Best known for her bandaged costume in The Fifth Element, apart from her adrenaline-pumping action sequences in the Resident Evil series, Milla Jovovich is back once again.
This time she reprises her role as Alice in the third series of Resident Evil: Extinction. An actress, a model, a fashion designer and a musician, she’s all this and more. BT catches up with the star for an exclusive interview. Here she talks about her work, life and impending motherhood.
How did you originally become a part of this project?
My younger brother was a big fan of the game and we used to play all the time together. I thought it would be fun to be in these movies that were his favourite game so I asked my agent if they were making Resident Evil films and found out they were so I went and auditioned.
Why do you keep coming back to this character?
I love action films and I’ve always loved sci-fi. I never thought that it would end up being this many films, but at the same time it’s fun for me. I think it’s been a great and amazing part of my life.
How has your character Alice evolved throughout the films?
She definitely started out much more innocent to everything. We were finding out as she found out what was going on in the story. Through time she’s gained much experience and met people she really cares about.
In the third movie she grows a lot, because she has to sacrifice herself to make sure the people she loves don’t get hurt. It’s a big change from the first film. She’s also changed with me. I’ve grown seven years through this whole process. I think if you grow, your character grows too.
Have you taken a different approach to her as you’ve gotten more intimate with the character?
Definitely. Each time I’ve played her there’s been small changes, away from script changes, but in the way she is and the way she communicates with people. I always try to change it up a little bit each film.
In what way have the movies benefited from working with different directors?
It really makes the franchise more interesting, because each film has its own world and its own feeling. That makes it its own kind of count, rather than each film looking the same and feeling the same. You’ve got three different points of viewing the world, of the characters, of the game. It makes it fresh and different for the audience.
How would you describe Russell as a director?
Russell for me was a real joy to be around, especially because he’s got so much energy. He’s such a kid when he’s on set, always running around with so much enthusiasm.
When you’re working in such difficult conditions like we were on this film, it’s really important to have somebody there to motivate you to do your best and he really was that great motivational factor because he was working harder than anybody. He even ended up going to the hospital for dehydration because we were filming in the desert in 145 degree weather. He really made us want to do our best because he was trying to do his best.
What do you like about the horror/thriller genre?
First of all I love doing crazy things, especially in controlled environments where it’s 95 per cent safe. I wouldn’t dare to run down buildings or jump off high places, be on wires anywhere else.
To be able to work with such incredible trainers, to learn to use new weapons, practice martial arts, which I love, it’s a real plus for me. I get a chance to work with the best people in the industry and it’s challenging. It keeps me in shape and I get to go into this other world. I get to be a superhero, which of course would be fun for anybody.
There are great special effects in this movie. Did that interfere with your acting at all?
Not really. Of course it takes a stretch of the imagination to be able to see what everything is going to be, because when we’re shooting we don’t actually get to see what’s going on. At the same time it’s acting and a lot of times actors have to put themselves in situations in their own minds that don’t really exist.
In what way do you relate to the character of Alice?
I really have a lot of respect for Alice, because she embodies a lot of things that I personally would love to have in my own personality. She’s strong. She’s decisive.
She really takes action when she feels something and I think a lot of times in our own lives its difficult to really go for it. I can be, especially in my own personal life, very indecisive even when it comes to deciding what restaurant to go to or business decisions. It’s so hard for me. I think about it so much, to actually be able to go out and help people the way she does. And of course I hope in my own life to implement some of her hands on ability to fix problems, whether it’s making my house greener, trying to help the environment around me, even in the smallest ways possible.
What type of emotions is Alice experiencing when she meets up with the convoy of survivors?
What is happening in the film is Alice has been tracking the convoy to make sure that if anything happens to them she can help, but to stay far enough away from them that her superpowers get out of control she doesn’t hurt anybody. She’s very scared that everybody could be dead, because she sees these strange crows flying and she feels that something’s wrong. There’s also a major fear that while trying to help them she will hurt them. There’s a major battle going on inside of her whether she should stay or not, whether she should help or not.
How did your modelling career evolve into an acting career?
My mom was an actress in Russia, where I was born. It was something I always knew I wanted to do, to follow in her footsteps. I started acting when I was very young, when I was nine-years-old. I did my first movie at eleven and that kind of fawned my modelling career because in some sense I needed to get new acting headshots done and the photographer had them put make-up on me at the end of the shoot and was really shocked that I looked so “grown up” in pictures.
Then I was taken by an agency and started working as a model. Acting’s always been my first love. Everything’s benefited everything else.
You are a true entrepreneur, model, actress, musician, fashion designer. How do you decide what project to work on next?
It’s all very organic. It really depends on how I’m feeling and what is interesting to me in the moment. I find it doesn’t take much of a thought process. You just do what you’re naturally interested in. If an interesting job comes along, I’ll do it, whether it’s a movie or a modelling job.
My fashion line is something that I started a few years ago and it pretty much includes my love for style and my love for clothing as a woman. Also, I’m an artist. I love to draw and I get to draw the designs... It’s all things I enjoy doing on my own, which thankfully translates into a great career.
What upcoming projects do you have?
I’m actually going at the end of the month to do a small cameo in my friend’s film, actually the godfather of my child, Wim Wenders. I’m going to be playing a pregnant superhero for him in his new movie. I was supposed to do a movie this year, but because of my pregnancy I had to cancel it, but maybe we’re going to do it in the spring called The Winter Queen. It’s based on a novel by a famous Russian author named Boris Akunin. I’m having a baby in November so that’s about it.