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A Glimpse into Aleks Paunovic's Journey Beyond the Spotlight

Updated: Apr 18

Miami Living Magazine sits down with the multifaceted talent and actor Aleks Paunovic, a Winnipeg native whose professional journey from the boxing ring to the silver screen exemplifies the essence of storytelling. Descended from a lineage of champion boxers, Paunovic's early prowess in the ring paved the way for a successful career in stunt acting.  But Aleks’ talents extend beyond physicality; his passion for music led him to the stage where fate intervened, propelling him into the world of acting with his debut role in HBO's "Heads." Since then, he's captivated audiences with his chameleon-like ability to truly embody a plethora of roles, from a developmentally disabled man in "Personal Effects" to an overzealous karate dad in "This Means War”.  Amidst his acting endeavors, Paunovic has also been busy developing his upcoming venture, LEGEND WATER, a canned water brand sourced from the Rocky Mountains of Canada, aimed at combating single-use plastic while promoting mental health awareness.  Join us as Aleks shares insights into his globe-trotting film experiences and his recent commitment to social and environmental causes.



Miami Living (ML): Hi Aleks, thanks so much for joining us!  As we dive into your incredible journey, we're eager to start by asking: What's a recent moment or experience that made you pause and appreciate how far you've come in your career?


Aleks Paunovic: Oh come on, this is my pleasure! Thanks for hanging out! The one moment that I'm proud that I took the time to breathe in was when we were shooting Van Helsing. One of my biggest and most favorite roles. This was the last day of shooting for my character. We spent 5 years with this family, and my last day was also the day of my death scene. It was a hectic day and we were all trying to finish on time. I had to go to the makeup trailer to get cleaned up, then head back to set. As I was walking to set, something came over me to just stop and breathe the moment in. This is your last day, you big lug. So I stood there, just off the busy set, everyone working their ass off doing their job to make us actors look good. Cranes were swinging, cameras moving, people rushing, and I just had to stand there. I still remember the smell of the grass, the time of night, the sun almost setting, the smell of my wardrobe, and the sound of people working. I have it all in my sense memory. I'm so happy I took that time to take it all in. 5 years of hard work, with an amazing family. This is it. I won't have this again. Even now as I'm remembering I'm getting a little emotional. Yeah, I appreciate how lucky I am to do what I love to do in this crazy life. 

 

ML:  Your role in "The Silent Service" seems to be an exciting addition to your already impressive repertoire.  The adaptation of this script from manga to screen marks a significant milestone, being Amazon's first Japanese original movie.  Could you share more about the series and your character, Logan Steiger, and what you hope viewers will take away from it?


Aleks: You're right! It's pretty cool being a part of this milestone with Amazon. Silent Service is Japan's first nuclear submarine, depicting the unpredictable actions of its captain, Kaiedo Shiro, as he tries to realize his ideal world. I think it will make audiences come face to face with true peace amidst the complexities of international relations. I play Admiral Steiger of the US Navy. My character doesn't believe that Japan has a nuclear weapon on their sub, let alone willing to use it. Then he comes to realize this is more than just talk. You're going to have to watch to see how it unfolds. 


ML: Being cast in Marvel's “Hawkeye” and Netflix's “FUBAR”, what do you find most exciting about diving into star-studded, action-packed productions such as these? 


Aleks: The cool thing about being a part of these high-level productions is that I'm a fanboy too. Not only do I love the work I do, but I'm a fan of movies and television. So working with people that I admire has always been exciting for me. With the level of professionalism and budget, I'm like a kid in a candy store! It's epic!  



ML:  Can you share a glimpse into your daily life? What's a morning ritual or daily activity that sets a positive tone for your day?


Aleks: I'm all over the place. Sometimes I will lay in bed for a while until it feels like it's time to get up, lol. But on days that I want to be on point, which I would say is 4 days out of the week no matter what (but mostly when I'm prepping for a job or on a job) I wake up, have coffee, take my dog Brando for a run, come back for another coffee, get my workout in, have a healthy breakfast, read scripts, or work on my water company called Legend, and then do my errands or work. But I have to get that workout in no matter what. 


ML: Your career has taken you to some extraordinary places, from the rich cultural settings of Japan to the icy landscapes of Antarctica. Could you share with us a standout moment or experience from filming in these unique and diverse locations, and how they may have influenced your perspective on life?


Aleks: I've been really lucky with my career. Japan was just stunning and a place I've never worked before, so this was such a treat. Antarctica was just on another level. We got to shoot on the tundra, in a storm and it was the coolest adventure ever. But I have to say, I did a movie with one of my best buds Victor Webster in China on the Great Wall of China! Now THAT was an experience. Because of that experience, I told my buddy Victor that this is one of those lifetime moments I want to remember. So I got a tattoo in its honor. Big thanks to my buddy Victor for getting me in the movie, and making sure the tattoo artist spelled the tattoo correctly lol. 

 

ML: Looking back on your prolific career so far, is there a particular role or project that holds a special place in your heart? If so, what makes it so memorable to you?


Aleks: Yes, my time on Van Helsing. Man, that was such a blessing. The best part was working with friends. The role of Julius was morphed into a dream role. First, the character was a big badass vampire, but I love to have fun on set between shots, and the producers and showrunners saw that and decided to turn me from a vampire to a human and use all my " Aleks" qualities. I come from 4 generations of boxers, I love boxing. They made my character a boxer. I'm also a massive mama's boy, and they made my character a mama's boy. It was just a loving gesture and one I will never forget. I'm so proud of that show and everyone that was a part of it. 

 

ML: Your upcoming project, LEGEND WATER, not only addresses environmental issues but also raises awareness about mental health. Can you share with us the inspiration behind this endeavor and how you hope it will contribute to the planet as well as to the ongoing conversation about mental health


Aleks: Legend Water came from all 4 partners wanting to do a little more for the world. Just our part. I work on a lot of sets, and the major source of water is in single plastic use bottles. So why not come up with an environmentally friendly can and get it on as many sets as possible? Plus, getting the healthiest beverage in the world is a perfect fit. Healthy water leads to healthy minds. Mental awareness is the ongoing effort to reduce the stigma around mental illness and mental health conditions by sharing personal experiences. Due to misconceptions about mental health and mental fitness people often suffer in silence. The goal is to bring it out in the forefront and make talking about it a normal thing. With that, we have put a QR code on the can that leads to our website with a phone number that leads to a suicide prevention hotline, along with links and phone numbers to rehab facilities all over the country. We will also be doing giveaways and charity events to keep helping people who need a little love and compassion in their lives. We all do. If we can help even one person, we are doing what we are hoping to do.  



ML: As someone who has already accomplished so much in your career, what exciting projects or personal goals are you looking forward to embarking on in the future?


Aleks: I just love working. Acting is such a passion. I'm working on 4 projects right now, which i can't talk about yet. I also want to get back into producing. Something I haven't tried yet is directing, and I'd love to give that a shot. There's so much in the world I just wanna eat it all up!


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By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Charles Zuckermann


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