I recently got the chance to talk to Branko Tomovic about his role in ‘Entity’. Here, Branko talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Branko. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Entity’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
A small English TV crew sets out for a remote Siberian forest, where thirty-four unidentified bodies were found in shallow graves and despite subsequent police investigations, no official explanation was ever offered by the Russian authorities for these deaths. The “Darkest Secrets” TV programme revisits the sites of unsolved crimes and they employ the gifts of a psychic whose extraordinary powers may shed new light on this old mystery.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Yuri Levkov, he joins the British TV crew alongside psychic Ruth Peacock and brings them to the Siberian forest to try to solve the mystery that surrounds those unidentified bodies. But I’d say he has his own reasons for doing that. It’s a very ambiguous and twisted character!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
A few years back I did a dark thriller short called ‘Into the Woods’ which was produced by the same producer – Rob Speranza. Rob recommended me to Steve Stone, our director. I really loved the script when I first read it, even though that was a complete different version from what it is now, my character even was completely different, it was this 50+ year old British professor of paranormal studies. Steve saw me in the British series ‘Whitechapel’ which is about a modern Jack the Ripper copycat murder and where I play this creepy morgue man, so for some reason he thought I’d be right for ‘Entity’ and rewrote that part.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
There have been already a lot of comparisons to recent horror films, which are just speculations cause they haven’t seen ‘Entity’ yet. It is not one of those found footage films, it is really something else. I would call it a really good ghost thriller, very scary but also moving. The film has a soul and it’s a must-see for every genre-fan!
The film stars Dervia Kirwan, Charlotte Riley, your good self, Rupert Hill, Oliver Jackson and Michael David Worden – with Steve Stone onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I remember it was an extremely cold and freezing shoot in dusty and really dirty locations, even those four layers of long underwear didn’t always help. But I think we were a great team and had a brilliant crew and cast who all shared the same enthusiasm so it was still a great pleasure. You just have to get along if you spend almost a month together in such harsh conditions. I absolutely loved working with Steve as a director, I couldn’t believe that this was only his first feature film. He always knew exactly what he was doing and had the entire picture already in his head – completely edited with sound design. He is very inventive, ambitious and dedicated and I trusted him with his decisions.
It was a fun shoot as well. Without giving too much away, there is one scene where Yuri sees something and he is so overwhelmed by his emotions that he has to start to cry. So when we did it and I went for the crying my eyes stayed dry but instead snot kept running out of my nose like crazy. Steve said though I have very cinematic snot, so I am happy.
Let’s talk a bit about you Branko. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I remember seeing David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ as a child and was absolutely amazed by it. I was stunned by the actors’ performances and Lynch’s vision, and ever since I knew that I wanted to work in film. It was some sort of powerful and overwhelming feeling cause I had never seen anything like that before. I know that I was way to young to be seeing such a movie back then but Lynch’s description of Kyle MacLachlan “The boy next door, if that boy spent lots of time alone in the basement” also perfectly applied to me and maybe that’s why I am still more drawn to darker and gritty material.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
An actor’s career is so unpredictable, you really have to want it. Good material and meaty parts are very rare, even for well established actors. Keep working on yourself to make sure when opportunity comes knocking that you are ready. Try to choose your parts wisely and remember what Montgomery Clift said “As long as you do good work, they can’t get at you!”. My favourite teacher at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Pennie DuPont passed that quote on to me.
You’ve had a number of roles in various different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
Years ago I had a tiny part in ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ opposite Matt Damon. We were shooting at Pinewood Studios in London and also in East Berlin which they transformed into Moscow with fake snow, Russian cars and everything else. All that remained of me became the opening scene of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ with Matt as Jason Bourne and me as the Russian Policeman in the pharmacy what we shot in London. Matt is such a nice guy, very approachable and down to earth. I think everyone who knows him or has met him has nothing but good things to say about him. He really shows you that you don’t have to be an asshole or have a massive annoying ego to succeed and reach such a level. He was truly a great colleague and also important, a brilliant actor. Between takes, he would go from chatting nicely with you to having that haunted Jason Bourne look in his eyes on camera in only one second. And I think it always helps your own performance if you have such a strong actor opposite you, it really raises the bar.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
A couple of film soundtracks – Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, Stigmata – with stuff from Nine Inch Nails, Billy Corgan, Remy Zero on them. And my favourite band ever is Muse, I can’t wait for their new album!
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Paul Thomas Anderson – three of my favourite directors. They are so unique and their films are so strong, powerful, beautiful and just breathtaking.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
Whenever I am free I am usually to be found in the pool. I used to play waterpolo but I can’t commit to a team now for scheduling reasons. I love being under water and I am addicted to swimming my laps now.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I just finished reading a script for a very dark psycho thriller. It’s twisted, scary and gritty with unhinged characters about a kidnapping gone horribly wrong. I really want this and if all goes well filming would start this fall. You probably won’t see me in something like ‘Pretty Woman’ anytime soon!
Thanks for the interview!