Milla Jovovich On Resident Evil And Her Ultraviolet Beef

Our set interview with today's ultimate female action star.

by | August 13, 2007 | Comments

Meeting Milla Jovovich was the highlight of RT’s visit to the set of Resident Evil: Extinction, and not just because the impish actress is as energetic as a live wire. She also spilled tons of info about her character Alice and story points from the upcoming sequel, and spoke candidly about her disappointing experience making last year’s Ultraviolet. Read on!

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!”

Another new addition to the mythology of the Resident Evil films is a plotline involving dozens of Alice clones, created and trained by the evil scientists of the Umbrella Corp. Unfortunately for Umbrella, none of the replicas are able to survive the very same deadly trials that the original Alice went through in the first two films. Those scenes, however, should make for some fun viewing by Resident Evil fans, who will see a lot of familiar action sequences — with different results, of course.

“Well. I don’t die in this one,” Jovovich teased. “I shouldn’t tell you guys that.”

Jovovich explained the scenario: “There’s like a whole scene where they’re dumping these clones of Alice, because they’ve got her DNA and they’ve recreated all of these clones, and they send each one to try and get the real Alice again, one that’s cooperative. So they try and have selective memory choices; they send her through the glass corridor to try and escape the laser grid, then they send her kind of on the same steps she took in the first one, but each time the clone dies, she doesn’t survive. So you have all of these clones just being dumped in this pit, and all these zombies…it’s really cool!”



Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction

As an actress who likes to give her own input into a film, it’s been difficult for Jovovich to give her all into a performance that, in the final edit, gets lost under the guidance of what she may consider an ill-fitted director. While the original Resident Evil is her favorite thus far (and was directed by off-screen partner Anderson), Jovovich is not shy about discussing the shortcomings of the second installment, by first-time director Alexander Witt. “I did some really dangerous stunts that I felt like you didn’t really see what was happening,” she explained. “What we did was insane. And when I saw the freaking shot, I was like, you can’t even tell that that’s me, you can’t even tell how high I am, you can’t tell…and I’m telling everyone I jumped off a six story building! So, whatever. I had my little problems with the second one. Saying that, I think as [it fits into the] trilogy it’s great. It’s an exciting film. I changed a LOT in the dubbing; that was one of my biggest problems with the director of the second one. I just felt like he wasn’t in the moment.”

Last year’s Ultraviolet was similarly problematic for the actress. The tale of a futuristic vampire heroine defending a boy from evil forces was a highly stylized but incoherent affair with great action sequences, but garnered the ire of critics and ended up with a seven percent Tomatometer rating. When asked about her experience making that film, Jovovich was equally frank about director Kurt Wimmer. “Listen. All I can tell you is I was completely locked out from the editing room, which was unfortunate, because I was promised that I wouldn’t be,” she began. “On both Resident Evils I had a lot of input into the movie, before it was finished…more on the first than on the second. But with Ultraviolet I was very depressed, because [Wimmer] was a real cad, in the sense that he kind of reneged on his promises and didn’t allow me to see my performances.”



Milla Jovovich in Ultraviolet

Sometimes actors make subtle changes while filming a scene that nobody else might notice. Jovovich thinks that having that sort of knowledge, and trusting an actor to know their own performance, are important tools for a director to use. “I said listen, I don’t want to step on your feet but there are certain things that I did, that I would remember. Like, you know in that scene, take three — there’s just a little movement of my eye, that’s cool in the close-up. Or whatever, you know…it’s unfortunate, because that’s the perfect example of a movie that I spent a year of my life preparing for and shooting, and once you see it, you’re like…ok…on to the next!”

Judging from Jovovich’s rapport with Extinction director Russell Mulcahy, it seems the actress is already more satisfied with the third film in the Resident Evil franchise. A seasoned filmmaker, Mulcahy (Highlander) is the most experienced director to take control of the Resident Evil series yet. On set, Mulcahy would deftly keep his buoyant star in character with frequent reminders (“You’re in the moment!”) and has guided the look and feel of the film in a more visually arresting direction than its subterranean and city-locked predecessors. “The way he’s shooting everything is so cool,” Jovovich gushed. “He does all these dirty shots — like pans, lots of wide shots, really beautiful, taking advantage of the desert and this incredible set that they built. It’s really cool, it looks different. I think the camera work is much better in this one than it’s been in either of the two movies…no offense to [Anderson and Witt], but I think it looks really great.”

Take a look yourself at the trailer for Resident Evil: Extinction here to see what sun-baked desert zombie goodness you’re in for when the film hits in September. Stay tuned for more set interviews with Ali Larter and Oded Fehr in the coming days!

Tag Cloud

video Elton John nature elevated horror television NYCC Sneak Peek Spike Binge Guide Winners ABC renewed TV shows Fall TV RT History adventure game show docudrama dramedy Rocketman Pirates Disney streaming service Country SDCC Creative Arts Emmys TV renewals MTV Election BBC Comedy Tarantino Epix green book social media CW Seed TIFF Disney Channel Disney Syfy Crackle X-Men TruTV CMT The Walking Dead APB quibi American Society of Cinematographers composers vampires mockumentary Fantasy politics First Look hispanic Horror facebook Spectrum Originals Extras Nat Geo Rom-Com ITV GIFs Song of Ice and Fire ghosts GoT true crime San Diego Comic-Con serial killer Adult Swim Music Heroines Netflix Valentine's Day OWN Best and Worst Trailer Biopics game of thrones Superheroe psychological thriller 2015 Awards Tour latino Pixar Quiz batman slashers MCU Year in Review IFC Films TCA stand-up comedy Comedy Central MSNBC FXX foreign transformers Apple TV+ dceu GLAAD The CW doctor who Ghostbusters First Reviews DC streaming service Mindy Kaling revenge Pet Sematary DirecTV Animation Comic Book Apple canceled Thanksgiving diversity Drama FOX hist Tumblr Television Academy Spring TV TV Hulu Lionsgate TCM cars YouTube Premium supernatural WGN Freeform HBO Family cooking Rocky Bravo zombies USA 24 frames Pop Fox News spanish language comiccon Trophy Talk romance National Geographic Comics on TV Cosplay aliens spider-man USA Network BET Certified Fresh TNT streaming Red Carpet Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Amazon Prime DC Comics Sundance Rock Starz See It Skip It NBC Video Games Amazon History Universal disaster Musicals kids Warner Bros. book Polls and Games thriller zombie robots crime drama toy story TLC Shudder Lucasfilm space Calendar RT21 Brie Larson DGA TCA 2017 Writers Guild of America political drama Arrowverse Masterpiece award winner Summer SXSW unscripted The Witch natural history President blaxploitation dragons based on movie crossover travel historical drama comic cops zero dark thirty Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2017 crime Star Wars Logo Lifetime miniseries sequel Interview Action halloween Grammys war Sundance Now joker cancelled TV shows ESPN witnail finale Mary Tyler Moore canceled TV shows VICE 71st Emmy Awards Musical Western Food Network strong female leads Dark Horse Comics crime thriller singing competition Kids & Family TBS Captain marvel Stephen King golden globes YouTube Red FX Tomatazos Cartoon Network Reality Competition Disney Plus Nominations richard e. Grant cats Shondaland E3 IFC animated Emmy Nominations Toys WarnerMedia theme song spy thriller CNN what to watch Awards YouTube discovery cults Star Trek Schedule Super Bowl Acorn TV ABC Family YA DC Universe Countdown south america sports 007 Film Festival Sci-Fi E! Photos Anna Paquin Podcast Film Mudbound medical drama Christmas technology Ellie Kemper sitcom cancelled television cancelled spain talk show Peacock Oscars Martial Arts Marathons 21st Century Fox A&E boxoffice dc 45 Trivia cinemax Winter TV Black Mirror jamie lee curtis adaptation LGBTQ Marvel Ovation Mary Poppins Returns Opinion The Arrangement anime free movies Showtime Premiere Dates mutant LGBT ratings police drama Chernobyl Walt Disney Pictures Reality HBO Max Emmys cancelled TV series El Rey movies Columbia Pictures CBS All Access Mary poppins Nickelodeon SundanceTV biography justice league Pride Month AMC Infographic teaser Britbox Superheroes anthology tv talk TV Land Amazon Prime Video Sony Pictures Paramount Network series Character Guide Women's History Month binge psycho PBS VH1 period drama children's TV BBC America Set visit Cannes harry potter spinoff Watching Series PaleyFest Mystery 2019 Holidays Teen festivals Vudu Paramount CBS 20th Century Fox casting Box Office science fiction New York Comic Con 2016 Esquire 2018