Milla Jovovich On Resident Evil And Her Ultraviolet Beef
Our set interview with today's ultimate female action star.
Although her filmography reflects a career of carefully chosen roles -- Joan of Arc was a noble gamble, surely not a safe choice as far as Hollywood actresses go -- Jovovich seems content with, and energized by, the niche of tough, sexy, and tormented action heroines she's fallen into of late.
Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element
Consider the trajectory of Milla Jovovich's career to date. From inauspicious beginnings in the multiple Golden Raspberry-nominated Return to the Blue Lagoon (her first big starring role, as one of two castaway kids growing up on an island), Jovovich has built a career of dabbling in movies large and small, in period dramas (Chaplin), quirky indies (Dummy) and cult classics (Dazed and Confused) alike. But it was 1997's The Fifth Element, Luc Besson's celebrated science fiction cult classic, that gave us our first glimpse of Jovovich's potential as an action heroine; who could forget her alien superwoman Leeloo, guns blazing and karate chopping all over the galaxy in an outfit of strategically-placed medical bandages designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier? With her delicate looks, steely gaze, and the rare ability to make all-out action and weapons handling by a dramatic actor actually believable, it seemed only natural then that Jovovich assume the mantle of the foremost female ass-kicker in the movies; once Paul W.S. Anderson adapted Capcom's Resident Evil game into the profitable first film in the series, Jovovich's place in action cinema was cemented.
With her third turn as the zombie-battling T-Virus survivor Alice approaching (Resident Evil: Extinction hits theaters September 21), Jovovich takes obvious comfort in the role for which she has twice before leveled a lethal combination of guns, fists, and feet at countless undead humans, Dobermans, and superhuman enemies. Her Alice, clad this time in a getup of army surplus shorts and a sun-beaten duster, wielding traditional Nepalese Khukuri knives and pistols holstered at her thighs, cuts a cross-cultural iconic figure in the barren desert wasteland of future Las Vegas that, not coincidentally, calls to mind the loner gunslinger heroes of the Wild West. Thus, she takes a bit of inspiration from some of the greatest cowboy toughs to ever grace the screen. "I would like to say [I'm playing] more of a Clint Eastwood than a [Charles] Bronson," Jovovich told us during roundtable interviews on Extinction's Mexico City set. "I've been trying to play it just as natural as I can possibly make this scenario."
Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction
In Resident Evil: Extinction, Jovovich's Alice is once again the only hope of a dwindling population of humans who are now being hunted by legions of the bloodthirsty undead. Like the typical antihero of a Western, Alice is compelled to defend the lives of innocents, all the while being hunted by the sinister scientists of the Umbrella Corporation, who are cloning her in hopes of harnessing her growing superpowers. More so than in the previous two films, Alice is becoming a leader and protector of the uninfected, though by now the prospects of the survivors are far bleaker than they were when we first saw Alice wandering through the Umbrella Corp.'s underground Hive laboratories. "All three movies are 360 degrees from each other, which is great -- different looks, different characters," Jovovich said. "I think more than anything, you have [Alice] really kind of innocent in the first movie, and now she's more hard, and more sad, and a little bit more...not defeated, but this is life; there is no future for her."
In Extinction, Alice joins a small band of survivors crossing the Las Vegas desert, where she meets up with Resident Evil: Apocalypse buddies Carlos (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps). Before they head to a rumored safe haven in Alaska, they'll have to contend with a Hitchcockian horde of undead crows -- good thing Alice's exposure to the T-Virus has endowed her with all new skills. "Well, she gets very?psychic thingies," Jovovich excitedly shared. "A little Carrie-ish -- I'm trying not to do the Carrie thing obviously, trying to do my own little thing. But yeah, she bursts everything into flames and stuff. It's really cool! It's great for me because I didn't have to do so many stunt sequences! It's more like, she bursts things into flames, so it's really useful against the birds and things. There's a lot of them everywhere -- just (gestures) poof!"