Milla Jovovich has been in the acting game for just over twenty years,
with a resume that includes such notable films as THE RETURN TO THE
BLUE LAGOON, DAZED AND CONFUSED, HE GOT GAME and THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
But it's her role as the confidant yet tortured Alice in the RESIDENT
EVIL series that has catapulted her to worldwide notoriety - and
transformed her from a waifish model to a butt-kicking geek goddess.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jovovich on the Toronto set of RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, where she proved to be that most pleasant of surprises: a completely humble and friendly celebrity without a hint of ego or superiority. We talked about the challenges of making this new RESIDENT EVIL in 3D, as well as where the series is set to go from here...
MILLA JOVOVICH INTERVIEW
Can you tell us what has been the most challenging scene so far? That you can talk about...
Milla: Well, I guess I can talk about anything with you guys since you can't say anything. (Laughs) It's a nice relief, actually, because it's so hard to have to edit yourself all the time. So far, it's been a challenging film overall. I have to say, every day has its different type of challenges. We've done quite a lot of stunt sequences, and even walk-and-talk sequences, when they're in the storm drains, when there's stuff falling on us- which was pretty much foam rocks and hot chocolate. (Laughs) We have this whole tunnel sequence where we have to crawl through the tunnels and I'm still sore because it was literally all day. Especially making it look worse than it is, trying to sell that you're in this tight space, so you're all tense... You know, all the fight sequences, all the clone, ninja stuff has been a challenge. Having to play each of the clones. I've gotten blisters all over my hands from shooting guns, because we've just been shooting all day long. I'm like "Wow, it's kind of like playing guitar! You build up your calluses!"
Is it more challenging because it's in 3D and it takes longer to shoot?
Milla: Definitely, I mean the Phantom's a nightmare. But actually, a little quick fact about the Phantom - I don't know if anybody knows this but the Phantoms were built by Nasa to film rockets taking off. So you could see stress in the metal. Phantom's quite the star of the show, and acts like one. It's been kind of a trip working with the Phantom, because you really have to change your performance. Like, I've really become super aware watching playback, to kind of see what happening and adjust my performance. The first time I saw my playback on Phantom, I was horrified. It was this scene where I'm running with my shotguns, I pull out the shotguns and shoot, throw the guns, they're empty, and it's so slow - and I usually love slow-motion - but this was like, you see your face wobbling as you run, and you're like "Oh my god!" He's really picking up everything. I had to go back and do the run heroic-looking.
The movies are loaded with creatures and monsters - what's your favorite in this one?
Milla: My favorite so far is The Axe Man. Well, The Executioner. We call him The Axe Man just because everybody here worked on SILENT HILL. (Laughs) The Executioner is this really great 8-foot-tall boxer named Ray. He's really cool, just an amazing figure. Just this big, strong dude with a big ol' axe and a big ol' pounding hammer on the other side, with a bag over his head and a beer belly, just nasty. He attacks Claire and I in the prison showers.
Is that a practical costume, or is that going to be CG?
Milla: No, practical. All the zombies and Executioner were done practically, and we'll add some stuff in CG. But there is a lot of CG in this movie. It's hard with 3D because the medium itself makes action that much more difficult because you see depth and you see dimension, so a lot of the tricks that you do on normal films just don't work. Throwing a punch, kicking someone. I mean, we actually had to kick Kim Coates! (Laughs) It's been a while since I've seen another actor hit physically, you actually have to make contact because in 3D you can tell there's space in between.
Was having your own franchise something you had in mind before you came on board the very first one, or is it something that just came with it.
Milla: No, I definitely never thought - this was a small European action-horror flick I did because my little brother was a big fan of the games. We didn't expect it. I think that's also why it's been as good as it's been for this franchise, we love what we're doing, and every script is a continuation of this world that we've sort of been living in for the last ten years, and we're constantly talking about it, and constantly going "Wouldn't this be great? What about this scene?"
Are you a gamer?
Milla: No. I mean, I can be a gamer at times, but I'm more into "The Sims". But since the baby... I can't play a game, I get way too into stuff, you know, when I first get it I'm like "Ahhhh!". Then four months later I'm in Sims World. So yes, since the baby I've had to lay off the video games. And plus, when I have time on my hands, I like to do other stuff.
Like music for example? Is music something you're going to implement into this movie as well?
Milla: Potentially. I don't like to make certain plans about anything, it has to be organic in a sense. Same way these films have turned out. It's not like they tell us "Go write another RESIDENT EVIL." It's like, Paul will get an idea, start blocking out the idea, and the producer will call and say they want to make another one, and he's like "Oh good, because I have some good ideas!" So it's always been very organic in that sense, and yeah, if I can pull something together with a song and meet with some friends when I get back home and see if we can do something interesting, then yeah...
Have you guys talked about another one after this? I think one of your numerous tweets hinted at it.
Milla: Of course, we always talk about the future of RESIDENT EVIL, because it's the world. I mean, when I finished this script I was like "What happens next?!"