INTERVJU INTERVI EW 26 | Intervju » Interview L A Z AR R I STOVSK I , ACTOR , D I R ECTOR , PRODUCE R I'll run at full throttle for as long as I endure. And afterwardswe'll see… His life story is almost Hollywoodesque. At the start he had curiosity and passion for the stage - but only in the rich imagination of a poor child from the flat village, Ravno Selo, near the town of Vrbas. And then talent, tenacity and self-confidencemarked his acting exploits fromYugoslavia to Hollywood. Today he’s one of Serbia’s doyens of acting Together with his family, he extended his professional opus to encompass bothproduction anddirection. He’s acted in80films, performed in over 4,000 theatre plays, produced 20 films and received numerous awards both at home and abroad. And in the first 68 years of his life, he’s been enjoying the fruits of his labour. And when he‘s not working, he‘s working diligently on writing. He relaxes on sailing boats as much as he does aboard planes, just as long as he’s travelling. What’s included in your work plan for 2021? “We postponed shooting of the second season of the comedy series „Dream Team“ until the end of the year. is fun series was obviously needed by viewers. ere has been a flood of TV series covering dark topics, which had more of an objective of approaching the standards of Netflix at all costs, rather than speaking in an original style and addressing topics that concern Serbia. We are planning another project. AHollywood producer gave a screenplay to my son Petar, a director, and we will shoot it in October. Petar received that film thanks to the direction of his own filmKing Petar e First, which that producer watched. Our family, as the owner of production company Zillion film, will be his co-production team in Serbia. Our plans also include the series e Negotiator, which we will produce together with Telekom Srbija. is is an exciting story about a team of Serbian police officers who conduct negotiations under crisis situations with kidnappers, potential suicides etc. So, I’m working more than ever and I’ve been officially retired for three years already. I also plan to make it onto a sailing boat this summer.” Does acting represent the same challenge to you today as it did in the beginning? “Of course not. Acting to me now is almost like the last hole in the flute. I’ve long since surpassed and survived all that is interesting about acting. And passion, and enthusiasm, and friendship, and creativity and red carpets in Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, San Sebastian, Moscow... Fame. I now find productionmore interesting. I’m glad that I’m able to organise projects that around a hundred families of film workers and actors will be able to live from for months.” What have you learnt as a producer and director? “ ose are two completely different professions. It’s truly difficult to find money for a series, and even more so for a film. My sense of satisfaction is even greater when I succeed in doing so and secure everyone with a job and money to live on. As a director, I can viewmyself in two ways. I directed the films White Suit and White Lions. White Suit was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. at can be considered a great success that only a few directors from this region have managed to achieve. I know that many people in the industry envy me for that, some even hate me. Fortunately, after everything I‘ve done to date, I‘m no longer interested in the opinions of other people. I thus spared myself from both pride and hatred. I have risen above that and view the world with joy.” Is it tougher or easier to work with actors when you’re also a director? “Actors are pliable. ey give themselves easily. eir souls aredelicate, hypersensitive, which iswhy it’s easy tohandle them. A director is an actor‘s mirror, and when looking in that mirror every actor wants to like both himself and the mirror. As someone who is an actor and, to a lesser extent, a director, the ability to read the feelings of actors certainly helped me to communicate with themmore easily.” Who were your acting idols when you were a child? “I didn‘t have idols. I created them myself in my imagination. eywere alwaysme, in some other role.Me as a saviour of humanity, a prophet of the future, a goal scorer, Lazarus rising from the dead. at also entertained and delightedme in acting until recently. Homo Ludens ruledmy being until not long ago.” Which role or collaboration do you still desire? “I used to want to act alongside De Niro. I don’t know if I still desire that.” If Hollywood invited you back again, what would you always say ‘YES’ to? “I’ve acted in several Hollywood projects already: alongside the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, in Casino Royale and with Pierce Brosnan in e November Man. I also appeared in the film Along e Roadside, which was shot in Hollywood by