‘I’m Rus­sian: ev­ery­thing will set me off!’

Movie star Milla may be get­ting re­flec­tive at 41 - but she still has plenty of in­ner fire

Sunderland Echo - - Feature - By Kerri-Ann Roper [email protected] Twit­ter: @sun­der­lan­de­cho

Ev­ery­one keeps talk­ing about how nice Milla Jovovich is. And not your typ­i­cal, fake Hol­ly­wood nice, com­plete with stiff smile and re­hearsed an­swers, but nice in a gen­uine, girl-next-door way. Some­one you’d want to talk to for hours – about any­thing and ev­ery­thing.

She even puts her nine- year-old daugh­ter, Ever, on loud speaker, when she calls mid-in­ter­view to tell her mum she passed a run­ning test.

“Wow, that’s amaz­ing, I’m so proud of you,” Jovovich beams, be­fore turn­ing and mouthing that Ever’s now go­ing to ask to go to McDon­ald’s.

She’s not far off; Ever asks if she can “Please” go to an Amer­i­can pan­cake house, and af­ter scor­ing a yes, bel­lows down the phone, “By­eee, love you mama”, sound­ing elated.

It’s not ev­ery day a Hol­ly­wood star shares such a sweet, can­did mo­ment – es­pe­cially one with a bil­lion-dol­lar fran­chise un­der her belt in the form of Res­i­dent Evil.

Based on the video game of the same name, Jovovich, 41, is back as kick-ass lead­ing lady Alice, in the sixth, and re­port­edly fi­nal, of­fer­ing in the zom­bie-fight­ing ac­tion series, aptly ti­tled Res­i­dent Evil: The Fi­nal Chap­ter.

It’s a suc­cess story that’s grown over 15 years, since the 2002 de­but, and while it’s been a bumpy ride for her on-screen char­ac­ter, fight­ing the cor­rupt Um­brella Cor­po­ra­tion and the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse, Jovovich says the jour­ney for her has been “or­ganic”.

“It started with a small Euro­pean, in­die ac­tion-hor­ror flick,” she says, sip­ping on a cup of tea.

“It seemed like I would have a great time mak­ing it. I was 24 years old, so still a very young adult, and I was hav­ing a good time. It was my favourite video game, and a fe­male-driven video game with zom­bies. I thought it was the coolest, dark­est most un­der­ground thing ever.”

The Fi­nal Chap­ter sees Alice joined by old favourites, like Ali Larter’s char­ac­ter Claire Red­field, as well as vil­lain and founder of the Um­brella Cor­po­ra­tion Dr Isaacs, played by Game Of Thrones’ Iain Glen.

Now, as she re­flects on the past decade and a half, Jovovich de­scribes say­ing farewell as “bit­ter­sweet”.

She met her hus­band, Bri­tish di­rec­tor Paul W.S. An­der­son on the set of the first film in 2002. They’re now mar­ried with two daugh­ters (as well as Ever, there’s Dashiel Edan, who turns two in April).

The lat­est movie was a real fam­ily af­fair, as Ever made her act­ing de­but as the Red Queen.

“It was un­for­get­table for me, the ex­pe­ri­ence of work-

ing with my child and my hus­band si­mul­ta­ne­ously was some­thing that needed to hap­pen,” says Jovovich.

“That was one of the main rea­sons I al­lowed her to be in the movie, be­cause I felt like it was such a spe­cial thing, and she is so good.”

If any­one can help Ever nav­i­gate the world of act­ing from a young age, it’s her mum.

Born in the Ukraine, “pretty much by ac­ci­dent”, to a Rus­sian mother and Ser­bian father, she spent her early years in Rus­sia (she still speaks the lan­guage). But the fam­ily left for Lon­don when Jovovich was five, be­fore set­tling per­ma­nently in Amer­ica.

“My dad is from Mon­tene­gro and my mother is from Moscow. I had a very re­al­is­tic up­bring­ing,” she says frankly.

“We moved to Amer­ica in 1981 and my par­ents were work­ing as house­keep­ers, you know my mom Galina was a big movie star in Rus­sia in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

“I guess I saw first­hand it doesn’t mat­ter what you are – you change your sit­u­a­tion and you start from zero.”

Aged just 12, Jovovich started a suc­cess­ful mod­el­ling ca­reer that’s seen her grace some of the most fa­mous cat­walks in the world. She’s also fronted cam­paigns for mas­sive brands, and in 2004 topped the Forbes list of the world’s rich­est su­per­mod­els.

It was largely her role in Luc Bes­son’s 1997 movie The Fifth Ele­ment, that cat­a­pulted her to act­ing star­dom.

Her early start in the in­dus­try means Jovovich had plenty of room to go off the rails, as many young stars have. But that never hap­pened.

“It’s been tough, you know, go­ing on all the au­di­tions as a kid and work­ing and try­ing to make your dreams come true, and some things come true and other things fall by the way­side,” she ad­mits.

“I’ve al­ways been very aware of my fail­ings, of the things I didn’t end up do­ing. Like my fash­ion line or my mu­sic ca­reer, and it re­ally hurts. It re­ally makes me feel like I didn’t do enough.

“And now I’m 41, that age where you start look­ing at your life, go­ing, ‘I should have achieved all of this by now’, and I have to be re­minded of the great things I have done, not the things I didn’t do.”

She cred­its An­der­son for be­ing her “ground­ing en­ergy”.

“He’s very calm, he’s very Bri­tish in that sense. He’s got that stiff up­per lip and he doesn’t let things af­fect him, or – at least – on the out­side,” she ex­plains.

“It’s good be­cause I’m Rus­sian and I’m like the op­po­site end of the spec­trum – ev­ery­thing will set me off!”

Dy­namic is def­i­nitely a word that comes to mind when you hear her talk, but you also get the sense Jovovich knows how to stay grounded, and doesn’t take her­self too se­ri­ously.

“I re­mem­ber on the third Res­i­dent Evil, I kept say­ing to Paul, ‘I need to be dirt­ier’, and he was like, ‘Calm down, you’re dirty enough’.

“So I went be­hind his back, and ev­ery time one of the crew cars left they kicked up this dust, and I’d run be­hind the car to get the dust on me,” Jovovich re­calls, laugh­ing.

“I have to say, I love to be cov­ered in dirt and blood, I think it does won­ders for my eyes.”

Res­i­dent Evil: The Fi­nal Chap­ter is re­leased on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 3

Ali Larter as Claire Red­field, Milla Jovovich as Alice / Ali­cia Mar­cus and Ruby Rose as Abi­gail in Res­i­dent Evil: The Fi­nal Chap­ter.

Milla Jovovich with her hus­band, di­rec­tor, Paul An­der­son.

Milla has starred in the Res­i­dent Evil series since it started in 2002.

Milla was first cat­a­pulted to star­dom in 1997’s The Fifth Ele­ment.

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