June 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

OU lecturer has her act together in film roles

Actress Milica Govich is a special lecturer in theater arts at Oakland University. (Milica Govich)

She kept on acting. Even when the camera wasn’t on her. And Shailene Woodley thanked her for that.

Milica Govich, a special lecturer in theater arts at Oakland University, landed the part of the mother of Woodley’s character’s boyfriend, Gus, in “The Fault in Our Stars,” which called for some pretty emotional scenes. And when the camera pulled away from Govich for Woodley’s big moment, Govich stayed right in character, helping Woodley feel at ease.

“It’s not standard in Hollywood to keep acting when the camera’s not on you, but I did it and she thanked me for it,” Govich says on the phone Monday from New York, where she attended the film’s premiere.

Govich, who goes by Mila, doesn’t have much screen time in the film, but nearly every scene she’s in is wrenching.

“It’s draining, but you can turn around and laugh and drop it off a few seconds later,” she says. “If you’re an actor you have to learn how to accept those emotions quickly, intensely, but you don’t live there.”

Instead, Govich lives in Birmingham. Born in Ohio, she moved to Metro Detroit 15 years ago from New York and began teaching at Oakland while also landing film gigs. Over the years she’s appeared in Jeff Daniels’ “Supersucker,” the TV show “Hung,” “Trust” with Clive Owen, and the recent horror film “Jinn.”

A few years back, a casting agent in Pittsburgh placed her in an episode of the TV series “Three Rivers.” When “The Fault in Our Stars” was set to film there, the agent thought of Govich. Govich drove to Pittsburgh and won the role. Even though she wasn’t fully aware of the book’s popularity, she gave it her all.

“In theater you have weeks to work on (a role). In film, really what you come into an audition with, that’s your performance,” Govich says. “You’re hired for what you did at that audition, so they almost want a finished performance at that audition.”

Govich also just finished working on “Eloise,” the horror film starring Eliza Dushku that’s been filming in Detroit. In it she plays an evil nurse.

“There’s blood all over the place. I think it’s so cool to go from Gus’s mom to this Nurse Ratchett horror film,” Govich says. “It shows range, yeah.”

tlong@detroitnews.com
twitter.com/toomuchTomLong