I recently got the opportunity to talk to Miraj Grbic about his role as a Captain in real life drama ‘As If I’m Not There’. Here, Miraj talks about how he got involved in the project and about his upcoming role in the new ‘Mission Impossible’ movie…
Hey Miraj. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘As If I Am Not There’ is in selected UK cinemas right now.
What’s the general premise around the film? I understand it’s based on a number of true stories?
Unfortunately it is based on a number of true stories. It’s set in the time of war, when Bosnia and Herzegovina cruelty reached its peak. I think that it is good that these stories are told, because they testify how cruel people can be and how war is always stupid and ugly.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I met Mrs Juanita Wilson while she was interviewing actors for the movie. We talked about the movie, then she watched my showreel and called me after a few days, and said to me: “You are the face of war!” before giving me the role. Even today I don’t know if that was a compliment or not, but I’m convinced that we did a good job.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
My character is the Captain of the concentration camp in which the civilians were brought during the war. He is the worst kind of war criminal. He divides the men from the women and children, and kills them, and he does it like it’s just another day on the job.
Did you have to do a lot of background research before you took on the role?
Unfortunately I didn’t, because I have myself heard about such stories. I was born in Sarajevo, and I spent my teenage years in the city under siege, so I have witnessed and seen a great number of cruel situations. I collected the pieces of those monsters, and made my own monster.
What was it like working with the cast and crew on set? Given the fact it’s based on true stories, did everyone feel a lot of pressure trying to get it right?
The cast and crew were great, it was great to work with Juanita, she knew exactly what she wanted. The pressure is always a bit higher when it is a true story and when we want to be on the side of the good guys. My character was on the opposite side and I had to justify him to myself in order to play that role.
Let’s talk a bit about you Miraj. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I didn’t know that I wanted to be an actor. I loved music, played the guitar, I was also active in sports and Taekwondo. After high school I entered an exam at the Academy of Performing Arts and I passed. I have loved acting ever since.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
It’s hard to think of such advice because every actor is individual and has an individual path. But the key is certainly to believe in yourself.
We’ve got to talk about this – you’re in the new ‘Mission Impossible’ movie, out in December 2011. What can you tell us about the movie‘s plotline? What can you tell us about your character?
I can’t talk about the details of the movie . I can just say that I’m very proud to be part of that project. It opened some new horizons for me and I got the opportunity to work with a great team and meet incredible people.
What was it like working with Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and the crew on-set?
Tom is a marvelous actor. He is a hard worker and a great person at the same time. We had a lot of laughs with Simon Pegg on set. All in all, I was and am honored to be the part of the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise.
What does a Miraj Grbic day usually consist of?
It depends if I’m working or not. If it’s a working day I’m usually in the National Theatre in Sarajevo or on a set in a different part of the world. If I’m not working, I try to spend as much time with my wife, who is also an actress.
What else is coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’re currently filming ‘Body Complete’…
I’m currently finishing the movie ‘Body Complete’, and afterwards I’m going to a beautiful town on the Croatian coast in Istria, where my wife is from, on a well deserved vacation. I have plans for new projects but at the moment I’m planing to be lazy on the beach.
Thanks for the interview!