SARAJEVO A largely unknown Bosnian actress has surprisingly nabbed the lead role in Angelina Jolie's directorial debut about a Serbian man and Bosnian woman who meet on the eve of the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
"I can confirm my new exciting engagement in the first film directed by Angelina Jolie in which I will have the lead role," Zana Marjanovic, 27, told reporters hours before her flight to Budapest where shooting is set to begin.
Sarajevo-born Marjanovic, who played in two Bosnian feature films and a series of plays, said the film would be set in the Bosnian war but would not meddle in politics.
"The story is very complex but is primarily a love story," said Marjanovic, who escaped the Bosnian war and has lived in New York with her family.
The romantic drama, which was announced in August when Hollywood actress Jolie visited Sarajevo as a goodwill ambassador of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, will be based on her own screenplay and will star regional actors, the movie's production company GK Films said.
"Angelina is a wonderful person and it is a great honor for me to work with such a superb actress and humanist," Marjanovic said. "At the moment I am so excited because of this opportunity that I have no time to think about what comes next."
The film is expected to cost $15 million, a source close to the producers told Reuters. Marjanovic said the shooting, which will start this week in Budapest, will end in November in the Bosnian capital.
(Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Adam Tanner)