Oscar ? Zasto ne!
December 2004
Sandra Njavro
Translated by Ana

Croatian actor with a permanent address in Hollywood, a 32 years old Goran Višnjić, has temporarily moved to Zagreb: from the famous movie studio Warner Bros in Los Angeles, where he has been playing in ER for 6 years, he arrived last Thursday to Pleso airport in Zagreb with his wife Ivana and their dog Bugsy. He exclusively revealed to us that he's going to wear his doctors coat, which made him famous all over the world, for a while longer. And in it, if you ask women, he looks great! Goran spent the same night with his Croatian friends in the coffee bar of Gavella and Komedija theaters and on Friday he went to his native Šibenik that has been waiting for 2 years on his return. The actor couldn't hide his pleasure. In his birth city he's going to enjoy 2 weeks with his parents and visit some old friends...

He's going to celebrate the upcoming holidays in Zagreb and he'll be going back to LA with the first days of the New Year because filming of the new ER episodes is awaiting there, as well as the premiere of the new Hollywood spectacle "Electra" in Las Vegas. The dangerous Electra is played by Jennifer Garner, known to Croatian public from the Friday night show "Alias" and our actor portrays a father of a 13-year old girl that he guards from the dangerous murderers. Goran filmed the movie last summer in Vancouver, a 20th Century Fox production and directed by Rob Bowman, who created individual episodes of "The X-Files" and an SF-spectacle "Reign of Fire".

It seems that you come to Croatia less and less. What's the real reason: more business obligations or is that you have, after 6 years, accepted America as your second home?

I would very much like to come to Croatia more often but in every break from ER I try to make a movie, so unfortunately I can't make it.

After 10 years your co-worker Noah Wyle said goodbye to ER, known widely for his doctor Carter role. He recently said that he hopes you'll carry the torch of the series for a long time in the future. However, your contract is expiring. Is this your last season in the show or is there a chance to prolong the contract?

ER helped me very much in my career. A lot of American actors dream of such a job but it has also made me pass on some movies. In the future I definetely want to make more movies so I'm currently negotiating with the ER producers. They are willing to cooperate, they are offering me good conditions so I have decided to stay in the show for a while, though I don't know for how long exactly.

When was the last time you went on a real vacation – away from the business obligations?

Last time after finishing "Elektra" in Vancouver and the ER I managed to catch 10 free days so I took my wife to Tahiti. But that was my first vacation since last Christmas. Last time I was in Šibenik was the summer before last one, for 2 days literally.

How long are you planning of staying in Croatia?

Unfortunately, I have to go back right after New Year.

What's the first thing you're going to do when you get to Šibenik?

First I'm going to Zaborić because that's where my Mom and Dad are. I want to see them badly.

Have you bought New Year presents for the loved ones?

We did that during the last few days in America. And since we have, thank God, a big family, we'll be going back with 3 empty suitcases, hahaha...

Where are you celebrating the New Year?

To tell you the truth, I don't really know because everything with me has to be last minute, but I have to admitt, even if I did know, I wouldn't say it for the newspapers,hahaha... Anyway, I'm entering the New Year with the people I love the most.

How would you grade last year business-wise? The awards haven't gone past you: the 19th film festival in Paris announced you as best actor for the role in the "Hypnotic" movie, than there's the Arena for "Duga, mračna noć"(Long, dark night). You had the "Spartak" premiere, you filmed "Electra"...

If it goes on that way, I won't be complaining. It's been a good year.

Not long ago there was a "Duga, mračna noć" screening in LA. Your father-in-law, the director of the movie, Tonči Vrdoljak was there. What were the reactions like? Are you satisfied?

I've organized the projection beacuse I think we've made an excellent movie and I wanted it to be seen outside of Croatia. I don't know if or how much is that story interesting to the foreign market, but I'm proud of the work we've done. Some of my friends, my agent and co-workers have seen the film, and the most important thing for me is that they reacted very well. It made them cry and shook them up! They've seen a part of our history they knew nothing about.

It's too early to tell, but personally you must be hoping for an Oscar nomination?

Of course I'd like that! But you never know with the Oscars. And also there are so many candidates. Even "Passion of Christ" is in the foreign competition. It would be nice, but to get a nomination or an award is not the most important thing to me – it's for people in the movie business to see what I've done.

For filming "Electra" you missed the Pula film festival in which "Duga, mračna noć" triumphed. Were you upset with the talk about Branko Lustig, the famous Hollywood producer, had something to do with it?

The fact that some of the papers attacked Mr. Lustig is shameful and under any level. I don't even want to comment on it. To me it's enough that I was phoned in Kanada and have listened over the cellphone as the crowded Arena in Pula yelled my name. I got chills down my spine! That was my biggest award. So I'd like to hear if those people who wrote nonsenses in the papers think all those people were bribed, too!

In "Electra", filmed last summer in Vancouver, expected to premiere January 8 in Las Vegas, you have the main male part, while the main female is Jennifer Garner, known to Croatian public from the TV show "Alias". What was it like working with Jennifer?

She is a really nice person and a great professional. Everyone on the set thought only positively of her. It's very easy to work with people like Jennifer.

While staying in Vancouver have you had a chance to privately socialize with the other actors?

Not really! Especially not with Jennifer who really worked hard and didn't have time to socialize because in filming breaks she had to practice various fighting techniques. My schedule was easier. I had a lot of free time.

What did you think of Vancouver? Where did you live?

The city is pretty and green. My studio rented a nice house on the beach so Ivana and I walked there with our dogs during the filming breaks.

So Bugsy isn't the only pet anymore?

Yes, we took in an abandoned 6-year old dog. They wanted to put him to sleep because he was agressive. After only a few days with Ivana who has a certain way with animals, the dog became a real darling and Bugsy enjoys company.

Do you cooperate with some of the organizations that take care of abandoned and lost animals, dogs and cats especially?

I help raising money by donating photos or something like that, just like a lot of other actors. My wife does that, basically. Ivana had been taking care of 2 more dogs. One of them, unfortunately, died after a hard illness, and we found a home for the other one. Ivana made her Mom take him in, hahaha... And she made me take 2 cats, also. It's hard to give away an animal that's been with you for a longer period of time because you can see how they get attached to you and you grow to love them, too. It's true we have a lot of them, they are interesting and funny, and Ivana grew up in a house full of animals so she wouldn't mind a 100 more in the house.

The public has been surprised recently by the news that you're planning on starting a family business in Croatia: that you're opening an ostrich farm and that your parents are going to run it. Is any of it true?

You know, there's been a lot of talk about us and there still is but that doesn't mean that everything you hear is true. So no, we're not setting up anything of a kind.

And what about children? Are you planning on a bigger family?

I don't doubt how great it feels to have a child but neither Ivana nor me wish to raise our child in America, away from our relatives. We have big families and are all very close. We want to make sure our child grows up with his grandparents and cousins because that's what makes a real childhood, not seeing his relatives once a year and speaking Croatian with an accent. Luckily, we have few more years to make it happen.

What is the formula for a successful marriage for you?

If there was a formula then all the marriages would work. Unfortunately, no formula has been foound as of yet. You're on your own!

How do you usually celebrate marriage aniversaries? Do you give each other nice little things?

We don't celebrate that. Ivana kidds that every year she reads it in a paper because neither she nor I remember dates. We buy each other gifts non-date related. That's nicer!

What's your favourite place to go out in L.A.?

We don't go out much. We prefer to stay in, put on our PJ's on and watch a movie marathon. We like to invite people over for dinner but we don't do big parties. Sometimes we go to an Italian restaurant called "xxxxx" – we love their food and we feel like home there because of the nice atmosphere. We avoid clubs and crowds.

What do you usually do in your spare time?

We take the dogs for a walk on the beach or we go somewhere in the nature.