Quotes

"People think that if it's not happening in the states, it's not happening in the world," Speaking to members of Congress this week (5/12/10) about the issue of whaling.

"When somebody is attacking your hometown, and you're just sitting in the basement, you feel really useless. I felt I had to do it to defend my country. That's normal." - On why he extended his military service.

"I'm working with a dialect coach, but it's not helping. I want everyone to understand what I am talking about, like 'peritoneal lavage', you know, these medical expressions... I don't want to lose my accent, I just want it to become smaller."

"I have problems with phrases like `We visit' - the W and then the V. Things that are very simple to a native speaker are tongue-twisters for me. Probably my English teachers are laughing when they see me on ER because I was the lousiest and laziest student in my class."

"Making my English better is a hard job, a slow job. But it's getting better. Three years ago it would have taken me a half hour to say this sentence."

"My only goal here in the States is to really try to work on the accent as much as I can, to really polish it to be really good. With an accent like this you're still forced to play certain parts and some parts you can't get, so that's my first concern."

"I was offered the lead in Dracula 2000 for a lot of money. I said no because I knew what to expect if I did it. My accent, playing Dracula - uh-oh!"

"I would really like to do theatre in my native language because that would be like so relaxed after ER ... English ... those medical words!"

"Every time I perform, I work really hard to give part of myself to the audience. Then I do an interview and I read some story that just isn't true, or someone draws a crazy conclusion about my life, and it's such a betrayal. It hasn't happened here, but in Croatia, I've had to stop reading about myself. I don't think actors mean to be secretive, they just don't want strangers looking through their kitchen window." - On why he doesn't give many interviews.

"One of the major principles of my career is basically ... every job you decide to do, do it like it's the first and the last in your life."

"I don't know what it is with people out there, all this sex, sex, sex stuff. But I don't think making love on screen is sexy for me or for anybody watching. So, if it's okay with everyone I shall keep my clothes on. I am not a striptease artist."

"Hunk? I don't know anything about hunk...When I first started being asked about that two years ago, I played dumb - 'Honk, vot does that mean? The thing on the wheel of a car, honk-honk?'"

About heart-throb: "If people think of me that way, then I might as well let them - it isn't a terrible thing to be called."

"I cannot see myself on the screen and I cannot hear my voice. I feel it's awful."

"ER is a pretty big deal in Croatia. When my agent called and told me about this show, I said, 'Are we talking about the same ER?' And I thought about it for half a second and then said, 'Yes, of course!' I was watching them in Croatia when I was still at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, and now I'm working with them."

About replacing George Clooney: "I wasn't brought on the show for that. George is a great actor - he was the show and there isn't a day on the ER set when someone doesn't mention his name. Everyone here loved him, but none of the cast or crew put any pressure on me to be him. Besides, I don't think it's right to try and follow in his footsteps. It's a cliche, but you should just try to be who you are."

"Everybody is asking me, it must be so easy for you to play Luka Kovac. You're from Croatia, this and that, and I'm like, are you guys crazy? To live with Kovac every day, you can end up in the psychiatric ward, cause the guy's so complicated ... "

"The first time I came here it was 10 days, then 15 days, then three months. Now this time I have to stay to April. I'm slowly getting stuck here and I miss Europe."

"Here in America, you can have a big car and a big house but you are missing something that you can have in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean. Where I'm from, my parents and my neighbours sit on the streets in front of their houses, on the stairs, talking and laughing."

"Growing up in Croatia was healthy. The quality of life is good and you learn to respect others. The people are warm and generous."

If he weren't acting he'd: "Probably be a sailor. But I hope I will not need to think about it in my life."

On being the biggest star in Croatia: "I'm not the biggest, but at 6'4", I am one of the tallest."

The closest he's come to breaking the law: "Parking tickets. And speeding tickets. I'm a very good citizen."

The benefits f being named People's Sexiest Import: "Not better tables in restaurants, since I'm always sitting on the patio. I'm one of the last smokers, but I've been trying to quit. For three years."

About Spartacus outfit: "Those tunics are pretty short. In a fight, you don't want the audience to see your 20th-century underwear."

About filming Welcome To Sarajevo: "It seemed as if every building was destroyed or at least full of (bullet) holes or had no glass or windows. One day we found an unexploded grenade on the set. That was pretty different."

"We had our dog at our wedding. He was with us in Santa Barbara, and he was our best man. Just two of our friends and our dog."

"One day I came up with the idea to propose and I said, 'Will you?' and Ivana said, 'Yes.' It was really simple. We got married in Santa Barbara. We had been in Croatia together before we came here, and when I got my first job in the States I asked her if she wanted to go with me and she thought about it for four seconds and agreed. In some ways that decision was more important than saying yes to marriage."


# About him #

"I'm a lucky girl! Goran is diligent and funny. I have never seen him as filling in George Clooney's shoes. Goran fills in his own shoes quite nicely." Julianna Margulies

"The sexiest male working today is the guy in my video, Goran Visnjic. I thought Welcome to Sarajevo was an excellent film. I was looking for an actor to be in my video and his face came right into my head. I think he's gorgeous." Madonna

"Women go crazy for Goran. At the premiere, women were saying: `Oh my God, who is that?'" Aidan Quinn

"He has the most amazing voice and a bold and direct sexuality. It's rare to have that much presence." Lisa Krueger, Committed's director

"We were attracted to the way you could read all kinds of things in Goran's face. He's just amazing to look at in close-up. You sense something about his thought processes and his history. With Goran, it comes from the life he's led. He is Croatian and fought in the war, and has had an interesting and deep past. He's a relatively young man, but he's definitely seen a lot." David Siegel, The Deep End's director

"Goran has been great for the show. He's a wonderful actor and a consummate professional." John Wells

"Goran's a nice, ordinary guy who'd just like to sit and have a beer sometimes. He'd muck around and tell jokes on set. When you work with someone, it's really very different to idolising them. You just see the ordinary person behind all that. It's nice because you get a sneaky look at the real person. But what's happened for him is wonderful - people just adore him and his work." Shirley Henderson

"When I got the part, I was amazed. I thought, 'You're joking, he's 6ft 4in and I'm 5ft nothing! Goran's devastatingly handsome, but not in the least bit starry. We'd just sit around all day singing songs and playing hangman together." Shirley Henderson

"He volunteered because his home was being threatened, that's more than you find in your average Hollywood jerk. And on top of that, he's a fine actor." Ted Allen, Esquire

"He's a Croatian Gary Cooper - very courtly and dignified and quiet." Griffin Dunne, Practical Magic director

"Every time I read a script, it's like he pulls in his new car -- a Viper -- and then they give him this loft apartment with this great fish tank, and he's wearing these great suits, and I'm slugging around in my white coat and my Jeep!" Noah Wyle, playfully

"Goran is an interesting combination of 'I just got off the boat' and sophistication. He's a really fascinating dichotomy, because in some senses he's this wide-eyed, 'Oh, my God, I'm living in L.A. and on ER' type guy. But on the other hand, he has a point of view as an actor that is strong, and it doesn't matter what country he's in, that's going to come through.'' Laura Innes