Interview » Intervju | 37 Sloboda Mićalović is often described as a woman who was born for the stage. In the theatre she first performed in Koštana, and on TV she soared to the skies in the series Wounded Eagle. She’ll never forget the phone call that she first thought was a joke, when she heard the voice of director and screenwriter Emir Kusturica with a proposal that she perform in his film On the Milky Road. She could hardly wait for 2021, so that she could again - after a several-month break due to the pandemic - embark on a new theatrical adventurewithher colleagues in the playTheOffing at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre. What does The Offing bring? “The main roles, under the direction of Egon Savin, were assigned toNenad Jezdić and tome. I portray the character of anunfaithfulwifewhocannot leave her husband due to (small) town norms. It is a very touching story. Nušić [playwright BranislavNušić] is known for being well acquainted with the mentality of our people, but this is a drama and not a comedy. The way Nušić penetrates the psyche and psychology of male-female relationships, as well as relationships within immediate and extended families, is fascinating.” In 2020 you shot the series Secrets of the Grape Vine, which was wonderfully received by the public immediately... “I’m glad that the audience likes it. In the absence of a good script, director Marko Manojlović set out to do that job and I can state freely that it was thanks to him that we realised the series.” This year we’re expecting the premiere of the film Once Upon a Time in Serbia, which is a story about the former Leskovac textile industry dubbed the Serbian Manchester. How did you find yourself in that film saga? “That film is very important to me, because it revives and shows my native Leskovac in the most beautiful light, and that’s really how it was. I play Ružica. The small community spread a story that she’s cursed and that’s why she never married; that whenever some man was with her something terrible would happen to him. She lives with hermother and has no friends. Only themain protagonist, Cone, has a desire to get her out of that darkness, and then a new chapter for her begins in every sense.” How do you today recall your collaboration with Monica Bellucci? “It was a great experience and an honour for me to collaborate withMonica Bellucci in director Emir Kusturica’s film On The Milky Road. And to discover first hand from Monica what it’s like to work with Robert De Niro and Mel Gibson. That film and the entire creative process are among the highlights of my career to date.” Have you ever been attracted to a career abroad? “Language is important inourworkand that barrier’s difficult to break down and overcome. I’ve so far shot two films abroad. We’ll see, I’m open for collaboration. And I will very happily accept if a role in a good film or series arises.” What was the decisive factor in you staying here? “Things have gone well for me here so far. I don’t believe in the story that one should leave andwait. Perhaps that’s alrightwhenyou’re very young and free. My situation is different today. I have children, a family and a theatre.” [Sloboda’s husband is actor Vojin Ćetković.They have twin daughters, Vera and Mila]. Has your relationship towards acting changed over time; and what will never change? “I’m more sure of myself now. I also allowed myself to make mistakes, which I consider a success. And I hope that I’ll never lose the strength and will to shift my own boundaries despite the circumstances.” How do you most like to fill your time during flights, with Air Serbia among others? “I miss travelling. I travel a lot, both for work and privately, and preferably by plane. On flights I read and listen to music, but I also watch films when heading to more distant destinations.” It's important for you to have something to watch, for something to reinforce your soul I have a need to thank all colleagues who've worked under these 'covid' conditions. We were all under protective masks, and we only take them off when shooting starts. It is necessary to say: Well done, actors, because the pandemic has shown us how important it is that we have a high-quality programme on television when we're staying at home Nikada neću zaboraviti poziv Emira Kusturice i predlog da zaigram u Mlečnomputu I'll never forget Emir Kusturica's invitation and proposal that I perform in On the Milky Road S LOBODA M I ĆA LOV I Ć, ACT R ESS I NT ERV I EW