“I have lived in America for 30 years, but every time I return to Serbia, it is a special joy. I have two houses and when I come here, I feel like I never left Belgrade. I carry that culture with me when I return to America , but also here I bring something from there, which I may not even be aware of,” said actress Mirjana Joković, who returned to Serbia after a long time to film a new series.
Joković tells Nova.rs that, working here again, she felt the spirit of her Belgrade that knows.
“We all live under certain burdens and life brings certain burdens to everyone. However, now I have again seen that flair, people and humor that only we have,” the actress explains.
We remember her as Dina in “The Forgotten”, Adriana in “The Hornet” or Ethel in “Granica”, for which she was awarded the “Golden Arena” in Pula, as well as numerous other roles that she masterfully and authentically played during the nineties in these areas. Then she went to America, where she still teaches at the University of California.
On several occasions, she returned to Serbia, attracted by projects that, as she says, had “that something” – special. One of them was the film “Alive and Healthy”, written and directed by Ivan Marinović, which premiered a few days ago at the festival in “Tallinn”, as well as the series “The Call”, in which Joković plays one of the main roles.
“I’m picky when it comes to new projects, because I live a different life in America and it’s hard for me to decide to leave everything and come.” Therefore, it should be something that sounds interesting to me, that is important for the moment we live in and that has a certain kind of taste, design and style. I loved the story on first reading, as well as the fact that there are many female characters who are complicated, complex and carry a serious stamp. Already on Monday, I will resume teaching, since I am the head of the department at the University of California, where I lead the program. Still, it’s very challenging to do a series here, I wanted to push it to the end properly. This is how I normally do everything in life, very studiously and responsibly, because I care about the mark I leave,” says Mirjana Joković.
In “The Call”, a contemporary thriller of eight episodes, she portrays the role of Anica Reljić, a former police inspector who now works in a call center. She receives a call from Sonja Tošić (Nada Šargin), a rich single mother, who wants to know the identity of the person who is threatening her on the phone. Investigating the threatening calls, she realizes they are connected to a criminal group from her past. Anica tries to warn Sonya about this, but she mysteriously disappears, prompting Anica and Tiana, Sonya’s rebellious daughter, to go in search of her. They soon discover that she may be the key to uncovering the truth behind an environmental scandal rocking the country: the mysterious poisoning of three boys…
“I’m glad that attention is finally being paid to actresses and female characters.” Women carry a lot in every sense, in life, culture, nation, business, knowledge. There is no world without women! It is very nice that awareness is being created about it now. Unfortunately, interesting roles are not always written for women. They are mostly tolerant. That’s why I love that in this series we have strong, complicated female roles, who are not perfect, but push their story forward. They don’t apologize to anyone,” she said.
While working on the role, she met a policewoman who helped her create the character of Anice.
“During conversations with her, I realized to what extent these are strong characters who live a double life.” These are women who risk their lives every day and who are in a network with serious criminals, and on the other hand, they have children that they put to bed and tell them bedtime stories. It’s a schizophrenic and complicated life, because no one ever knows the whole truth about you. “You live in the shadow of your birth job,” he says.
When asked if she also feels like she lives like that, Joković replies that this is what acting inevitably brings with it.
“There is that public life that often has nothing to do with your personal life, and it cannot be avoided because you are the image of your business.” It is all a schizophrenic relationship that must be balanced in order to find peace. Many times it depends on the level of power, who decides when, where and how. Sometimes it’s much more difficult for women, because they don’t have a protector and they don’t always have an equal right to tell their story. In that sense, women have somehow gotten used to such a situation,” admits Mirjana Joković.