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Rade Serbedzija

Success comes after the rain

Jim Milanese (JM): How did you get the part in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes wide shut?

Rade Serbedzija (RS): Like many actors in the world who wanted to be in a Stanley Kubrick movie, I auditioned for the part. He liked the audition and gave me the part. After that we met on the set for the first time, then we started to shoot the scenes. Actually there were three scenes in the film, but one scene was cut from the film. So we were shooting three scenes over a period of two months and it was really a wonderful experience, I had a really great time. I felt that I wasn’t on a film set as such, it was like some kind of laboratory of Stanley Kubrick. It was really strange! When you are working with such a great and wonderful man, somehow there is never enough words to explain and describe that experience. In very simple words I could say “I will never forget this or it was the best thing in my career”… that’s true, but it not enough to explain that experience. Stanley Kubrick was so special!

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JM: What transformed you from a theatre actor and writer into a professional actor?

RS: Yes, I’m an actor and I would say that’s my strongest talent! I just like to think about art, if you have a special relationship with art, you can try to do something different, not only acting. I was a theatre director who directed twelve performances and I also worked in the theatre too. I have published three books of poetry in Croatian language and I’m also a musician too… a singer and we are actually performing live tomorrow. My son is playing guitar and he is also a film director too. I have one son and four daughters. One of my daughters has a little part in Orgnani film.

JM: According to my opinion one part, an actor is born to play is Alex: Malcom McDowell in “clockwork orange”. Does evil and good come in the same package in your performance?

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteRS: You know there are always evil parts in Stanley Kubrick’s films… remember the evil in The shining. Maybe the Tom Cruise character in Eyes wide shut is evil. Who knows! I love this film and many people have said to me that this is the most important film that they have ever seen. But some people have also said to me “it’s not a good film, we are very surprised that Stanley Kubrick made such a bad film”. You know, I thought to myself, my God, none of those things are true, this is one of Kubrick’s films and he was so big, such a great director that he had rights on his rings! You can’t compare “eyes wide shut” to another film, it was one of his dreams! It really depends whether you like it or not. But in true essence I think it’s a question of how people recognize themselves in this film. So I think many people were afraid of this of what they have seen!

JM: To quote Stanley Kubrick… “In movies you don’t try to photograph the reality, but you try to photograph the photograph of reality”… do you think that in the Ilaria Alpi, il più crudele dei giorni movie, the real affect leading to her death has been side tracked or left apart?

RS: Its hard to compare this film with a Stanley Kubrick film… any film is hard to compare with a Stanley Kubrick film! The young director Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani has directed a very nice and brave film. It’s a story about two young journalists who died because they wanted to follow their mission, their thoughts and why they chose this profession. We have to be proud of such people like Ilaria Alpi and Miran Hrovatin, who died for truth. Of course its always difficult to show this in a film, their story was certainly much stronger! But I think Ferdinando chose a good way to do this, when he was shooting the film , I felt that he was making a hard documentary film. Americans would have made a completely different film of the same subject, they would invent something very interesting etc. I love the way Ferdinando made this film, he wanted to be honest and simple and because of this I felt that we were shooting a hard documentary film. So now I’m waiting to see whether I was right about this!

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JM: Regarding the director’s cut, you played the part of “Jiri” in Prague Duet film, a good man who fell in love with an American lady whose father was responsible for the death during the Nazi times. You seem to be acting without standing intensity and that impressed me very much. Did you have any kind of involvement in that movie of that part?

RS: I love this story. Roger Simon wrote the script and directed the film. I remember when he called me, I was in Prague shooting The saints and he told me how much he loved my performance in Before the rain, he went on to say that he was writing a script for me. I received the script and I was really surprised and impressed, It was a really good script and I loved it! I recognized myself in such a kind of film because of all of my history, all my life in my country and the horrible war which happened in the former Yugoslavia. all my destiny is somehow similar to some stories like Prague Duet and some war situations about refugees, about a terrible world, about nationalism which we are seeing right now and we are witnessing the new war in Iraq right now and watching those poor people dying and its better to stop me right now or I will continue to say something really against America!

JM: In a previous interview you said that they were certain similarities between the role of Miran Hrovatin and the role you perform in “Before the rain”. Can you elaborate on this point?

RS: Yes, because both of these people Aleksander in Before the rain and Miran Hrovatin were brave people within the war environment. Alexander was wounded somewhere in Slovenia and in the end he was killed by his relatives in Macedonia. Yes, they do have some similarities, principally because it’s a story about bravery, two tough and very brave guys… Aleksander and Miran Hrovatin.

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JM: In your spare time you are a writer and you also write books of poetry. Which role in more than the fifty films that you have been in represent your poetic side?

RS: Actually, I have been in more than one hundred films and I have played many different characters! when I was younger, I mostly played heroes in my country, on the TV or in film. But I’m so proud that I was working with one of the most wonderful Yugoslavian film directors Zivojin Pavlovic. I did five films with him and I felt as though I was his soldier and he was my general! At that time in Yugoslavia, during socialism we actually had freedom and I loved my country, but sometimes we had this socialism, this communism and they didn’t like democratic movements, too much liberty and criticism in our films. Zivojin Pavlovic was one of those guys who was very brave and very clever, he would talk about all the bad things in socialism. So he was one of the most important directors in “black wave” Yugoslavian films.


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