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

dc gangster diversity Holiday anime Starz Trivia cats telelvision TCA 2017 Set visit Showtime kids Valentine's Day action-comedy trophy ABC Signature Quiz Star Wars Celebration high school screen actors guild chucky die hard all-time BET Awards Turner Classic Movies American Society of Cinematographers monster movies finale CNN crime thriller Fall TV TCA Awards Acorn TV serial killer Tarantino Paramount Plus Hear Us Out Universal Pictures 2019 Fox Searchlight Best Picture a nightmare on elm street canceled TV shows Apple mockumentary Image Comics Fox News IFC concert Certified Fresh Cartoon Network toronto halloween Character Guide OneApp Spike Crackle talk show Song of Ice and Fire ABC Schedule ViacomCBS indie indiana jones Crunchyroll obituary versus worst justice league werewolf australia TNT aapi YouTube Red Sony Pictures Infographic Tags: Comedy Countdown Marathons Mindy Kaling french Neflix Election BBC Winners RT21 jamie lee curtis E! cartoon Focus Features sitcom Fantasy TLC Western book directors vampires stand-up comedy Ellie Kemper 73rd Emmy Awards king kong Legendary ratings Geeked Week mcc adaptation Avengers jurassic park X-Men sag awards The Walt Disney Company The Purge cops New York Comic Con Comedy Central adenture 2020 disaster football cinemax sequels unscripted summer preview Cannes Tumblr HFPA elevated horror Captain marvel leaderboard Netflix Christmas movies book adaptation stop motion Syfy comic books space BBC One slasher Thanksgiving target twilight transformers Ghostbusters Comics on TV psychological thriller Vudu DC Universe Podcast hollywood children's TV royal family Cosplay Amazon hispanic cooking Hallmark Christmas movies Disney Plus dramedy films Drama Creative Arts Emmys HBO Go Discovery Channel CW Seed Marvel Television rt labs robots wonder woman Film Festival criterion YouTube Premium olympics See It Skip It spanish language binge NBC RT History technology free movies Hulu WarnerMedia interviews target scene in color The Arrangement spinoff DGA DC Comics Instagram Live Calendar Disney+ Disney Plus comics singing competition marvel comics cults game of thrones TruTV blaxploitation witnail nbcuniversal art house TV movies scene in color film series PlayStation spain Horror anthology natural history kaiju TV renewals biopic Shondaland Emmy Nominations Peacock Best Actor DirecTV Musicals period drama comic book movies AMC Lionsgate italian Pacific Islander Year in Review women Opinion Country Hallmark Native Summer Binge Guide comic book movie Black History Month dogs Hollywood Foreign Press Association stoner nfl CBS documentary science fiction child's play Polls and Games hist cancelled television SundanceTV Paramount Pictures Chernobyl Emmys Anna Paquin BAFTA television genre true crime 90s Paramount Network USA Network name the review dexter Oscar spider-verse Mary Tyler Moore Paramount international 2018 spy thriller Awards Tour festival SXSW 2022 video feel good king arthur Spring TV NYCC mob Heroines TCA 2016 black comedy Teen Shudder San Diego Comic-Con Sundance TV comiccon game show Rom-Com vs. golden globe awards marvel cinematic universe cancelled TV shows Family adventure Elton John Action Martial Arts Pixar Amazon Studios IMDb TV Tomatazos political drama BET new star wars movies mission: impossible blockbuster foreign The Walking Dead summer TV preview TV posters TV One best Awards Holidays A&E sports Television Academy FXX universal monsters Pop critic resources james bond trailers series Disney Channel Trailer travel DC streaming service NBA parents Academy Awards Superheroes Arrowverse classics dceu Animation sopranos Spectrum Originals Mary poppins independent comic Rock MTV tv talk movies latino superhero Pirates know your critic festivals Biopics Photos El Rey golden globes Disney streaming service politics hidden camera video on demand Star Trek what to watch GLAAD obi wan harry potter streaming movies MCU Reality Competition GIFs popular HBO Max VH1 Broadway cancelled TV series Apple TV Plus Brie Larson YouTube streamig The CW Tokyo Olympics Lifetime Christmas movies scary suspense 94th Oscars 007 scene in color series dark Travel Channel batman social media scorecard laika supernatural Wes Anderson Dark Horse Comics Best Director 99% Reality Mary Poppins Returns screenings Sneak Peek Trophy Talk Christmas japan Fargo Sundance LGBT Rocketman Turner Interview summer TV emmy awards TV Land boxing Amazon Prime Video Comedy Nominations black Indigenous 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Columbia Pictures President GoT psycho CBS All Access romance renewed TV shows 72 Emmy Awards The Academy Walt Disney Pictures Box Office quibi Funimation documentaries new york teaser heist movie 20th Century Fox Stephen King cancelled rt archives WGN lord of the rings police drama 4/20 legend Star Wars remakes FOX First Look superman 93rd Oscars slashers Winter TV facebook Disney PBS Warner Bros. discovery docudrama japanese live event Television Critics Association VICE dreamworks Best and Worst ITV SXSW LGBTQ OWN Red Carpet E3 medical drama Baby Yoda 79th Golden Globes Awards strong female leads Masterpiece animated APB Rocky richard e. Grant ghosts Black Mirror green book debate The Witch CMT A24 nature composers MGM fresh Bravo rotten Premiere Dates streaming scene in color archives halloween tv ID Pride Month basketball Alien Apple TV+ 2021 Sci-Fi 24 frames 1990s Lifetime reviews Nat Geo young adult FX romantic comedy Toys Comic-Con@Home 2021 71st Emmy Awards HBO 21st Century Fox deadpool dragons Endgame Classic Film Freeform crossover Exclusive Video Watching Series broadcast movie PaleyFest MSNBC zombie news Extras Comic Book war Universal Grammys historical drama fast and furious blockbusters rotten movies we love Mystery National Geographic miniseries south america Netflix Kids & Family Prime Video saw Oscars comedies 2015 reboot joker theme song Super Bowl zombies toy story Mudbound christmas movies thriller based on movie kong SDCC Britbox spanish canceled casting BBC America TBS Sundance Now Video Games ESPN Women's History Month Marvel Studios cars Film rt labs critics edition Pet Sematary Best Actress venice new zealand doctor who sequel Food Network hispanic heritage month scary movies pirates of the caribbean Writers Guild of America Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sony award winner Tubi Musical rom-coms franchise live action breaking bad FX on Hulu crime drama TCM 2017 Nickelodeon First Reviews Lucasfilm Esquire TCA Winter 2020 45 zero dark thirty asian-american revenge prank AMC Plus spider-man Marvel crime Superheroe Adult Swim aliens razzies Pop TV mutant Epix docuseries boxoffice critics YA godzilla Ovation History TIFF VOD satire Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Logo IFC Films worst movies Music USA South by Southwest Film Festival Amazon Prime ABC Family biography