Interview 24 star Branco Tomovic tells all about Live Another Day

24 star Branco Tomovic tells all about Live Another Day

David Bedwell chats to the 24: Live Another Day star.

Jack is back - a phrase you’re no doubt seeing all over the place - with the highly anticipated return of everyone’s favourite CTU agent in 24: Live Another Day, screening on Sky 1 at 9pm on Wednesday 7 May.

In the new series, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and his ticking clock have resurfaced in London at the same time as a visit from the US President…

Actor Branko Tomovic appears in the new series as Belcheck, a mysterious element from Jack's past whose motives are unclear.

As well as 24: Live Another Day, Tomovic can soon be seen as Nikola Tesla in the biopic, Tesla, about the Serbian-American inventor and will also appear in David Ayer's WWII drama, Fury opposite Brad Pitt.

How has the buzz been surrounding the return of 24?
24: Live Another Day picks up the story of Jack Bauer four years after he slipped into exile. He was on the run and hid somewhere in Eastern Europe. Now he is in London, living in the shadows and hunted by, among others, his own government. I had a casting in January for "24", it was only for one episode and I was just about to fly to Los Angeles for 5 weeks for pilot season and had just paid for flight, hotel and car. Three days before I was supposed to fly out I received the offer for 24 and canceled the LA trip as the new 24 series is being filmed in the UK. I was thrilled and excited to be part of this series, but it's the first time I accepted a part without really knowing what the character really was. But because I was a fan of the show before, I trusted that 24 will be something great and cool, so really wanted to do it. The producers seemed to like my character and what I did, so it kind of grew from there and they wrote me into more episodes. We are still filming at the moment, we are currently shooting episodes 9 & 10 from 12. We receive the scripts as we do it, so we don't know what will happen and each time of course I'm scared to read the next script because I don't want my character to die! And anyone could die at anytime in such a series... It's really exciting to be part of such a big series TV event! 24 really has a very dedicated strong and loyal fan base who have been waiting for this to happen!

What do you think it is about the show that makes it so special?
It is a huge thing globally and it was groundbreaking and changed television because it had such a high quality and it's one of the most successful TV series ever. I think it's the creators and the whole team behind it what makes it so special - great storytelling, inventive ideas, brilliant and moving performances, entertaining action, every aspect of great filmmaking comes together...

I have seen the first episode of 24: Live Another Day already and it's really brilliant and very exciting! We had a cast & crew screening a few days ago, on the CIA set and it was really cool to see it for the first time with everyone together. We have such a wonderful crew who are all working really hard and to see that the result is so fantastic is really wonderful. I am sure all the 24 fans will be very thrilled!

What's it like working with Kiefer Sutherland? Is he as intense off-screen as on?
I play the part of Belcheck, a mysterious presence from Jack's past. I am like his right hand man. I am good with vehicles, demolition, firearms and explosions. I am only loyal to Jack, almost like a watch dog, a doberman. Belcheck is very mysterious and only speaks when he something important to say, so his underlying motives are unclear. I absolutely enjoy working with Kiefer Sutherland! He is a brilliant and fantastic actor, so great, so focused, inventive, generous and intelligent which I absolutely admire and also such a wonderful person. I really enjoy working with him so much and find him so fascinating to watch, that I actually sometimes forget that I am in the scene as well and have to act! I also have a lot of scenes with Mary Lynn Rajskub who plays Chloe in the series, she is absolutely wonderful and great fun to work with as well.

You've been in a number of UK television shows in recent years. What have you learnt working on such popular shows?
The first thing you learn as an actor on any set probably is: don't steal any props and don't have sex with extras! And then maybe: Don't forget to hit your mark! Every job, every set, every project is different really, especially as an actor, as you will be working with different people all the time. So the learning will never stop which makes it so exciting!

What was the experience like doing a big Hollywood blockbuster like The Bourne Ultimatum?
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. 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 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. And I have always loved Paul Greengrass's work, he is a fantastic director. Now I have worked with Bourne, Bauer and hope to work with Bond one day as well!

Do you have a preference between the big projects and the more independent ones?
No, I always choose a project by the story and role and director and not the budget of a film. That for me is least important, it's all about the material, the director's vision and other people involved. It always starts with a great script!

You've worked in numerous genres, from horror to action. Do you try to push yourself as an actor with variety?
Definitely, I think that's why I chose to become an actor in the first place - to live many lives. I'd love to do many different stuff and experiment as well. I love diversity in my career and any genre can produce brilliant innovative work. You probably won't be seeing me in a romantic comedy any time soon, as there is such a thing called 'typecasting' and I just don't have the face for that. But I always preferred 'Bonnie and Clyde' over 'Romeo and Juliet' anyway! I always tend to choose darker and intense material. I have always been fascinated by the human mind, psychology and different personalities. I love character work, complex and unconventional stuff, maybe that's because I chose to work in film ever I saw David Lynch’s Blue Velvet as a young kid, that was the most extraordinary thing I had seen until then.

Is there a particular direction you are hoping to take your career in the next few years?
It's so unpredictable really, I do enjoy a lot working on these great US productions. I get cast more and more as the Euro-Villain, which is fun, as you get to do stuff you would never be allowed to do in real life. On my very first filming day of 24, I suddenly found myself holding this rocket propelled grenade launcher in my hands and blowing things up.

At the same time I love European cinema. Many of my favourite directors are European like Roman Polanski, Michael Haneke and Milos Forman. I absolutely love their work and their movies are timeless master pieces. So I wouldn't want to neglect that. Ideally, you can do both, it definitely helps to have a split personality!

24: Live Another Day starts on Sky 1 on May 7 2014 at 9pm.


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