Originally born in Bosnia, Nina Ljeti and her parents immigrated to Canada due to the war in the 1990s. Today Nina, who is in her early 20s, is a successful director, an acclaimed actress, and an incredible musician who has accomplished more in her short life than many ever will. Nina Ljeti’s film Memoria, which she directed and wrote the screenplay for, will be released early next year. The film came to fruition as a direct result of James Franco asking her to adapt a few of his short stories from his book Palo Alto, and the rest is history. Aside from Memoria, Ljeti and Franco have worked together extensively. Some of their collaborations include the films Child of God, Tar, The Letter, Rebel, and About Cherry, as well as the performance pieces Collage and BirdShit.
“Part of why I’m so passionate about film is that there is always room to learn more and to find different ways of expressing yourself. When you’re working with a team, you can use this to your advantage to grow as an artist. You learn from your peers and your collaborators. I constantly try to find new ways to tell a story. I’m always looking for truth in my work,” said Ljeti.
Taking a divergent stance from mainstream serial killer biopics, which more often than not vilify the subject, Nina’s film Jeffrey, a film about infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer,welcomes a more sympathetic heart in its audience.
Her love of grunge, and all that is dark, gritty and true is apparent in much of her work. In fact, she is slated to play the lead role of Kurt Cobain in an upcoming film entitled Kurt. “It’s a project that James (Franco) and I have been developing for a couple years. Nirvana is my favorite band of all time, so I’m very excited to be working on this piece,” said Ljeti.
While Nina is unquestionably a beautiful woman, her ability to completely abandon society’s gender roles is one feature that makes her such a unique and incredible talent. “I love playing male characters… It’s so much fun to get into the mind of someone that is so far away from you, personally. It makes it that much harder to find yourself within the character, but all the more satisfying when you do… For some reason, they come naturally to me,” said Ljeti.
Aside from her upcoming role as Kurt Cobain, Ljeti has played a long list of male characters. “I played James Dean in Rebel, Stanely Kowalski (from a Streetcar Named Desire) in Collage, Treplev (from The Seagull) in BirdShit… and I’ve modeled as a male many times for 7 For All Mankind,” said Ljeti.
In addition to her work as an actress and director, Ljeti is also the lead singer of the band Yeah, Well Whatever, a 90s inspired punk group comprised of four hot female rockers. A woman of many talents, Ljeti and her work serve as an inspiration to us all.