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Angelina Jolie scales back filming plans in Bosnia

November 16, 2010 | 12:16 pm


Angelina Jolie's controversial Balkan war movie is set to start filming in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on Wednesday –- but the Hollywood star, who's directing, won't be behind the camera, her local partner says. And none of the main actors will be there either.

A storm of protest erupted last month after word began to circulate that the film would depict not only the rape of a Bosnian Muslim woman by a Serb but also a romance between the two. Women who were raped during the 1990s war protested to government officials, who briefly rescinded permission to film in the country, then reinstated it after a full script was submitted for review.

Jolie has been shooting much of the untitled movie in Hungary. Edin Sarkic, 47, production director, location manager and co-owner of Sarajevo-based production house Scout Film –- Jolie's Bosnian partner on the movie  –- said Tuesday that the filming in Sarajevo would be handled by a second-unit director. He said Jolie would come to Bosnia, perhaps even during the filming, but only briefly. He added that she also plans to meet with the rape victims at some point.

Sarkic said the original plan called for eight to 10 days of filming in Bosnia, but that has been cut to three or four. He said weather was one factor, but so were politics.

"This story, 'there is a paper [permit], there is no paper', is a non-starter in the West. Nobody from the West is going to work with you when one day you tell them you can film, and then the next day you tell them now you can't film," he said. "That is simply a no-go."

At least one rape victims group has said it would consider picketing the production, so minimizing Jolie's presence and keeping the main cast away from Sarajevo could prevent disruptions.

Sarkic said the production would use local extras, film shot in the narrow alleys of the Sarajevo old town, and panoramic footage for the movie. Vehicles and props that had been used at the set in Budapest have been shipped to Sarajevo for further filming, he added.

GK Films, the movie's U.S.-based production company, did not respond to a request for comment.

-- Zoran Cirjakovic and Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Angelina Jolie talks to actor Goran Jetvic during the filming of her Balkan war movie in Esztergom, north of Budapest, on Friday. Credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters