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From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian actor and producer Neb Chupin

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin

Neb Chupin (Private album)

Born in the Croatian capital Zagreb, Neb Chupin moved to the United States of America in 1992. Originally an engineer, he began modeling and acting twenty years ago and since then has worked on many films including 2019’s The Fanatic, 2022’s Breath and Pig Killer.

Neb currently can be seen co-starring in the new horror film ’Til Death Do Us Part alongside Orlando Jones and Natalie Burn. The film is in theaters nationwide now and is from the creator of Final Destination. 

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin

Last year, Neb  was seen in Lionsgate’s thriller Mindcage with Martin Lawrence and John Malkovich. Neb also executive produced both films. 

We caught up with Neb to find out more about his interesting journey to Hollywood. 

You started out as an engineer, so how did you first get into acting?

When I was an engineer in Boston back in 2001, I went through a very stressful period in my life. I was trying to meet ends financially every month, I had a decent salary but had big loans and many expenses. Someone suggested I take stress relief classes, like social groups, etc..so I did research and found an ad that invites people to become actors. 

That made more sense to me, to be in the group but have a meaning – to learn something – so I tried and I remember as if it was today how relieved I was after the first class. And since then, acting classes started to be part of my life.

Your new film has just hit theaters across the US. What is that about and how was working on the set?

’Til Death Do Us Part is a comedy horror film, and I had my first comedic role which I enjoyed quite a bit. 

The film follows a former bride-to-be who bails on her wedding and must fight off her ex-groom and seven angry killer groomsman (including my character) in order to survive the night.

Finally I was happy on the set, not only being serious. Also there is another film called The Last Redemption that will be out next year where I have a nice part.

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin

(Private album)

You co-starred also in Mindcage which was released last year and starred Martin Lawrence and John Malkovich. How was it working with them?

Like with any big stars, working with John Malkovich was very pleasant and educational. We had few scenes together and he gave me a few tips. Also we spoke a lot of times talking about Croatia, he said he has never been but that he would visit soon, and he did the following year. 

With Martin I didn’t have a scene, I worked with him on Bad Boys 2 a long time ago in Miami, he always comes with the big group of people that takes care of him and his needs, sort of like an entourage, so I didn’t have a chance to meet him and talk to him. 

John brought this big wig into our make up room and was showing it to us all, saying he waited long time to get it from Germany and that was very expensive. Was funny seeing him with the wig in his hands. He looked quite different when he put it on. 

What can people expect from the film?

This film is a pure detective story with a twist. It is actually quite interesting, and you have to watch the movie until the end to see who is doing all of the killings. Sort of like old Hitchcock but more modern and more interesting – faster pace. It is also very creative how the writer and director Mauro Borelli made The Artist to manipulate all detectives until the only end. 

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin

(Private album)

What does being the executive producer entail?

It depends on the film or a situation. Some people get the credit only because they invest. In my case I was the emergency producer on the set making sure that all things go smooth and jump in when there was the need. We had to, at some point, use the crane to film one scene that Mauro Borelli our director, wanted and I made it happen for example. Also talking to people on the set, making sure they are happy, and if they have any needs or issues. Because if people on the set are not happy, the film most likely will not be finished.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my film The Islander that has two parts and we are at the finishing point finally after almost 7 years of making it. It is an apocalyptic fantasy drama where a grandson saves the world by racing futuristic power boats…quite unusual.. 

You recently moved back to live in Croatia? 

I actually moved to Croatia in 2020 during the pandemic, after 30 years of living in the US. I moved my family to Zagreb because it felt safer, than in Los Angeles at that time. So my kids attend British International School here in Zagreb and we really enjoy our life. They do miss the US and we go once a year as a family. However I travel more often to LA for work.

What is your favorite place in Croatia?  

My favorite place is Vodice where I grew up and where my grandfather was from. Its a small town on the coast close to city of Šibenik.

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin


I renovated his old house and now its called “Dida Boža House” and besides renting rooms, there is a gift shop and a caffe bar. It is about a three hour drive from Zagreb and if I am in Croatia for the summer I will be there.

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin


Are your American friends more aware of Croatia now as a destination?  

Very much. Anytime  I am on the set people are very excited when I say where I was from. For instance when I was filming two movies with John Travolta he was very excited to hear about Croatia and he asked many questions. I hope to show him Croatia one day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend my free time with my kids that are still young, 13 and 8. A boy and a girl. They also appear in some of my films and we will see if they have any inspirations to become actors. In the winter I like skiing, and I like teaching kids soccer and basketball.

I try to exercise every day like lifting weights,  bicycle, rowing, and hot yoga.

From Engineer to Hollywood: Meet Croatian-American actor and producer Neb Chupin

(Private album)

Croatia is a popular location for major films and TV series – what do you think about that?

I filmed in Croatia two times, and Croatia is not for low budget films. Yet, you get amazing locations, beautiful light, but it costs. It’s not very very expensive, but it holds its value. For instance, when shooting our second part of the film “The Islander” we got the same locations in Dubrovnik that were in Game of Thrones and Star Wars, so that was exciting, and it is very visible in the film now.

Filming in Croatia

On set of The Islander in Croatia 

There is also help from HAVC – Croatian Audiovisual Centre that will assist in your efforts for filming. They are very organised and like to help film makers who have desire to film in Croatia.

Do you have a message for anyone looking to break into acting? 

Acting is a passionate job, but the industry is extremely competitive, i would say the most competitive of all. Before you go into acting ask yourself: can I wait all day on the set to get 30 seconds of my camera time? And that’s once you do have a role. We actors spend the most time looking and securing the role. Once we have a role it’s easier, we can emerge into our own artistic skills and start preparing.

So for the young actors the hardest is in the beginning – is getting that first gig, you ask yourself who will hire you if you have no experience? 

But it does happen, all you have to do is start, start somewhere. I remember my first acting coach from Boston told me 80% is to show up  So, it is possible, and It is also a very individual recipe for success. Any actor finds his or her own way how to break into the industry.

What are your plans for the future?

All my eggs are now in one basket. Meaning a few more months of sweat and my Islander films will be finished. Until then I can’t think of any other projects. I will be in Los Angeles in October showing the film and looking for the best offer for the sale. We are offering not only this project but the franchise of the whole universe, and if that goes well, we will be filming The Islander 3 and 4 in Croatia very soon.

You can check out the trailer for ’Til Death Do Us Part below. 

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