The people of Serbia have passionately embraced an out-of-work Canadian actor who once starred in an obscure TV show called Tropical Heat. A knock-off of Magnum P.I., Tropical Heat revolved around hero Nick Slaughter, and was broadcast in Serbia during the tumultuous final days of the Milosevic regime. The actor who played Slaughter, Rob Stewart, recently returned to Serbia to film a documentary about the show’s unlikely popularity and received a hero’s welcome:
The anticipation in Serbia had been building since March, when it was leaked to the press that Stewart would perform with a Serbian punk band at its 20th-anniversary concert. “It broke out all over the papers that Nick Slaughter was coming to Serbia,” says Stewart. “It was overwhelming.”
Stewart’s Serbian host, prominent political activist Srdja Popovic – whom Stewart had contacted through Facebook – says that after a national newspaper published a photo of him with Stewart, “within 15 minutes, I got 300 calls – everybody asking, ‘Will you introduce me to Nick Slaughter?’ and ‘I want a photo with Nick Slaughter.’ I couldn’t live my normal life.” . . . .
What baffled the filmmakers were the emotional outpourings they found during their visit – what the Serbian newspapers dubbed Slaughtermania. “These huge guys with tears in their eyes saying, ‘You’re my hero,’” says Stewart. “It was the emotional context for these people: what they went through in the 1990s while this became their favourite show.
The whole hilarious story, complete with a guest appearance by Canada’s ambassador to Serbia, is here.