Midgets, I was truly happy and excited. He is an extremely smart and intelligent man, a real-life encyclopaedia and one can learn a lot from him.
As for his ‘director’ side, he is always in the good mood, quite calm, steady and immensely funny. Due to this, there was never space for ‘drama’ on set – only positive energy.
Q: What directed you towards acting?
A: EVER since I was 12, I was a member of an acting school for kids. Funny enough, until I decided to study acting, I always thought I would be a theatre director.
Q: I believe you are starring in the lead role of a feature titled ‘Balkan Line’ in the future. What can you tell us about this project?
A: THE film will premiere in 2019 and I am in the lead female role. Balkan Line is a Russian blockbuster, a war film whose plot revolves around the war in Serbia in 1999 but, to be more exact, the bombing of Serbia.
Nevertheless, I can freely say that this my greatest accomplishment and the biggest project I have ever worked on. I am very proud to be a part of this film.
Q: What are your hopes for the future as a performer? What kind of roles interest you?
A: ALTHOUGH my initial aim and wish was to work in theatre, I now have a feeling that my ‘real’ path is film. I’m fluent in Russian and I hope that, one-day, my career will continue in that beautiful country.
As for the roles I would like to play, I am a huge devotee of classic works. Naturally, I would be really happy to get a chance to play any role found in the classic literature, whether it was Serbian or Russian piece of work. Additionally, I would love to play a part in a psychological thriller, bearing in mind that this is my favourite genre.
Q: ‘Front Page Midgets’ will screen at Raindance. Do you have a message for the UK audience?
A: WAKE up. Develop your interests and invest in yourself. Live your life and try to stay away from reality shows. If you feel like watching something, you can always find amazing films, TV and theatre shows.