The actress who plays Carrie on “Banshee” has an interesting accent. Where is she from? What else has she done?
—Sam Castaneda, Flagstaff, Arizona
Ivana Milicevic, 39, was born in Sarajevo, but moved to the U.S. when she was 5. She grew up in Michigan, where she started modeling while attending Athens High School in Troy.
“When I moved to L.A. [after graduation], I had more of a Michigan accent,” says the “Banshee” star, demonstrating the regional accent. “Now, I have this hybrid between Michigan and a little bit of L.A., so I am trying to refine the way I speak again because I think I got a little lazy and a little California-y, like saying ‘dude’ and ‘yeah,’ as opposed to yes.”
While trying to get a break as an actress, Milicevic continued modeling, but also decided to try her hand at standup comedy, which she hoped might help her get a break. She performed at The Comedy Store, where she was seen and signed by a manager, who helped her land a guest spot on “Seinfeld,” as Patti, the wife of a Russian tennis player.
“Comedy was my first love actually,” the 5-foot, 9-inch former model says. “When I first broke into this business, I did standup, but I didn’t do standup very long because I prefer to do comedy in a team situation, so that’s why I like improv. I like everyone building each other. I miss it and I am dying to do a comedy again.”
After “Seinfeld,” Milicevic went on to a supporting role in “Jerry Maguire” and a memorable role in “Enemy of the State.” Her other feature film credits include “Head Over Heels,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Down with Love,” “Love Actually,” “Paycheck,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Running Scared,” “Casino Royale” and “What’s Your Number.”
Her TV credits include guest starring roles on “Felicity,” “Friends,” “Just Shoot Me,” “CSI: Miami,” “Ugly Betty,” “The Unit,” “Royal Pains,” “House,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Psych” and “Vegas.”
As for her role as Anastasia/Carrie, a notorious jewel thief who lives in Banshee under an assumed identity with her new family, who know nothing about her past, she says, “I thought that this was a character that played to all of my strengths. I think that the character is driven by love, which I, as a human, am driven by, so I could relate to that. I knew I would have to be brave and fearless. I had to play her.”