Daily Southtown (Chicago) May 9, 1997

Transcribed by Michael P. Hayes

The World's Forgotten Boy

Title: Jovovich Brings Tender Element To Film
Authors: Joey Berlin and Jeff Shore (Copley News Service)

	Milla Jovovich doesn't mind if you think she's a bad person.  
"Sometimes, depending on what mode I'm in, I might give a bad impression 
to people," Jovovich says.  "Of course, sometimes people meet me and 
they think I'm the nicest, coolest person in the world."
	Wearing a strange, frumpy bowl-flip haircut that would only
look good on a supermodel like her, Jovovich displays such a surprising
sense of confidence and poise it's easy to forget how young she is.
But her endearing and flirty giggle, flippant remarks, carefree attitude
and propensity to vocalize sound effects ("The drums go boom thump boom
thump!") are solid reminders of Jovovich's tender years.
	Born in 1975 in the Ukraine, Jovovich first found fame for her
starring role in "The Return to Blue Lagoon"[sic].  Since then, she has
had some work as an actress (most notably a distinctive non-speaking 
role in "Dazed and Confused") and spent much of her time on fashion show
runways and in magazine layouts as a highly paid model.  But in her 
latest screen role as a hyper-intelligent alien in director Luc Besson's
stylish mega-budget action film "The Fifth Element", Jovovich hopes
to jump-start her acting career.
	Jovovich clearly took on a staggering challenge in "The Fifth
Element."  Not only does she have to hold her own opposite screen giants
Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman in a $100 million production, but her 
character is a being from another world with tremendous physical strength
and wisdom beyond our comprehension.  And she doesn't speak English -- 
just some bizarre, unique language.
	To prepare for "The Fifth Element," Jovovich tried to "let go
of human habits."  She trained in karate, boxing, ballet, gymnastics,
weightlifting and even studied with movement coaches.  Mentally she
was able to "clean out a lot of excess garbage," while physically she
learned the finer art of kicking butt.
	The verbal challenge was even greater.  Pushed to tears at times
by the confusion of trying to grasp a new, weird language, Jovovich spent
four months rehearsing her dialogue.  Besson didn't simply make stuff up
as he went along -- he wrote an entire dictionary full of words and 
asked her to memorize it.  By the end, Jovovich and Besson were writing
notes back and forth in their own private language.
	It was a far cry from their initial meeting.  "I was dressed up,"
remembers Jovovich.  "He thought I was cool, but just too New York-'90s
chick.  Then, a few months later, I just happened to be at a hotel having
breakfast in jeans and a T-shirt.  Luc was at the pool chilling out, and
I'm like 'Hi, I'm the girl that didn't get the part.'  He looked and saw
the character for a split second because my hair was everywhere and I
looked a little bit like an animal.  I wasn't trying to look sophisticated
and be something."
	Now that her "dream role" in "The Fifth Element" is completed,
Jovovich isn't sitting around, pining away and waiting for the phone to
ring.  She's right in the middle of recording her second album, promising
something very eclectic.  "At this point, it's acoustic bass - guitar - 
vocal," Jovovich says.  "It's a mix between acoustic and hardcore and
space and Frank Sinatra and a bit of Edith Piaf and cabaret."
	With her music career and modeling jobs, Jovovich can afford to 
be picky about the films she chooses to audition for.  "Even if it means
I do one filem every few years, I'd rather do that.  Particularly after
doing something like this, my next film has to be just as great of an
experience because I can model to make money."
	And if anybody doesn't like it, too bad.