Bond Girl Valenka
“I’m the first Croatian Bond girl, I think. There have been Russians before but Croatia’s the much more modern, Eastern European, Slavic way to go.” Ivana Milicevic
A naturalized citizen of the United States with Croatian heritage, actress Ivana Milicevic is probably most popular for playing Valenka in the 21st James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), opposite Daniel Craig as 007, and as Russian model Roxana on Head Over Heels (2001). She kicked of her movie career with 1996’s Jerry Maguire, and has since acted in a number of film projects, including Enemy of the State (1998), Vanilla Sky (2001), Love Actually (2003), Paycheck (2003), Just Like Heaven (2005) and The Plague (2006). Her forthcoming credits include Your Name Here (2007), Battle in Seattle (2007) and Witless Protection (2009).
The striking, dark-haired performer is also a familiar face on TV. She has appeared in guest roles in countless TV shows like “Seinfeld” (1997), “The Nanny” (1997), “Felicity” (1998-1999), “Nash Bridges” (2000), “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (2002), “Just Shoot Me!” (2002), “Friends” (2002), “Charmed” (2003), “CSI: Miami” (2004), and more recently, “Ugly Betty” (2007). Besides, she has had regular roles in such series as “The Army Show” (1998), “The Mind of the Married Man” (2001) and “Love Monkey” (2006).
Milicevic is good friend with Velvet Revolver’s front man Scott Weiland and his wife Marry. Her brother Tomo Milicevic is guitarist for 30 Seconds to Mars.
Childhood and Family:
In Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ivana Milicevic was born on April 26, 1974, to an ethnic Croatian family of Tonka and Damir Milicevic. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was 5, and she was raised in Michigan. There, she attended Troy Athens High School, and after graduation in 1991, headed to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
Ivana is older sister to Tomo Milicevic, the guitarist of 30 Seconds to Mars, where Jared Leto also becomes one of its members. She also has another little brother, Fillip Milicevic, who was born in the USA.
Head Over Heels
Arriving in the United States in 1983, Bosnia-born beauty Ivana Milicevic worked as a model, while still in high school. She received a professional modeling certificate from the Milane Modeling School, and did fashion shoots in Chicago during her summer breaks. Upon high school graduation, she moved from Michigan to Los Angeles to try her hand in acting.
A struggling actress, Milicevic decided to try her luck on stand-up comedy on an urge, and found success with her stories of the modeling industry and gift for physical comedy. In 1996, she eventually hit the screen with a one-line role as a former girlfriend in Cameron Crowe’s successful romance Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise.
A natural performer, she soon appeared on several television shows in guest spots, including as Patty in “Seinfeld” (1997) and Tasha in “The Nanny” (1997). She also was featured along side Kim Delaney, Colleen Flynn and Matthew Lillard in the supernatural ABC TV-movie Devil to Pay (1997).
Still a relative nameless, Milicevic returned to motion picture in 1998 with a bit part in the thriller Enemy of the State, for director Tony Scott. The same year, she debuted as a series regular on the short-lived sitcom “The Army Show” (The WB) before taking on the recurring role of Sensa in the network’s college-set series, “Felicity” (1998-1999). The following year saw two of her feature acting roles bounce the theater and bow on cable: Postmortem, an indie-thriller, on Cinemax, and Kiss the Sky, a drama, on The Movie Channel.
After appearing in episodes of CBS’s detective series “Nash Bridges” and “Secret Agent Man” (both 2000), Milicevic gained notice as a Russian supermodel, Roxana Milla Slasnakova, on the easily forgotten romantic comedy Head Over Heels (2001), opposite Monica Potter, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Shalom Harlow. Later that same year, she rejoined Crowe and Cruise for a small part in the romance Vanilla Sky, and returned to series TV as a regular performer for the highly-touted HBO series “The Mind of the Married Man” (2001), playing Missy. There, she became immediately popular for the eyebrow-raising role her character plays in the fantasies of her boss.
Next, Milicevic appeared as Gang girl in Impostor (2002) and as a model in Four Reasons (2002). She guest starred as Sam Finn in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (2002) and as Katinka in “Just Shoot Me!” (2002). She went on to appear in such popular shows as “Friends” (2002), “Charmed” (2003) and “CSI: Miami” (2004), and in movies like Down with Love (2003), Richard Curtis’ Love Actually (2003) and John Woo’s Paycheck (2003), opposite Uma Thurman and Ben Affleck.
From 2004 to 2005, Milicevic played the recurring role of Ranya in the sitcom “One on One.” 2005 also found small roles in such films as Slipstream, Her Minor Thing, In Her Shoes and Mark Waters’ Just Like Heaven, starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. After a failed pilot, the actress costarred as Julia in the drama series “Love Monkey” (2006). Debuted on CBS, the show was moved to VH1 after three episodes. She also appeared as Mila Yugorsky in Running Scared (2006) and Jean Raynor in The Plague (2006), but it was her role as Valenka, wife of the bodyguard of the main villain, in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (2006), the 21st James Bond film starring Daniel Craig as 007, that really put the actress on the limelight.
Recently, Milicevic acted in the adventure series “Fallen” and appeared in two episodes of the comedy series “Ugly Betty.” She will have small parts in the dark comedy The Adventures of Beatle Boyin (2007), the biopic Your Name Here (2007) and the based-on-true story Battle in Seattle (2007), starring Charlize Theron and Woody Harrelson. Additionally, she is schedule to costar with Eric Roberts and Peter Stormare in an upcoming comedy film by writer-director Charles Robert Carner, Witless Protection (2009).