Interview » Intervju | 21 Since his debut performance as the character of Vukovac in the film Ortaci [Partners; 1988], Dragan Jovanović (55) has inscribed one of the richest acting biographies on the domestic scene over his three and a half decades of experience to date. And his amiability often leads the public to call him one of their favourite actors, and a charmer with an eternally young spirit. He has also expressed himself creatively through numerous musical hits, as the lead vocalist of the groupsThe Kuguars and Džiberi, which he formed together with his colleagues, and he's planning a third sequel to this story, with a new line-up. Shooting for the second season of the series Swindlers, in which you play the character of Sofroni Ignjatović, was completed in March. How did that character succeed in bringing you back to the TV scene? "I liked the unique story of the Swindlers and that epoch from the beginning of the 20th century in Serbia. It reminded me of a Branislav Nušić manuscript, and it also has a little black humour. I found it interesting to sprout into the mentality of those characters, that way of life. From the initial idea to shooting on the ground, changes, traps and problems occur. We also managed to overcome them as a team during the shooting of the second season of the series." What are you planning on the work front? "Together with director VasilijeNikitović, I've written two filmscripts andwe competed indomestic funding contests, so one of those projects was supported with a certain amount of funding. I will put my signature to that project as a screenwriter, producer and director, provided the plan succeeds. I've never had a shortage of ideas, and it would be a success if I realised ten per cent of them. Ideas are the most important element for an artist. And the will, which I'msometimes lacking, can be worked on." Despite Serbia's cinematic and television series hyper-productivity of recent years, you still aren't among those divisions or appearing in theatres? "I wouldn't like to do anything in those productions, I've already done a lot. A spinal injury I sustained a few years ago, due to a slipped disc, still prevents me fromperforming in the theatre, as the formof acting I love the most and in which I feel at my best. I still have daily therapy for the back pain and I'm disciplined." Would you choose acting again? "That's a higher power, notmuch can be done about changing the choice.My secondoptionwouldbe sports, but my sporting career isn't an unfulfilled dream. I played football, table tennis, tennis, and I made it to pool, which I play in my weekend log cabin on Zlatibor mountain. I like to play on my own, because then I always win." Do you have regrets about not forging an acting career abroad? "I've never had that, because I would have been limited in the choice of roles due to my native language. I certainly couldn't, for example, play an Englishman, and I wasn't interested in portraying dangerous guys on the wrong side of the law." You are equally as talented in music as you are in acting. Do you have new wishes and plans for music? "Džiberi [music group] had their last concert on Zemun's Gardoš scene in 2012, and as I live in the neighbourhood, I performed there in pyjamas and slippers. New songs have accumulated, and if I'm healthy I believe I'll be a musician again. We'll also have a third name for the third variation of the group." What kind of music do you prefer to listen to? "On a cassette player, I alternately select between 2,000 cassettes with different genres. I usually listen to classics, as well as rock and blues from the days of my youth. In beautiful nature, with its sounds, it's a shame to listen to music, which is why I enjoy it the mostduring theevening." You're often at your weekend cottage on Zlatibor? "My wife, Branka Pujić, an actress and full professor of acting at the FDA [Faculty of Dramatic Arts], usually keeps me company at our weekend cottage. Over recent years I've been there whenever I don't have work obligations, and in 2020 I was there most of the time during the pandemic. To me that's a more humane variant of life, I've really adapted to life in nature." Where did you first see your wife on stage and how much does performing life impact on the family? "I first saw Branka in the hallway of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts when we were students, and then I saw her acting. Acting has certainly brought happiness to our lives. Thanks, acting! We rarely and briefly talk about work in our everyday life, it's a tacitly taboo topic. I commend my wife and daughter when I see them in some role; the two of them now work more than I do. We've worked together before, and now, in Swindlers, we had a lot of shared scenes that we reached agreement on." A spinal injury I sustained a few years ago, due to a slipped disc, still prevents me from performing in the theatre, as the form of acting I love the most