Interview » Intervju | 67 I NT E RV I EW BR ANK A K AT I Ć, ACT R ESS Leisurely rhythmto a better tomorrow After two decades, she’s returned to us in the theatre as Baroness Sophie in the play Twilight of the Gods. She’s here because of her desire for the theatre in her native language, but also because she can’t live for too long without her Belgrade THEADAPTATIONOFLUCH INOVISCONTI’SFAMOUSFILM THE Damned, about the rise and fall of the Essenbecks, a family of wealthy industrialists, directed by Jagoš Marković for the stage of the Belgrade Drama eatre, did much more than ensure that theatre lovers would enjoy the Twilight of the Gods; it also brought Branka Katić back to our theatre, aftermore than two decades, in the role of Baroness Sophie. And it was time for that to happen. Serbia had yearned for its favourite actress, who is loved by all but a rare few. Her biography is inscribedwith excellent roles infilms and series for domestic,English, FrenchandAmerican productions. Between two acting engagements, she oftenhappily travels by plane and strolls through Londonparks andbeside Belgrade’s rivers. And she finds it impossible to resist plum dumplings. “Before I accepted the role I consideredallmycircumstances, andonly after that did I think aboutwhether thepandemic is still ongoing. Ihad themost dilemmas aboutwhether I wouldmanage tocoordinatearriving fromLondon, where I live, with the repertoireof the theatre inBelgrade. What prevailedwas that I longed for the stage, as well as the chance to jump into such a well-directed play with great actors.” Whathas thecharacterof the unscrupulousSophiebroughtyou in an acting sense? - Sophie isdifferent fromall that I am. She isunscrupulous, decadent, ready to do anything, a real dangerous woman. I had my first rehearsals in July, and immediately felt the dark side of her being, as if her evil was spreading through my energy field like cuttlefish ink. How does it feel to perform on a theatre stage in your hometown after two decades? - Everything’s easier when you act inyourmother tongue. e offer for the Belgrade theatre scenewas a great challenge for me, because I’ve only performed in the theatre twice in the last two decades. I participated in the festival of youngwriters at theRoyal Court eatreway back in 1999, andfive years ago I played the goddess Athena in the play Orestes at Shakespeare’s Globe eatre. After years of filmand television roles, this was the right moment to embody another theatre role, because - like most artists - I constantly test what I can do better. What roles await you and are there some that you desire? - I will perform in the series Advokado byNikola Pejaković. I’mstill impatiently awaiting the premiere of the film e Roads Not Taken, with actor Javier Bardem, directed by Sally Potter, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as the premieres of the films It’s Not BadtoBeHuman, directedbyDuško Kovačević, and e King’s Man, directedbyMatthewVaughn. eroles I desirewouldbemost similar to the roleofDijana,whoIhadtheopportunity toplay in the excellent Croatian televisionseries ePaper,whichyou can watch on Netflix. You’ve lived in Los Angeles, while you’ve been in London for more than 20 years. Has Belgrade remained your city? - Belgrade is the city I wish for first, which is why I come often. I feel most at home here. As soon as they opened the borders after the first wave of the pandemic, I was on a plane... I also love our cuisine and there are restaurants where waiters have long known me, I can’t resist plum dumplings regardless of the stage of my diet I’m at. I adore our rivers, the Danube and the Sava. I recently went on a full day’s cruise on the Danube to the archaeological site in Vinča, a fun time that I recommend warmly to everyone. Socialising with people dear to me in my hometown makes me happy. Tell us about London... - We live in North London, in Islington. My favourite destination there is the promenade beside the river canal, filledwith boats and ducks. I also really love the beautiful parks of Londonandmy favourite is HampsteadHeath, packedwith the lush canopies of old trees, hillocks, small lakeswhere you can even take a dip; it’swonderful forwalking. e cultural offer in London is fantastic, before the pandemic I would go to some good exhibition or concert everyweek, and, in the spirit of Serbian hospitality, our house is often full of friends. My husband teases me when he says ‘Get one Serb, get three for free’. What have you learnt from this pandemic? - In 2020 I’ve thought more about thetruevaluesof life. I stopped and listened tomy soul. I believe this slower rhythmwill bringusall awareness. atwe’ll stopbeinga consumer societythat’sdestroyingtheplanet and thinking only about profit and personal needs. I read about a survey inLondonwheremanyof the respondents said that they don’twant to return to the old rhythm of life, in which they spent most of their time atwork, and too little timewith their family. Volimputovanja jer, posmatrajući ljude u najrazličitijim gradovima, osetim koliko smo zapravo svi slični I love travelling because when observing people in different cities I feel how similar we all actually are