Steven Seagal Vows to ‘Bring Hollywood to Serbia’ After Getting His Citizenship

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Steven Seagal waits for the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015. After being granted Serbian citizenship, the actor wants to make the country a go-to location for Hollywood. Host Photo Agency/RIA Novosti/Reuters

U.S action star and newly minted Serbian citizen Steven Seagal has said he wants to “bring Hollywood to Serbia” in an interview with Russia’s state-run Sputnik news service.

Serbian state news outlets broke the news on January 11 that Seagal had been granted citizenship by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, with the actor vowing to bring business and greater recognition to the country. “I can do a lot here,” Seagal told Sputnik. “I want to bring the whole film community here. I want to build...sort of a Hollywood-film infrastructure here.”

According to Seagal, Serbia’s various landscapes make it appealing for filmmakers to shoot in the country.

He also said he had met with Vucic to discuss the fate of the country’s now defunct Kosutnjak film studio, which Seagal believes can be revived.

“I spoke with the Prime Minister about this studio and I said that here I can bring experts so they can see for themselves that we can revive it,” Seagal said. “I’d like to invite serious people so they can really begin work.”

Besides film, Seagal also wants to promote his other love—martial arts. He is a long-term practitioner of the Japanese martial art Aikido, which he would like to help teach in Serbia.

Seagal, a practicing Buddhist, also expressed an interest in what is purported to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Europe, on the outskirts of Belgrade. The temple is believed to have been built by refugees from the Russian Buddhist region of Kalmykia.

Seagal said he would like to assess the validity of these claims and start restoration works.

“I am researching the story of the Kalmyk people and I have seen some of the documents,” he said. “If it’s true then I would love to get the job done as long as I get the ‘OK’ from the Serbian Prime Minister.”