by Marcus V Agar
Serbian actress Marija Karan will embody the feelings of the many women who fell for the charms of celebrated Serb scientist Nikola Tesla, when she joins the cast of the biopic, TESLA.
The well-loved actress who has been made a star through a string of film and TV roles in her native Serbia, as well as in Hollywood films such as The Rite, is thrilled to join the cast of award winners.
“I am eager to start shooting on this film about our most prominent scientist,’ said Marija, who will shoot in Serbia, alongside Branko Tomović as Nikola Tesla, and with dialogue in Serbian.
“Michael Anton has written a script that is authentic and honest. I like that he felt a need to understand the importance of Tesla’s origin as an immigrant in the US who, despite all problems, remained true to himself and persistent. This is not a typical American film.”
Character Created out of Tesla’s Great Conflict
In the film TESLA (@TeslaTheMovie), produced by Silvermask Films, Marija will play Braka, an amalgam character based on various real women. “In my research of Tesla I found a great conflict when it came to the idea of marriage, or even relationships for that matter,’ said director Michael Anton.
“He viewed them as a grand distraction providing an inventor with barriers that would inhibit him from reaching his highest potential. With that said, his good looks and fame made him susceptible to the interest of many potential female suitors, although it appeared he never changed his resolve on the matter.”
While the character of Braka is fictional, she is based on fact, as Michael explained: “Braka is one of only a few non-historical figures I included in this film as she encompasses a lifetime of women rejected by Tesla due to his unwavering commitment to science.
“I included her at a time in Nikola’s life in which I felt he was most vulnerable: the two weeks he spent in Gospić after his mother’s death. The relationship is circumstantial and not pursued by either Braka or Tesla. As it surfaces it is abruptly halted in a way that mirrors the very nature of Tesla.”
TESLA: The Genius No One Understood
It was the quality and integrity of the script that attracted Marija to the film, as she explained: “Michael tries to tell the truth in a subjective and personal manner. His focus is on the significance of Tesla’s achievements for modern life, his will and potential to inspire and encourage people to persist in their efforts and perhaps, make their own contribution to the future generations.”
A key aim of the film, which is scheduled to shoot in Serbia and the United States, in the October/November, is to broaden the appreciation of Tesla’s work outside of his Balkan homelands, which appeals to Marija. “Nikola Tesla was often called a ‘genius no one understood‘. That is why I am looking forward to participating in this film, which will help viewers learn a lot more about Nikola Tesla and his work. I hope that my role will bring Tesla’s commitment to and great sacrifice for the love for science closer to viewers.”
As Marija’s career has taken off on the domestic as well as international markets, her star has continued to rise, both professionally and personally. After making her debut in the film Kad porastem biću Kengur (When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo), Belgrade-born Marija, aged 31, has gone on to appear in regional films such as the Serbian thriller Četvrti čovek (The Fourth Man), Sedam i Po and Sevdah for Karim.
Marija Karan: An International Icon of the Balkans
In 2011, Marija’s Hollywood career kicked off, as she appeared alongside Jean-Claude van Damme in American actioner Assassination Games, and then with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Rutger Hauer in modern horror, The Rite.
Marija also appeared in British drama Taxi Man with Branko Tomović, the London-based Serb who will play Tesla in the movie. “I am sure that Branko is an excellent choice for the main role,’ she said. “His talent and career so far confirm it.”
For writer and director Michael Anton, Marija was an ideal choice was casting the role. “Marija Karan has an incredibly striking screen presence, one that I feel leans more to her quality as an actress than her beauty,’ he said.
“Her performance in The Rite was brief but powerful and I believe that, in all her roles, she consistently finds ways to capture the attention of the audience with more than just her looks. Marija and Branko have wonderful on-screen chemistry, as shown in Taxi Man, and I am sure that will resonate into our film as well.”
In TESLA, Marija will join fellow Serbian actresses Mirjana Karanović (When Father was Away on Business and Grbavica/Esma’s Secret) and Hristina Popović (Circles / Krugovi, and The Parade).