Talk December 2000

The Dope on Milla
by Steve Garbarino, photo by Elfie Semotan

Since childhood Milla Jovovich has always done things in a rush: acting by nine, modeling by 11, married by 16, two marriages by 22. It was cute at the time.

Milla Jovovich has a raspy, world-weary voice more Lili Taylor than Leon Trotsky, lupine eyes, dimpled Cupid's-bow lips, and a complexion out of a 'Got Milk?" ad. She debuted in movies at age nine and was modeling at 11. She married her Dazed and Confused costar Shawn Andrews at 16; their marriage was annulled a year later. She married filmmaker Luc Besson at 22, then separated from him and is now divorced.

She has landed fashion and beauty contracts with L'Oreal, Donna Karan, and Prada and gazed out from the covers of countless style bibles. She has fronted her own rock band, the Divine Comedy.

In other words, Jovovich works hard. And reports have it that she parties just as hard as she works. Jovovich has never denied it. But today the wild child says she wants to be more mild, and there have been superficial signs to prove it. She's even dating one of the mellower Red Hot Chili Peppers, guitarist John Frusciante.

She's also looking to play more comedic roles. Following up parts in Michael Winterbottom's The Claim (which opens in December) and Dummy (an independent film in which Jovovich plays the best friend of a troubled ventriloquist), she's moving on to Ben Stiller's fashion world send-up Zoolander, in which filmgoers should get a true glimpse of her comic skills -- she plays a dominatrixlikelike adviser to a famous designer. The catch? She turns out to be a he.

Jovovich shows up for an interview fresh-faced and wearing a herringbone Marc Jacobs winter coat right out of The Catcher in the Rye. She orders hot tea. But it isn't long before the coat is off, displaying a strapless black dress by Imitation of Christ, and she's having a Bloody Mary.

TALK: I'd been told you were a shabby dresser, and here you are in Park Avenue princess-meets-downtown vixen-wear.

MILLA JOVOVICH: It was all given to me, so I figure, Why not wear it? I used to always say, "How come all these girls get free clothes and I don't get anything?" But I'm the designers' dream right now.

TALK: Have you ever thought about giving up the whole modeling thing and going the Isabella Rosselini or Nastassja Kinski route?

JOVOVICH: L'Oreal is amazing, because the money I earn gives me the chance to, like, chill out and not be like, "I didn't get this part, so I'm going to fucking kill myself," you know - excuse my French.

TALK: You still seem pretty intense.

JOVOVICH: People go, "Oh God, she's really intense.' They don't get that that's not me. Now I'm happier, and I want to go out more, go to parties, take pleasure in meeting people and talking to them. I used to think, It's all so fake, and I can't deal with the bullshit - excuse my French.

TALK: Why do you keep saying that?

JOVOVICH: Because I have seen so many articles on me where I am cursing all the time. In print it sounds so awful. Like, people must wonder, Where was she raised? It's so trashy.

TALK: When you were 16 you got married, to Shawn Andrews. It must've seemed cute at the time.

JOVOVICH: I definitely think my first marriage was done for all the wrong reasons. I just wanted a bank card, kind of state my independence.

TALK: Then you got married again, two years ago, in Las Vegas, to Luc Besson. What happened with that?

JOVOVICH: It was the obvious result of dating somebody for over three years and kind of going, "Okay, what is the next logical step?"

TALK. But it didn't work out.

JOVOVICH: Our lifestyles were really different. When I come home and I'm working on a film, and then I'm going to rehearse until two in the morning with my band, it doesn't leave much space for a husband - especially one who is not going to be there sitting, rocking out with me, smoking pot with me and my band.

TALK: Tell me about your new boyfriend, John Frusciante.

JOVOVICH: I've been in love with him since I was 18. He had done a solo record after working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. [Frusciante has since rejoined the band.] It was, like, six years ago, and literally the day I heard his voice for the first time, I was like, "Oh my God!"

TALK. Your boyfriend was a heroin addict, right? [Frusciante left the Chili Peppers for a while because his drug addiction was so bad.]

JOVOVICH: John decided to become a drug addict. He didn't just fall into it, okay? When he stopped, he stopped. It was his choice, you know?

TALK: Do you still have a lot of druggies around you?

JOVOVICH: I have so many friends who are not friends anymore but people I used to think were so great, who are going through crack addictions right now. I'm lucky, because my job gives me the opportunity to warp my reality so much that to do that artificially seems like such a waste of time.

TALK: But I've heard that you enjoy your marijuana.

JOVOVICH: I've had enough articles written about my pot smoking. I mean, it's crazy. We're adults now. I'm not going to comment on my pot smoking.

TALK: I've also heard you're not fond of your name.

JOVOVICH: My last name - God, every day I rue the day that I didn't change it. My dad didn't want me to. The Jovovich name has been around for hundreds of years. No, it's awful, it's awful. I abhor it. Are you going to see a movie with somebody named Milla Jovovich in it, or are you going to go see a movie with somebody called Beth Reed?

TALK: I don't think I'm going to see a movie with Beth Reed in it, either.

JOVOVICH: Okay, so Meg Ryan. Or Elizabeth Hurley. Anything's better than Milla Jovovich!