Femme Fatales (US) August 2002

See No Evil
By Chuck Wagner

Milla Jovovich Becomes The Unlikely Heroine In Resident Evil

With a genre pedigree including science fiction (THE FIFTH ELEMENT) and action epics (THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC), Milla Jovovich is ready for another frontier -- video games. In Paul W.S. Anderson's adaptation of RESIDENT EVIL, she gets that opportunity -- and a chance to really kick zombie buttocks!

"My little brother thinks I'm God now," Jovovich says of reaction to her accepting the role of Alice, a woman who awakens from a gas agent to discover that the world needs saving from a bio- technology hive stricken by a zombie-producing accident. "He would come to visit me over the summertime and we would literally play Resident Evil four or five hours a day. To him, I was the coolest girl in the world! I mean, you can't get any cooler than that! So, I went in telling the director, `I have to do this movie. I'm the only actress in Hollywood that can do this movie.' And I got the part!

"What was good about the role -- apart from the fact that I get to do really cool stunts and look really hardcore and tough and sexy -- was that it was interesting to play a character that wakes up with no memory of who she is or where she is and who gets sucked into this whole debacle underground. As she gets her memory back, she realizes that she's got some talents that she didn't know about that have to do with kicking things in the head and killing. So she ends up taking over the whole group and leading them out of this horrendous situation."

With legions of teen boys salivating, no doubt there's talk of a sequel.

"Well, listen," she says slyly, her gorgeous eyes flashing, "we have the best story for a sequel, but we have to see how the movie does before anybody's gonna give us the money to make a sequel, but I'll just give you a hint. Imagine G.T.A. (Grand Theft Auto) only in Raccoon City and of course rather than real people, we have to hit zombies, and we have to get from one end of the city to the next to escape. And that's just one element of the next film."

And what of Michelle Rodriguez? With a resume that includes GIRLFIGHT and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, Rodriguez is certainly no action slouch.

"Well, as of today, Michelle thinks I'm a complete freak!" Jovovich laughs. "And I think she's pretty freaky herself. But she was really funny to work with because for me, I'm a real girl. I like to shoot guns, I like to wear lipstick, and Michelle is just more of the shooting guns type. She doesn't like to wear lipstick, so I would always scare her -- every time she'd piss me off I'd just get lipstick and say, `I'll mark you up.' She would holler, `Man, get away from me!' I'd be like, `Just come on, Michelle. Kiss me!' So it was very easy to freak her out.

"As long as I wasn't pushing any makeup into her face or trying to get her to wear some heels once in a while, it was fine... no, that's not true. During the flooded lab sequence, Michelle was having a great time spraying everybody with water, and we're already freezing enough, but she had this big plastic syringe that was floating around because the set's a labratory. And she takes this and starts squirting us, and it's like the Chinese water torture. It's not much, but just enough to get you really angry. And after you've done fifteen-and-a-half-hours in this flooded labratory, the last thing you need is Michelle Rodriguez squirting water in your face. So I got pretty pissed off at her, and actually we caused a big problem on set because we kinda started dunking each other in the water and it got a little bit hairy, and Paul got actually very pissed off. And if you know Paul, he's like, first of all, English. Very proper. When he gets mad, he's like, `I'm incredibly mad right now! I just don't know what I'm gonna do!' For him to come up and yell was just so insane."

Of course, Jovovich's role does wonders for the little red dress.

"Well," she agrees, " my character's wet mini-dress was probably the main fascinating element for me, because I'd never worn a wet mini-dress on screen before, and I had to kick and fight and run away from things and still look good doing it. I just wanted to play the typical female in an action film part. But then again, this part is not typical. I mean, for all the..." She stops, phrasing her words. "You know, I'm very light about these things and I'm a little bit cynical when I talk about action films because you do have the girl and it's very sexy and at the same time, I think there's a place for that. Especially if that's not what you're doing for every film, and that's not your image all the time, it's okay to do something that might be considered a bit gratuitous by a lot of people. But you know what, I'm very male in a lot of ways by myself. I treat a lot of men like men treat women so I guess in that sense I'm not scared of doing a few gratuitous scenes. Some gratuitous violence and a little gratuitous skin showing? Yeah, once in a while it has its place. Hey, sometimes I like to watch films with men doing gratuitous scenes -- and women for that matter!"

Gratuitous scenes notwithstanding, perhaps no scene is more satisfying to the game fan than Jovovich whalin' on the zombie dogs!

"The dog that I kicked was a puppet," she explains, "but all the other dogs were real. They had a string with a tennis ball hanging and every time I ran up the wall, I had to kick this tennis ball, and that was super cool because it's just so satisfying to kick something and get it right on the mark. It's the same as shooting a ball into a basket or shooting something with a gun and hitting it. The other dogs were real, and pretty vicious. They're security dogs. They're not just stunt dogs, so in effect, they would let the dogs loose and just tell me to run really fast. And you know, that was all the motivation I really needed to do those scenes."