Growing up in the Zagreb suburb of Dubrava with aspirations to become a professional footballer, Marinko Radakovic never dreamed he would one day be featuring in films with the likes of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
Football was the only thing on Marinko’s mind as a youngster and at the age of 14, his talent was recognised by Ilija Loncarevic who selected him for the Croatian youth team. Whilst one of Marinko’s teammates as a youngster, Zvonimir Soldo, went on to represent Croatia and win a bronze medal at the 1998 World Cup in France, his destiny went down another path.
After completing military service and once the Croatian War of Independence ended in the 1990s, Marinko left Croatia and headed to the United States to continue his football career.
However, his dream would be ended after just 18 months when he tore the ACL in his knee. Undeterred, Marinko left professional sports and returned to studying, this time at Salem State University in Massachusetts. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice/Political Science. It was during this time that he began modelling and acting, which soon turned into a passion and a career.
“It was a bit of an accident. While attending Salem State University, a young woman approached and me and asked if I would have some time to talk about modelling and acting. I didn’t know she was a scout for a major modelling agency here in the United States. I went for some test shots and that was the start.” Marinko explains.
After modelling for a while, Marinko decided to try his hand at acting.
“I saw an online ad where a casting director was looking for someone to play the role of a European paparazzi. The film was Game Plan starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson,” said Marinko.
Since then, he has appeared in a number of movies and TV series. Some of the movies he had roles in include Patriots Day, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig and starring Melissa McCarthy and Matt Walsh, Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper and starring Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton, Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, and The Drop, directed by Michael Roskam and starring Tom Hardy and (the late) James Gandolfini.
He also also appeared in a number of successful television series such as House of Cards, Person of Interest, Elementary, Black List and The Jack and Triumph Show.
Marinko has been working recently on a number of projects.
“I just completed Wonderland with Mark Wahlberg and the amazing director Peter Berg, where I play a detective. This is the second movie working with this team. I previously worked with them on Patriot Day. I have also previously worked on Defending Jacob, which is an upcoming American crime drama digital television miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by William Landay, produced by Apple TV+. The series was created by Mark Bomback and is set to star Chris Evans, directed by Morten Tyldum. I play a Police Officer. I have also worked recently with the amazing Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage on I Care a Lot. I always enjoy auditioning for many various roles that test my capability. It has been so wonderful to be so busy,” Marinko said, before adding.
“I would like to continue working on multi-faceted characters which shoot in Europe, that allow me to work with some amazing international directors, producers and actors. I’m so blessed to be able to pursue this career. I have an amazing group of people and friends starting with my team, my manager and agent in New York and all of those who continue to believe in me. This is a very competitive business, which isn’t for the meek. You must constantly study and continue to hone your craft. You never know it all. It is lots of work, but the results come from what you put into it. There is no easy way.”
Marinko’s busy schedule means he can not return to Croatia as often as he would like, but he says he is looking forward to going home soon.
“My favourite place is Zagreb, where my family lives and also Sibenik, where I have vacation home on one of the nearby Islands. I love to relax and enjoy the incredible Croatian cuisine when I go back. I also give tips to my American friends visiting Croatia where to go and what to see. They always ask for secret, off the map places where they can enjoy and relax.”
When he is not working or travelling, Marinko likes to relax in Boston, where he resides, by reading, playing sports and attending games.
“I love to watch NFL team The Patriots, whose coach, Bill Belichick, has Croatian roots. I also scuba dive and find golf very relaxing;” Marinko concludes.