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The multi talented superstar's appearances oscillate between fashion shows and major movies such as "Resident Evil". The sexy model and rising Hollywood star was born as Milla Natasha Jovovich in Kiev, Ukraine, on December 17, 1975. She spent her early childhood between London, where her father Bogdanovitch Jovovich was studying, and Russia, where her mother, Gallina Loginova lived. Her family soon moved to California, where Milla experienced difficulty adapting to the American way of life. She began acting at the age of 9, and modeling at 11. Her first cover was for the Italian fashion magazine Lei. A six-page fashion spread by Herb Ritts for a French fashion magazine quickly moved Jovovich, the young and barely-trained model, to the top ranks. In her first year alone, she completed 15 fashion covers and countless other shoots, still managing the time for her studies -including the training necessary for runway work- as well as maintaining her teenage social life.
She released her first movie in 1988, entitled Two Moon Junction, followed by The Night Train to Kathmandu. She took the modeling world by storm, and impressed critics with her uncanny ability to carry herself at such a young age. She's been in Calvin Klein, Escape, and dozens of other high profile ads, as well as in all the major glamour magazines. She displayed maturity and talent beyond her years, and continued her acting career with the release of Return to Blue Lagoon in 1991, and Kuffs and Chaplin in 1992. At the age of 16, she married 21-year-old actor boyfriend Shawn Andrews (whom she was involved with on the set of Dazed and Confused), only to have the marriage annulled two months later.
After filming Dazed and Confused in 1993, her career was already in full swing. Milla looked to conquer a third domain; the world of music. She released her first album at the age of 18, entitled The Divine Comedy. Unlike most actresses and models that try their hand at singing careers see Caprice here, and end up with a lackluster attempt, Jovovich's album was well-received. Next on her list was the the Fifth Element, the sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis that takes place in the future. In this role, Jovovich was appropriately cast as the perfect being. Playing Leeloo, Jovovich's modeling experience came in handy -the character was engineered, and required Milla to use little facial expressions, and portray an innocent and distant look.
In the spring of '98, she starred in a Spike Lee Joint with Denzel Washington, entitled He Got Game. Here she played a prostitute who suffers from a severe beating, but Jovovich gets very little on-screen time. She went on to win the leading role in another Luc Besson film, where she played the role of Joan Of Arc. Soon after the production was complete, she married Besson. In 1999, Milla starred in the horror film The Boat House. Milla plays a teenager who has seen some evil creature and loses her mind, and is sent to a mental hospital from which she later escapes. Her character is described as a beautiful, yet fragile girl. Next on her list are The Million Dollar Hotel and Kingdom Come.
She also plans to return to school and finish some of the classes she dreaded taking in high school, like math, chemistry, and physics. She stated: All the things I was bored with in high school. I didn't understand the importance of math then, which is stupid. It provides the building blocks of reality. She also plans to return to the studio to record another album. She is unsure of exactly where she would like her career to go, but remains true to her belief with her integrity, honesty and sincerity. I just want to make one really good movie a year. And when I die, to know I was honest as an artist, and for this we have to respect her.
Milla Jovovich to open boutique in New York
Model and actress Milla Jovovich is to open a boutique in New York called Jovovich- Hawk. The boutique follows on from the success of her clothing range which she has designed in conjunction with Carmen Hawk.
According to Fashion Week Daily, she said:” It’ll be in Greenwich Village and be by appointment only.” The clothes have featured in glossy magazines such Teen Vogue, Vogue and Milla herself modelled the swimwear range in Maxim. As well as pretty dresses and tops, the range includes funky denim jackets and jeans .She is also working on her new collection for the autumn winter season.
The 30 year old was born in Kiev in the Ukraine and started modelling when she was just nine years old. She has also appeared in numerous films the most high profile being futuristic movie The Fifth Element by Luc Besson in 1997.
As well as her high profile advertising campaigns she is busily preparing for a new film role called 45 which is set in New York in the seventies.
Milla Jovovich: Alice Get Your Guns
On the Toronto set of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, actress Milla Jovovich looks just as beautiful and sexy as she does in her other lives as both international model and occasional pop star, but there's something different about her this time, even compared with 2002's Resident Evil. Yes, she wears a low-skirt and her lips are ruby red, and she brandishes a large gun like she did in the first film, but her clothes are torn and Jovovich's knuckles are bloodied and cut-up. Her eyes look strange too, sick, appropriate since Jovovich's character, Alice, finds herself infected with the same T-Virus that turned a team of scientists into flesh-eating zombies in 2002 and is now wreaking havoc on Alice. Then there's the gruelling physical stunts that Jovovich has been put through, and the fact that her character has to kill scores more zombies this time. This isn't the Milla Jovovich who sells face cream. This is Alice.
For Jovovich, returning to the character of Alice meant months of physical training, and homework. "I think Alice is a much more interesting character this time because she's been infected with the T-Virus and it's changing her body and she doesn't know how -- she can't trust her own body," says the strikingly beautiful actress. "She spends the whole film having to deal with being sick, which makes her an interesting hero and the fact that I have a lot of friends in real life who have HIV helped me to play a character who's sick all the time. There's also lots of weird science in the film, lots of interesting concepts that I've been reading about -- about engineered weapons, the holographic universe, secret genetic experiments and how companies like the Umbrella Corporation can create things like the T-Virus and control our lives. It's not that far fetched when you think about the Ebola Virus and the possibility of a SARS outbreak today."
Having survived the zombie-infested, underground Hive in Resident Evil, this film finds Alice in the massacred Raccoon City, a city ruled by the Walking Dead. Joined by a ragtag group of fellow survivors, they must try and escape the undead city while Alice tries to discover the extent of the genetic experiments that were performed on her by the diabolical Umbrella Corporation in the Hive. "Alice barely survived in the first film and now she finally gets to Raccoon City, to land, and it's all destroyed," says Jovovich. "We pick up right after the end of the first film and we try to find out how the city was destroyed."
Jovovich says that Apocalypse is more of an action film than a horror film, even though the film contains more than its share of zombies and gruesome monsters, including the legendary Nemesis from the video game series -- a monstrous goliath who sports a helicopter gun that fires several thousand bullets a minute. "I would say it's more action than horror although there's a lot of blood, but most of that's from shooting as opposed to cutting and the types of kills that were in the first film," says Jovovich. "The first film took place all underground and this one is out in the open which means more explosions and more shooting. The heart of the story is about Umbrella -- the experiments they're involved in and finding out what they did to Alice. Alice is about to transform into something, which we find out at the end of the film, and that ties into some of the scientific ideas in the script about the holographic universe and the idea that Alice represents the next step in mankind's evolution."
For people used to seeing Jovovich as a glamorous beauty, the character of Alice, long with Jovovich's physical appearance on the set of Apocalypse, shows the actress in a whole new light: as a modern female action hero in the tradition of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character from the Alien films. "My hands and knuckles have been so cut-up doing both of these films that it's hurting my modeling career," she says with a laugh. "I have a really big gun in the film that's on my back, but it's so long that when we did the scene the first time, I couldn't pull it because you'd have to have elastic arms to pull it out. My hands used to be really soft, but they don't show them anymore in my commercials because they're so disfigured and ugly. They use someone else's hands. I think Alice and Ripley are compared to each other because there's so few female heroes in film today. I think both characters are fighting evil corporations and they're both very independent and strong. I trained for three months for Apocalypse -- gun training, martial arts, everything -- but if I'd known how many stunts there were going to be in the film, I'd have trained even longer."
Milla Jovovich: The world's richest model
The Forbes magazine has named Milla Jovovich as the highest paid model of the world. She topped the list with a gross earning of $10.5 million.
Milla's major advertising contracts include the one with cosmetics giant L'Oréal since 1998. She is also an actress with several Hollywood films under her belt. A lot of her earning comes from films too.
Milla Natasha Jovovich was born December 17, 1975 in Kiev, Ukraine, to Russian stage actress Gallina Loginova and Yugoslavian pediatrician Bogie Jovovich. She was married to director Luc Besson earlier, but is now divorced.
Second in the Forbes richest models list is Brazilian Gisele Bundchen with annual earnings of $10 million, a contract with lingerie line Victoria's Secret that will earn her $30 million in four years.
German supermodel Heidi Klum, who makes approximately $8 million-a-year, is at number 3 in the list.
American supermodel Carolyn Murphy takes the fourth place with $5 million-per-year earnings, followed by compatriot Tyra Banks in the fifth slot on the Forbes list with $4 million-per-year.
Milla Jovovich: Zombie Asskicker, Fashion Designer, Singer-Songwriter, Movie Star, Supermodel
Milla Jovovich has small tits. This is something she points out not far into our conversation, flashing a charming grin and gesturing toward her chest. The statement is an obvious ploy, a cheery bit of self depreciation meant to convince me that Milla is not a supermodel-singer-songwriter-fashion-entrepreneur-movie-star, but, in fact, just another small-titted gal who got lucky.
I don't believe this for a minute. I don't believe this because one -- her tits are not small, but, like mine, are what I like to call "a perfect handful". And two -- she's fucking gorgeous and Russian and wearing this really cool kind of bolero-looking coat that she's designed herself and well, I could add a three and a four and five, but I think you get my point.
Our tit talk is happening at a secluded table in the Polo Lounge garden. The Polo Lounge is one of those Beverly Hill institutions resonant with Hollywood myth, the kind of place where deals are done and stars are made and dreams are fulfilled, or occasionally shattered.
"I love this place," says Jovovich, looking around with a territorial pride. "I come here all the time. It has all the good ghosts and that Fifties vibe, you know, that time where everyone had four martini lunches and then stumbled back to the office."
In honor of those halcyon days of socially condoned alcoholism, Milla and I are getting progressively sloshed on a drink of her own design (she's a fucking drink inventor too, for chrissakes), a pale, pink frothy concoction she's dubbed "The Jolly Rancher."
"It's the bane of every man's existence," Milla says, raising a glass, "the fruity cocktail!"
Jovovich has just returned from the Far East where she has spent pretty much the last year of her life filming Ultraviolet, where she plays a futuristic badass, a genetically modified vampire with preternatural intelligence and a heart of solid gold.
"It was intense," she says of the experience. "We were in China, which is a whole other world, and it was just surreal being in this crazy place and then going to work every day and doing what I was doing, which is weird to begin with."
With Ultraviolet, The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil series, Jovovich has made a name for herself playing various fantastical heroines, ladies that can karate chop, wu shu, tae kwon do and sucker punch.
"I don't know what it is," she says, shaking her head, "but I keep being asked to do movies like this and I can't say no, they're just too much fun. What's really great is that a lot of women love these kinds of movies. They love being able to see this strong, muscular lady kick some ass on the screen, but at the same time be a woman, be vulnerable and sensitive and nurturing and concerned. I like the idea of playing these totally amazing muscular types who can beat the hell out of the undead, but also still have a soft side."
In between saving the world from evil incarnate and embodying human perfection, Milla has taken the time to record several albums, pose for hundreds of magazine covers and start her own clothing line, Jovovich-Hawk, with costume designer Carmen Hawk.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time," she says of Jovovich-Hawk, "and I think if you're lucky enough to be in a position where you can do what you want to do, it's kind of your responsibility to do it. Most people aren't in that position. There are a lot of people who don't have the money or the time or whatever to do what they really love. So with the clothing I said, 'Screw it, I'm doing it like I want to. I don't want to do anything commercialized. I want to make beautiful clothes that make women look beautiful.'"
Jovovich has also traveled the world, married a couple of her directors and invented the Jolly Rancher, which as far as I'm concerned is one tasty drink.
"Look over there," Jovovich says suddenly in a stage whisper, "it's Keanu Reeves."
And sure enough, it is Keanu, sitting by the bar and wearing a full tuxedo. Milla smiles and we toast to Keanu and to the Polo Lounge and to the blue hairs guzzling their afternoon martinis and the burst of fuchsia bougainvillea that cups our table, mirroring the vibrant pink of our Jolly Ranchers.
"This place is good, right?" Jovovich is looking at me with big eyes, waiting for approval.
It's damn good. And I'm feeling good too. I'll say this -- there's certainly worse things than hanging with Milla Jovovich in a legendary Tinseltown joint, getting giddy in the L.A. afternoon sun. And can I tell you something? This chick is on the level.
I know, I know, you think that's the Jolly Rancher talking, but goddamn, I mean it. Okay, get this: she was born in Russia, right? And then, in the midst of the Cold War, long before Gorby and his birthmark ushered in Glasnost, back when it was all nuclear tension and vodka and boycotting the Olympics, she and her family got themselves out of there and into the States. Her mother, a Russian movie star and her father, a med student, ended up cleaning houses.
The thing about Milla is that she may have landed her first modeling gig and first film before most kids get their driver's license, but somehow she can still sit at the Polo Lounge and convince me that her modesty is not false and that her aim is true.
"I don't know. I'm not trying to prove anything," she says thoughtfully. "I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody by doing what I do, by making my music or my clothes or these movies. Basically I'm just trying to prove something to myself. I need to be creative in whatever way is available to me. But I also know it's important to realize who you are and where you are and not get too caught up in things. I've made some fun movies and some music that I like and some clothes I think are cool. I'm trying to make the right choices and grow. I know that sounds like a line but it isn't."
Milla, You’re No Angel
During the Autumn/Winter 2003/2004 fashion shows all Armani’s models wore black and white, and only Milla Jovovich wore red, the same red in which she was filmed for the Night campaign, Armani’s new fragrance. A dress with thin straps, a pleated skirt, then-a tiny waist, then-Milla’s endless legs. So she stood on the podium-in red, with the background of the black curtain, illuminated with a circle of white light. Then Armani took her hand, led her into the centre, and Edith Piaf’s signing was heard: “Johnny, Johnny, tu n’es pas un ange...” And Milla walked across the podium with a gait, not walked by angels and models, but walked by beautiful earthly women who arouse love.
When you were 13 years old, which woman seemed to you worthy of admiration and imitation?
My mother. I was sincerely admiring her then-and continue to admire her to this day.
Which beauty lesson has your mother taught you?
A lot! First of all, she didn’t permit me to wear make-up, and that was very wise on her part: at the age of 11 I wanted to draw enormous lashes on my face, as well as gigantic lips, to smother my cheeks with blush, my eyelids-with shadow (preferably bright pink or bright blue) and to go to school looking that way. Mum resisted this outrage as much as she could and only blessed my usage of make-up, when I was about 16 or 17 years old and could already grasp some things. By the way, mum always asserted, that on the face, only one portion needs to be vivid-either the eyes, or lips, and herself, she particularly outlined the eyes. I started doing the very same. Plus in addition to this mum recommended that I wear a fringe. Moreover, she sometimes cuts it for me herself!
What causes you more problems-your face of your body?
Honestly speaking, nor one nor the other. Possibly, because I’m only 27 now. And possibly, because, I simply don’t have the time to fuss with my own face. In terms of the body though, for my new film (the Resident Evil sequel), in which my heroine needs to know how to fight well, I am now constantly training and learning all kinds of battle arts. And, I think, I’ve never before been so strong and shapely as now.
The minimal routine for the maintenance of your face?
It’s not very extensive. In the morning, of course, I wash my face and apply a moisturiser. A good moisturiser-that is really very important. In the duration of the day I, without fail, splash my face with temperate water-you know, such spray cans with water are sold in the pharmacies? In the evening-without fail-I cleanse my face with a milky cleanser. I drink a lot of water...And, that’s probably all. Before I used to use more different procedures and make-up products, but once a make-up artist, with whom I was working, gave me some good advice. Having seen my make-up bag, completely packed, he said: “You are still very young. You don’t need any of this. Just wash your face with clean water and that’s all!” That was about ten years ago. Since that time I’ve become older of course, and think that the truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle: few products need to be used for skin maintenance, but they do need to be used. And of course, thy need to be high-quality products.
Your maximum routine? In which cases is it necessary?
There are official “necessities”, for example, the Cannes film festival or the Oscars, and then my face is taken care of by the professionals. And there are “personal” occasions, when I just want to look good, and then I do everything myself, but try not to go “over”. Same as mum, I outline the eyes: I enlarge my lashes with Le Grand Curl from L’Oreal mascara and apply eye-shadow. And I very carefully approach the choice of perfume: every fragrance carries a message within it, and it’s important that this message suit you-and the moment. That’s why, apropos, I really like Armani’s latest fragrance-Night: it truly tempts. One cannot resist giving into this. And one cannot argue with this.
Which brand of cosmetics are you using at the moment?
L’Oreal, of course. I’m telling you, mascara and eye shadow by L’Oreal always help me out, when I need to look 100 per cent.
What is your opinion about plastic surgery? Do you suppose to one day appeal to its help?
Hm...Unlikely. I know that for many people it truly helped to resolve some problems. And that’s wonderful. But I’ve seen other people, who went “under the knife” when there was no such necessity...What can I say about this? Probably, you need to be very courageous, in order to believe, that a surgeon may be more competent than God. I have no such faith.
Are there any foods that you’ve forbidden yourself to eat forever?
I never forbid myself anything. On the contrary, I always munch on different burgers, sandwiches...
Your latest tendency in the area of dietology?
Does not exist. Probably because, when I’m working, I eat little. And lately, luckily, I work a lot.
Favourite type of fitness style?
Right now-those very battle arts, that I am studying for the role. It is really very interesting and helps to stay in form, although I am not sure, if it can be considered as a type of fitness regime.
Favourite procedure for body maintenance?
Massage. It wonderfully relieves fatigue.
Which item must essentially be present in your wardrobe?
Jeans and tops. Jeans-because, of course, you can always look formal in them, if correctly worn, goes without saying. For example, to wear them with a top and go shopping. Or to wear them with a shirt or a jacket from Armani, then one can go to an important meeting. But tops I buy absolutely everywhere and all the time, and then entertain myself-cut and paste them so, that they look funny and stylish.
Is there an item, that you know for sure, you will never buy and never wear?
I’m a model, so I can wear everything. And my experience with regard to different items has convinced me, that for every mood there are specific pieces, that suit the given humour incredibly well.
Is there an item, about which you may think: “That’s very beautiful, but unfortunately, too expensive!”?
Oh, probably not. Items from Prada and Armani cost a lot, but I can not walk past them calmly. In addition they are incredible-they scream out: “I’m a Prada!” or “I’m an Armani!” But you understand that this is exactly what you need.
Which newly bought items please you the most?
A cream silk blouse from Armani-with long sleeves, simple, one could say, classic. Catherine Hepburn, I think, would have liked it...
What do you do to make an impression on a man?
Look him right in the eyes. And wear the right perfume. Emporio Night, for example.
What do you do when you feel really exhausted?
Go to sleep. Immediately. And for a long time.
Which compliments please you more than others?
When I’m told: “Thank you, Milla, you’ve worked terrifically!” It’s especially pleasing, when this is said by a director, who is known for the fact that he’s rarely satisfied with actors’ performances.
Which harmful habits do you especially treasure?
Which perfume elevates your mood?
On one side, I like classic fragrances. On the other-I like trying something new. From this new, that I’ve tried recently, Emporio Night is something really outstanding. Yes, of course, I’m the “face” of this fragrance and it’s obvious that I must express a good opinion about it. But if I didn’t like it, believe me, I would not have done this. So there is no game here of any kind-only pure awe-it’s wonderful, that has appeared such a mad fragrance, as Emporio Night, it’s wonderful, that Mr Armani proposed that I become its “face” and...Basically, as I’ve already said, this fragrance can really help out in life.
Even zombie killers are insecure
Milla Jovovich taps self doubts . . . Resident Evil star shows softer side
by Peter Howell
Milla Jovovich is seeking caffeine refreshment yesterday during a string of interviews at the Four Seasons Hotel. An attentive aide asks what she'd like in her coffee.
"Three creams, please," Jovovich replies.
"You mean low-fat cream, right?" the aide inquires.
"No, no," Jovovich insists. "I want the full-fat stuff."
A very punk attitude for this actress and model, whose two main professions usually treat fat as an illegal substance. But this 27-year-old beauty in the jagged jean skirt is thin enough to drink a gallon of the stuff, and besides, it fits her role of punk singer Fangora in Greg Pritikin's off-kilter comedy Dummy.
It's a part Jovovich took at the request of her Oscar-winning friend Adrien Brody. (Dummy made its Canadian premiere yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival, with a repeat screening scheduled for Wednesday.)
Brody plays a tongued-tied loser named Steven, who discovers his voice and a sudden sense of bravery when he starts speaking through a ventriloquist's dummy. Fangora is Steve's platonic gal pal, who secretly hopes to be more than that.
The character seems the closest to the real Milla Jovovich than previously witnessed. She often plays extreme characters in sci-fi and fantasy films, like her feral Leeloo in The Fifth Element (her favourite role) and as the zombie-stomping Alice in Resident Evil. She can also identify with Fangora's musical ambitions — a decade ago, Jovovich's main gig was as a rock singer, featured on her own album called The Divine Comedy.
"For sure, it's probably the closest," she says of Fangora.
"But there's a bit of me in every part I play. We all have different parts of our personality. We just have to know how to draw from it. I identified with Fangora because I think in a sense everybody could identify with the fact that she's trying so hard to find herself.
"It's so hard to find acceptance and love. She's so defensive and so insecure. I think we all are. It's something that no matter who you are and what you do, you're always going to look into the mirror and see the weirdest thing looking back at you."
But does Jovovich ever really feel insecure? She's a jet-setting star and model who has appeared in major movies and on the covers of more than 100 fashion magazines.
"Yeah, definitely, are you kidding?" she replies.
"Most of the time I'm feeling really insecure. It's only when I really get off my butt and do the things that I want to do that I get more confident in myself. And then I get lazy, and I think I need a break.
"But of course, I take a break and then I start feeling insecure again. I start thinking, `Omigod, I'm not doing anything. I don't have anything going on. I'm a loser. I'm mediocre.'
"It all really depends. For the last year, I was feeling really bad. Whereas now, I've been training for Resident Evil 2 for three hours a day.
"That woke me up and made me feel good. You can't just go and train for three hours and not feel good about yourself afterwards. You've got to do things for yourself that keep the bad voices away."
She certainly always looks poised and confident, especially in her ads for fashion and make-up. Her striking Ukrainian face seems to peer from every magazine and billboards.
And she was certainly brave enough to tell Mick Jagger that he'd have to get his satisfaction elsewhere, when the lead Stone asked her out on a date a year or so ago, as The New York Times reported.
Did she really say "no" to Mick?
"Oh, yeah — are you kidding me? He's old enough to be my dad. It's disgusting. Please."
But Jovovich does share with Jagger a fondness for Toronto. She's been living here for the past few weeks, making Resident Evil: Apocalypse for her filmmaker fiancé, writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, whom she met on the set of the first Resident Evil film.
Jovovich promises that the sequel will be better than the original, a major claim to make for a film based on a computer game that involves the machine-gunning and axing of hundreds of virus-ridden zombies.
"It has triple the action, better script, more interesting, fun concepts — we're taking it to the holographic universe theory." Jovovich laughs at her own enthusiasm — she should do the voiceover for the trailer.
Does this mean she won't be wearing a ripped red dress and heels again? In Resident Evil, she looked like a runway model caught in a remake of Night Of The Living Dead.
"No, this time just jeans and a T-shirt. But it's my angle of jeans and T-shirt!"
Making Resident Evil seems to be her major preoccupation at the moment.
"I love it. I feel if I've ever found a niche in Hollywood, it's possibly as an action star, in a sense. No one is going to give me a chance to play a normal part, unless I do an independent film or I produce it myself.
"I feel like it's all good. I have my commercial part taken care of, and for my artistic side, I make independent little films that never come out (although Dummy will this fall), and I'm okay. It's a good balance."
She hopes Resident Evil will become a full-fledged franchise ("Hell, yeah!") like the Alien or Tomb Raider series. She even has her own inevitable Resident Evil action figure.
"It's like a collector's item, with a detachable arm that you can attach the machine gun or the axe to.
"That was my idea!"
Milla Jovovich, 27, Looking Fabulous
As a camera crew sets up in a sprawling house high above the Hollywood Hills, the energy level is considerably low until Milla Jovovich bursts in with her pocket-sized Maltese, her mother and her publicist in tow. Although she is just 27, the fashion darling, who is a standout for her cool brand of chic, puts everyone at ease. She knows exactly how she wants to look today: Not too heavy on the eyebrows, thank you; a little more eyeliner, please; and she'll curl her eyelashes herself, if you don't mind. Dressed in Prada flip-flops, a Miu Miu skirt and a diaphanous checkered Chanel top, Milla doesn't just speak fashion -- she's fluent in it.
Harper's Bazaar: Describe your style
Milla Jovovich: My style is usually a direct reflection of the way I feel. It changes depending on my mood. I love quirky accessories, especially hair accessories.
HB: What item of clothing do you wear the most often?
MJ: Jeans. They're very versatile. You can dress them up with an Emporio Armani blazer and a scarf and you're good to go.
HB: Who are your favorite designers?
MJ: Prada, Donna Karan, Armani. Zac Posen is also amazing. And I like vintage. Plus, I always wear things that my friends make. I mix and match. There is a new designer named Carmen Hawk who is the one to watch out for. Her things look elegant and finished. She's really into tie-dye right now.
HB: What are your favorite stores?
MJ: I buy the mass of my vintage stuff at Mary Efron in New York. And Prada, of course, is a favorite. You can always go to the store and find something great that doesn't scream out Prada; [the clothes] are basic enough.
HB: Is there a fashion item that looks great on a woman of any age?
MJ: Skirts below the knee. I've been wearing them since the age of 15, and I think I'll be wearing them until I'm 75. They're classic.
HB: Do you have style icons?
MJ: My mom would have to be number one. Kate Moss always has the coolest clothes. And Cameron Diaz -- she's quirky and always has her own look. Of the older generation, Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Bacall. I'm trying to do my hair like Jane Birkin right now; I'm totally inspired by '60s Jane Birkin.
HB: What are the last items you purchased?
MJ: A red polka-dot DKNY bikini, a vintage blue drummer-boy jacket with gold buttons down the front and back and a brown wintry Prada skirt that's fitted on top and like a bell on the bottom. I like pairing winter skirts with tank tops and flip-flops.
HB: Tell us about your skincare routine.
MJ: I wash my face every night and drink a lot of water. You cannot get a better facial than at Mario Badescu in New York.
HB: What are your favorite beauty products?
MJ: L'Oreal Lash Architect mascara and L'Oreal Endless Lipstick.
HB: Who cuts and colors your hair?
MJ: Oribe. And my color is L'Oreal Couleur Experte in Brioche.
HB: Have you ever received good beauty advice?
MJ: Ten years ago, I did a job with makeup artist Dick Page, and I had brought with me a full bag of products. Dick told me I was way too young to be using all of that and that I should just wash my face with water. I found he was half-right. You need to find the golden middle. Don't overdo it, but do use some products.
HB: What is your diet?
MJ: I eat everything.
Russian born and raised in LA, Milla Jovovich was a fashion icon at the age of 11. Now a bona fide supermodel, the dynamic beauty is about to take over every billboard and cinema screen in the country. Sara Buys meets the thoroughly modern muse with a mind of her own.
Milla Jovovich is a Linda Evangelista for the Noughties. Her face, a combination of sharp turns and plump sensuality, has the sort of irregular perfection that re-writes the aesthetic rulebook. On screen, this Soviet-born, Californian-reared beauty is that rare combination of highly charged sexuality and refined elegance - a winning formula that boosts box-office ratings, inspires designers and sells clothes. Like Evangelista, Gianni Versace's favourite supermodel, Milla is a true chameleon. Whether she's looking serene and dreamy for Prada, vamped up for Versace, elegant and timeless for Chanel or all-American for Calvin Klein, she is the undisputed favourite of the fashion world. In February, you can see her looking impossibly beautiful in several major campaigns; she bas just spent three weeks at Giorgio Armani's private villa, on the island of Pantelleria, shooting the campaign for the Emporio Spring/Summer collection with the inimitable fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh. And then there's the lucrative five-year contract as the face of L'Oréal, which she's just renewed. The multimillion-dollar pay-out alone leaves us in no doubt that Milla Jovovich is absolutely worth it.
It is a faultless autumn Sunday in Los Angeles: luminous sunshine, crisp air and not a hint of smog in sight. The fashion team from Harpers & Queen are sorting through the generous pile of luscious Armani samples that Milla will be modeling later. The shoot is taking place in a quiet Beverly Hills suburb, in studios owned by the photographer and formidable Californian fixture, Greg Gorman. It is a massive archetypal Hollywood production: four beefed-up, bearded and tattooed LA roadies are traipsing in and out of the grounds, setting up the heavy camera equipment; American photographer Sheryl Nields, a gregarious, hard-boiled, fast-talking professional is issuing instructions and joking with her team as the caterers prepare a barbecue feast for our lunch. Milla is a little late for the shoot - half an hour to be exact - which, by both LA and supermodel standards, is positively early.
A sky-blue convertible whizzes into the car park, and Milla shouts out greetings and apologies from the passenger seat. Her boyfriend, the British schlock-horror film director, Paul W.S. Anderson (a sort of fuller-faced, sexier Louis Theroux) is in the driving seat. When Milla walks into the studio holding her pocketdog, an irresistibly affectionate miniature Maltese called Madness, she completes the Hollywood package. A star is in the house. In the flesh, Milla Jovovich is just as one might expect. Her singular features are the stuff that make-up artists dream of: a pure palette on which to create aesthetic fantasies. She is the essence of effortless cool, a natural clothes-horse, dressed casually in a light cotton shirt, beige cords and flat pointy pumps. The moment I see her, I want to go out and buy exactly what she is wearing. Milla has that effect.
"I'm at this place right now where people are offering me a lot of money to do crappy films," she laughs in her raspy Californian drawl. "Which is actually a great thing, because before they weren't. Is it hard to say no? Yes, are you kidding? It goes against every Russian instinct I have in my body. Gee, my people lie, cheat and steal for not even a quarter of what I'm being offered, but if there was ever a time for me to say no, it's now."
Milla Natasha Jovovich was born in Kiev in 1975. The only child of Galina Loginova, a successful Russian stage and screen actress, and Borgi Jovovich, a Yugoslavian doctor, her parents emigrated to LA when she was five. From the moment Milla's feet touched Hollywood soil, her mother nurtured, guided and, to a certain extent, pushed her daughter into the glare of the city's bright lights. Magazine and newspaper articles documenting Milla's formative years have painted Galina as the archetypal pushy mother, but Milla's own take on her Russian roots is far more generous and enlightened. "When you have nothing, you use all your resources, including your children," Milla says. "And that's not a bad thing. It's just utilizing what you've made. It wasn't about this modern American attitude, 'Oh, children are their own people.' In Russian families, it's very obsessive. 'You're mine, and you do things the way i tell you.' It's just a different way of looking at life."
The combination of Galina's ferocious maternal ambition and her daughter's precocious talent and beauty meant that it was almost impossible for the young Milla to bypass that most controversial of Hollywood roles, Lolita. She was signed up by Prima modeling agency, and soon caught the eye of the photographer and iconic image maker Richard Avedon, who took her picture for the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. When Avedon chose her, at the tender age of 11, to be one of Revlon's 'Most Unforgettable Women in the World', it broke new ground in an industry that was no stranger to accusations of child exploitation. "A siren's head mounted on a pre-nubile body," roared the press. It caused a fashion-industry furor that went unchallenged in intensity until Corinne Day photographed a semi-naked, childlike Kate Moss in a grubby South London bedsit and reignited the Lolita debate all over again. At 12 years old, Milla was on the cover of The Face. Since then, she has graced a multitude of fashion magazine covers all over the world.
Jovovich's first significant celluloid appearance was as Brooke Shields' successor in the 1991 sequel, Return to the Blue Lagoon. She was 15, and the consequent crawl up the critical ladder was slow. She was unremarkable in the role of Christian Slater's token girlfriend in Kuffs, and heartachingly beautiful but under-used in Richard Linklater's cult slacker-generation flick, Dazed and Confused. Blink and you'll miss her appearance in Sir Richard Attenborough's Chaplin.
In the past five years, however, Milla has emerged as an actress of considerable talent. Her performance as Leeloo, a war-machine swathed in nothing but a few Jean-Paul Gaultier bandages, in Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi blockbuster, The Fifth Element effectively` silenced critics expecting her to be just another model-turned-actress. Milla rose to every challenge posed by the strange character Leeloo, training rigorously every day in karate and kick-boxing in order to convey the highly physical nature of this alien-woman hybrid.
Meanwhile, her off-screen relationship with the film's director was blossoming and, in 1997, Milla and Besson married in Las Vegas. Their marriage lasted two years, during which time Besson cast her as Joan of Arc in the 1999 film, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. The film itself was disappointing, but no one could deny that Milla had a potent screen presence, and it confirmed her status as a superstar. The following year, she took the role of Eloise, a hard-as-nails hooker in Wim Wenders' The Million Dollar Hotel and proved, if nothing else, her eclectic, intelligent taste in directors. The same year also saw the release of The Claim, Michael Winterbottom's much underrated take on Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, in which she contributes to a string Of fine performances from the picture's formidable cast.
Milla's latest role is in Resident Evil, a £45-million film written and directed by her now-boyfriend Anderson, and based on the computer game of the same title. She plays the protagonist, Alice: a ball-busting, zombie-quashing, mini-skirted action heroine. Milla and Anderson fell in love while filming, and are now inseparable. Though she is no stranger to the perils of mixing business with pleasure, she cannot find fault with the new man in her life. "I have yet to find a bad thing about working with Paul," she says, sucking on a Peter Stuyvesant and flouting LA's infuriatingly puritanical smoking laws with total indifference. "He is amazing: very hardworking, and he has a great imagination."
It's almost impossible to predict how a film will turn out she says. "Even if you work with a great director and a great cast, things can still turn out to be a disappointment. It can be incredibly disillusioning to feel that you've just thrown away six months of your life, and think to yourself, 'Well, whoever's making money off this, I hope you're happy with your new car or your new driveway or whatever.' So the reason why you do something is really important. I chose Resident Evil because of my 11-year-old brother. He is obsessed with the game, and thought it would be cool for me to be in the film. So at least I can say I did it for him. He liked it; and it was worth it."
Milla is a self-confessed workaholic: "You won't find me just chilling out, doing nothing," she says. When she isn't modeling, she runs her own production company, Creature Entertainment, and she is working on a treatment for a comic book. "I've worked out that, this year, I've spent just four weeks at home," she says. "I am innately lazy, and if I could watch TV for the rest of my life, I swear I would. So my whole existence is made up of this constant battle to resist the lazy person inside me. Like an alcoholic, I am constantly at war with myself."
This drive, and the athleticism that contributes to Milla's formidable screen presence, also comes through when she starts to perform for the Harpers shoot. Energized and encouraged by the photographer's whoops, she dances around the studio and preens like a peacock for the camera. In fact, its only when she is required to stand still that she becomes a little sulky and deflated.
Throughout the day, Milla is by turns spiky and sweet. I attribute the spikiness to what seems to be a slightly ambivalent attitude towards her modeling career. Though she knows it is her bread and butter ("I never bite the hand that feeds me," she says, and "modeling enables me to be selective about the creative decisions I make"), she still becomes a little petulant when the music is off, the energy is turned down a gear, and the boredom sets in.
She is also wary of interviews, and complains at length about negative articles, being misquoted and being made to sound pretentious. But she is undeniably bright, quick-witted and funny: when I ask her - quite ludicrously - "So, you're still 26?", she flashes me a look of amused disdain, and answers wryly: "Yep, still, 26, third year in a row", thus obliterating the enemy faster than you can say 'Mortal Kombat'. Whether giving good face or kicking computer-generated ass, Milla Jovovich puts all other contenders in the shade.
Milla Jovovich Finds Her Style
Time to run off to the island of Pantelleria, off Sicily, Luc Besson’s actress-muse rediscovers her first profession: modelling. Charmed by her allure and her energy, Giorgio Armani has proposed that she incarnate the image for his Emporio line. An incorrigible fashionista, Milla Jovovich has committed herself to the game with skill.
Milla Jovovich descends from her room at the Mercer hotel in New York, and orders a cheese omelet. As the advertising campaign binds her, she is dressed in an Armani outfit: a beige shirt, worn out embroidered jeans, as well as a black leather hooded jacket discovered from the men’s collection. “That’s what Little Red Riding Hood would have worn had he been a biker,”, she says, laughing, in a slightly low voice. “Mr Armani has plenty of splendid outfits to offer”. Photographed by Peter Lindbergh on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, off Sicily, this angular and androgynous Slavic beauty has reincarnated the poses of a famous Italian actress for the new Emporio Armani campaign, whose face she shall be during at least two seasons. For this occasion, she has rediscovered the Milanese couturier, whom she thought to be “classical, conservative, reserved for billionaires”. “I was mistaken,” she says, lighting a cigarette. “In fact, he has a thousand strings in his bow. It’s a man who’s not afraid of taking a risk. I didn’t have any trouble integrating him into my wardrobe.”Milla and fashion, that’s a long story, sometimes a turbulent one. At the beginning there was the mother. “A crazy experience. All my girlfriends were jealous of her clothes. But I loved to watch her dress up”. During the 1970s in the Soviet Union, Galina Loginova, Jovovich’s mother, is a renowned actress. But when the family secretly crosses the Iron Curtain in order to settle in California in 1981, she is compelled to give up her career. Being the only child, Milla is taken upon to satisfy her ambitions. “I became her creation, her master project,” she explains. “She had a very clear idea, as to what she wanted me to become.” First, acting courses at the age of nine, then the first magazine cover in front of Richard Avedon’s lens at 11: during all these years, Milla is shaped by this mother-Pygmalion, who teaches her how to take a stand and clothes her at Gaultier’s
Results? When she leaves the family home at the age of sixteen, Milla does anything she wishes. “Because my Mum had always chosen my clothes, I had absolutely no style, no idea as to what suited me,” she remembers. “I dressed disastrously for several years”. At the time, she favors shiny silky blazers, amongst other “items for mature women, ridiculous at my age.” She wears red, gold, shoulder pads. It’s her “Ivana Trump” period. She needed time-“a lot of time”-in order to define her own style. “The trick is to find your silhouette,” she says. “That’s the starting point. Once you have the outlines in your head, it’s much easier to spot the items that will suit you.” In her case: “Never too much fabric at the waist level, that’s my golden rule”.
An assiduous fashion follower, from now on Milla Jovovich is among the first in the classy circles. She knows it: in an interview granted to ELLE USA, she has recently boasted of not having “a need for a stylist, in contrast to most Hollywood actresses”. Subscribed to “the best-dressed” lists, this record of achievement very much valued by the American press, she displays and inexhaustible wardrobe where second-hand outfits coexist with the ready-to-wear, according to the laws of art. “I love adding my own personal touch, to wear Armani items with Chanel ankle boots with a sharp toe, and bright pink socks,” she says. Miuccia Prada’s muse, who posts Milla her creations in cardboard boxes, Jovovich also knows how to cultivate an underground image by posing on the cover of “Dazed and Confused” magazine with hair under the arms. Her wardrobe, a jumble of finds, of hand-sewn outfits, of jeans bought in Tokyo, as well as scratched dresses, seems like the ideal cloak-room. She leaves nothing to chance: when Madness, her miniscule pet Maltese, appears scampering about in the hotel, it is in a coat with little flower patterns bought in Japan.
Sometimes though, it’s a bit too much. “I’ve so many outfits that sometimes I can’t help feeling overwhelmed. There are times when I have an allergy to fashion. I avoid my wardrobe and live in my tracksuit for days and days.” And then the confidence, the inspiration, the desire, return. “During these times, I feel like the world belongs to me and I can wear everything: Armani, Donna Karan, Prada, Chloé, Ballenciaga!” Hallelujah.
Dial M for Milla
When we last saw actress Milla Jovovich and director Wim Wenders together, he was playing out his obsessions with American trash culture, and she was playing a burned-out prostitute with a taste for high-minded literature in Wenders's film The Million Dollar Hotel. Together again on opening night of Wenders's exhibition of photographs at the Guggenheim Bilbao, the two talk about Madness, the Australian outback, and the best way to kill a zombie.
Wim Wenders: So Milla, Millaka, how is life?
Milla Jovovich: Well, life is good. I'm ironing a shirt here in Bilbao because the room service here, housekeeping, is closed because it's Monday, and, you see, people don't work here on Monday because Monday they are recovering from Sunday.
WW: But that's not so bad. When we arrived here, there was a general strike. The whole city was on strike, and they were marching through the streets, and that's when we were hanging the show.
MJ: Well, I've gotta tell you, if this city has this kind of attitude and makes people steam and iron their own clothes when they are coming to see beautiful exhibits at the Guggenheim, this hotel is not gonna last. Sorry. I'm very bitter right now. To set the scene, we've got about half an hour before Wim's show opens, and I'm ironing my boyfriend's clothes.
WW: Yes, but it's a very, very beautiful purple shirt. Do you like purple?
MJ: You know, it's not really purple. I like dusty colors, and this is sort of vieux violet. "Old" violet. I like things that are faded, that have gray in them.
WW: But not in your boyfriends.
MJ: No, no. [Laughs] But on walls or shirts.
WW: So Bilbao. What else comes to your mind? Resident Evil? Define evil.
MJ: Well, if you look in the dictionary, the actual definition of evil is "to destroy".
WW: Like Evel Kneivel?
MJ: Well, I guess so.
WW: He destroyed himself, didn't he?
MJ: I guess self-destruction is a form of evil too. But any time you destroy rather than create I think is evil, whether it be in relationships or art or anything.
MJ: Nothing should be destroyed. [Laughs] Except the zombies.
WW: What are the zombies exactly? I'm not into zombies myself. I think they stink.
MJ: What are zombies? Well, zombies are people that were injected by the T virus, and they died. And the T virus is --
WW: How do you catch that virus?
MJ: Well, through anything really. Through air, through water. It's a very advanced scientific experiment.
WW: But it only occurs in cities that start with a T, right? In Bilbao we can only catch the B virus.
MJ: Wim, you're making me really nervous. You're pacing.
WW: Okay, I sit. I sit still. First rule for an interviewer, sit still, shut up.
MJ: So. T virus. You inject these people with it, and what it does is regenerate cellular growth. So if a person dies, it gives an electric shock to your cells and pretty much reanimates the body. So people don't really have minds, but they have this urge to feed.
WW: So out of cellular growth, we have cellular gross.
MJ: I'll tell you guys why Wim is in such a great mood and he's cracking all of these jokes. We're about to go see his amazing exhibit at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Don't ask me why Bilbao --
WW: Because they have the Guggenheim here, and the Guggenheim has a big doggie in front of it, and it's beautiful.
MJ: The Guggenheim is amazing. I just wish it were in...Barcelona. WW: But what about your doggie, as we are talking about doggies? Where is Madness?
MJ: Madness is at home. You know, she's been traveling around so much. She went to Cannes, and she went to Italy, and she went to Berlin, so I decided to leave her with grandma at home.
WW: Okay, so here goes a greeting to Madness, and now let's continue with the interview. So we know about the zombies, but what do we do with them now that they are around us with their T virus? We have to eighty-six them, right?
MJ: Well, you gotta shoot 'em in the head. Or break their neck. That's the only way to kill a zombie.
WW: You can't just, like, put them on television and make a talk show with them until they're dead?
MJ: Fact is, they don't really talk, ya know? They don't have any brain.
WW: But neither do the people on talk shows.
MJ: Wim, maybe when you make a zombie movie, you can put them on a talk show to kill them.
WW: I bet I do the Tonight Show with zombies and it will be a big success. So we get rid of the zombies. Once you shoot them in the head and break their necks you're rid of them, or do they still procrastinate or something?
MJ: You know, the problem with zombies is not the individual zombie. It's the mass of them. When there's one zombie, there's usually like 500 more, because the disease travels really quickly.
WW: How do you know they are zombies? Can they look like nice people?
MJ: No. They look really horrible. They look dead. I mean, it's the gross stuff that teenage boys like to go see in the movies.
WW: Ah, that's it. That's what it is.
MJ: Anyways, the fact is, zombies are zombies, but who cares about zombies anyways? It's just fun. Resident Evil was already out in America so --
WW: So if I see one, I'll call you. I have your mobile number. You bring Madness, and out with the zombies.
MJ: I wish it were so easy. You know, I wish we could always just call a superhero when we need one, but unfortunately --
WW: Well, now we have Paul [Anderson, director of Resident Evil and Milla's current boyfriend], but Paul as a superhero wasn't able to iron his own shirt.
MJ: You think superheroes must have someone to wash their clothes and iron their stuff, and make the suits perfect so that when they put them on, they look really great.
WW: Like when they rip open the suit, there's got to be an ironed shirt underneath.
MJ: Definitely. It's gotta be clean and nice. You've never heard of Superman smelling.
MJ: He doesn't even sweat, right?
WW: No bad breath, either. You know that I once flew with Superman?
WW: I once got into a little plane in Newark -- no, not Newark -- La Guardia to go to Martha's Vineyard. And it was a terrible, stormy, rainy day and the six people on the plane were all really shaking with fear. We're sitting in this tiny little plane, the rain is coming down, and there was no pilot. Just the copilot was there, and he told us we had to wait for the pilot. And then, through the pouring rain, came this guy, shielding his head with his pilot's jacket. He came through the plane -- or crawled through the plane, because it was rather low -- came by me, and sat down in the pilot's seat. Finally it was not raining too hard, and the pilot told us we didn't have to be scared, that he would fly us safely to Martha's Vineyard. And at that point he turned around, and it was Christopher Reeve.
WW: This is true. This is a while ago. Christopher was still a pilot. And I tell you, the people around me were more scared than before.
MJ: Nobody trusts an actor to fly a plane.
WW: Let alone Superman. But you know what? He got us there.
MJ: When my family first moved to America, my parents were working as housekeepers for Brian De Palma. He had a house off of Coldwater Canyon, and we were staying in a little house off of the garage. He would go away on location all the time, and he would have different people come rent the house. One of the people who came was Christopher Reeve and his family. He was really great, and his son I used to run around and jump on his back. It was amazing. I was probably 7 years old, and to me he was completely Superman.
WW: I bet you were a really fun little girl when you were 7 years old.
MJ: Um, I was definitely a troublemaker.
WW: That's what I meant. What is the locale we are talking about? It's in the valley?
MJ: What, this house? No, it's up in the hills.
WW: I wish I had grown up there.
WW: Because it's so beautiful there, up Coldwater Canyon.
MJ: Yea, but where you grew up is perfect for the person you are.
WW: It didn't hurt me. Let's say that.
MJ: So I wanna know -- and I'm sure we all wanna know -- less about me and more about what we are doing tonight. I would love for you to talk about this exhibit -- what inspired you to do it, how long it's taken you to do it, the cameras you used. There's the story about when you were in Australia in the outback and it was like 300 degrees --
WW: In the shade!
MJ: And you had that fifty-pound camera and the aboriginal guy is calling you "fool with a camera."
WW: "Photojara" he was calling me, because he couldn't believe that anyone in his right mind would carry such heavy equipment through the desert and climb on top of every rock, or even on top of the boiling car, just to be six feet higher to take a picture. Plus the camera was black, and you couldn't even touch it anymore because it was too hot. This guy just frowned at me and thought I had definitely lost my mind and that it was probably from the heat. But I knew what I was doing, and I was taking these large-format pictures with this huge camera to one day print them really big, because I'm a collector of places. I love places, and I'm of the firm conviction that places have the ability to tell stories as long as people still have the ability to hear them. A lot of people just don't know anymore how to listen to a place. So that's what I'm doing, and I don't need a tape recorder.
MJ: Do you think that when it comes to your art that you ever don't know what you are doing?
WW: Basically, I never know what I'm doing. I work strictly from my guts and not from my head, which is very atypical for us Germans. Everybody believes I'm lying if I say I'm not an intellectual, that I'm badly prepared, and that I do this from my stomach, but that's the way it is. And even you have a critical frown on your forehead right now.
MJ: Well, I mean, listen. I've been one of your biggest fans for a long, long time, so it's hard for me to imagine that when you set out to take a picture or to film a scene that you don't really know where to start. It seems like you have a pretty strong vision. I know for myself, so many times as an artist I feel so much confusion, so much doubt, and so much of that What am I doing? Does this mean anything? I write a song and throw it away. That's what I do with most of my music, just put it on a shelf and try to forget about it, because it represents a part of me so personal that I'm almost embarrassed.
WW: Yeah, but doubt is the greatest thing. Imagine if you weren't doubting how boring this whole world would be. And only by overcoming doubt can you sort of feel that you are on the right track.
MJ: I guess so. There's a plus and a minus for everything, and I guess what I'm learning a lot right now is to appreciate the minuses as much as the pluses.
WW: Right now I doubt you are going to go to the exhibition in these clothes.
MJ: Just to let you know, right now I'm dressed in pajamas and a tank top, and I still haven't finished ironing my boyfriend's suit. And Wim, you look really amazing.
WW: I have my world-championship soccer shoes on.
MJ: By Yohji Yamamoto.
WW: Yes, in collaboration with Adidas. And I'm ready. Can I help you? I'll finish the ironing.
MJ: Actually, I have to do the pants now, but I think the jacket might be okay. What does your tie say? Wim is very famous for his wardrobe, everybody should know. And if V Magazine ever wants to do a personal-style story, they should do Wim and his wife, Donata.
WW: And give a call to Yohji Yamamoto first, because I'm wearing only his stuff. Listen to this tie. It says: "L'image est une creation pure de l'esprit." It's written in Yohji's handwriting. "The image is a pure creation of spirit." Isn't that great? And we're agreeing. And if I see a zombie, I hold up my tie, and it dies!
MJ: I don't know. I think you need a little more power than that. I think you need a big gun, Wim. Have you ever shot a gun?
WW: Oh, yes. Once.
MJ: Did you like it?
WW: It was scary. Actually, I shot a gun because the actor made me shoot it.
MJ: Just to see what it felt like?
WW: No, because in this scene he had to shoot a gun, and he was firmly convinced that as the director, I was going to be hopeless to direct him in this scene if I had never shot a gun myself. He said, "Wim, tell me the truth, have you ever carried a loaded gun in your pocket?" And I said, "No, of course not." And he said, "You can direct the scene with me on Monday morning if you carry this loaded gun with you over the weekend." And I was carrying a loaded gun in my pocket for two days and a half. And I tell you, that makes everything that you do different.
MJ: That wasn't Harry Dean Stanton, was it?
WW: No. If it were him, I wouldn't have let him shoot a gun. It was Bruno Ganz in American Friend, and he had to shoot someone in the subway. And after I carried the loaded gun and actually carried it out of Paris and shot it at something real, then I knew what he meant.
MJ: Wim, that's crazy. You're not supposed to shoot loaded guns, like, outside of Paris. You should have gone to a shooting range.
WW: Yes. But I didn't know this, and it wouldn't have been real. I wanted to know in real life what it was like.
MJ: But he's not going to be carrying around a loaded gun in real life. He's an actor. He's going to be carrying around an empty one.
WW: No. He had a real gun because we couldn't afford the expensive stuff. But we had the blank shells.
MJ: So you had blank shells?
WW: No. I had real shells, because he insisted that I have the feeling of a real gun in my pocket so I could be a good director.
MJ: So now everybody knows the secret to being a good director.
WW: So did Paul break people's necks or tell you how to do it?
MJ: Are you kidding? I totally gave Paul a black eye during the shooting. I gave the cinematographer a black eye. You know, the funny thing about Paul is that he's so nonviolent in his normal life that he takes it all out in his movies.
WW: He doesn't look dangerous at all.
MJ: He's not.
WW: He looks like me. We are sweet guys.
MJ: Yeah, you're sweet, but --
WW: But dangerous.
MJ: Definitely dangerous.
WW: He looks dangerous, too.
MJ: Yes, and it's the ones who are so mild mannered on the outside who have all the violent passion on the inside. I'm saying violent on an emotional, artistic level and not beating-people-up violent. You know the feeling, like, when you take a ball and you throw it at a hoop and it goes through? I never know that feeling because the ball never hits it. I'm never able to put a ball through a hoop; I'm never able to toss a piece of paper into a trash can without completely trying five times. But give me a gun and I point and shoot and it hits the mark, and I've got really great aim. It definitely makes me feel really good in a Mad Max sort of way. Do you think if the situation ever came up -- let's say the end of the world was coming -- would you prefer to die, or would you prefer to live by the gun and survive?
WW: In a jungle situation, where everybody's against everybody else?
MJ: Would you say, You know what, this world is not for me, I'm gonna lay down, or would you take a gun and go?
WW: I would take a gun and defend those who are dear to me. If I didn't have those people, I don't know if I would do it then. But I'd do it for others. That's for sure. I mean, if we were surrounded by zombies? Hey! I shoot the hell out of them!
MJ: I've never been able to understand people who would just lay down and die. It's definitely the human spirit to just keep going somehow, like a disease that won't stop.
WW: How did we get here? Weren't we just talking about my cute shoes?
MJ: And they are really cute.
WW: And you in your pajamas? I think I will turn this off so you can change.
See No Evil
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."
She's conquered acting, fashion and music, but Milla Jovovich always did it her way -- and the no-holds-barred star still refuses to play by the rules
Milla Jovovich, tough-talking star of this month's Resident Evil, famously beautiful model and top recording artist, is springing up and down on a trampoline, swinging her arms and smiling with all the innocent glee of a six-year-old, lost in her own happy world. But when the photographer's camera stops clicking, a sudden mood shift occurs. The smile vanishes, her face darkens, and she walks silently to a chair, where she buries her head in Stephen King's Gunslinger. It's like an eclipse, complete with the sudden chill.
According to Jovovich, however, the reason for the change isn't personal -- it's business. The less chit-chat between pictures, the sooner she'll be back home with her boyfriend. But, truthfully, her dark mood seems a little too convincing -- and sustained -- to be entirely fake. Now 26, she spent the first five years of her life in the Ukraine, and her temperment mirrors her homeland's extreme climate -- she can be light, sunny and open, or dark and closed off. There is apparently no middle ground, and she can swoop from one to the other in a moment. So it's oddly appropriate that she is about to learn the trapeze, having bought the film rights to a short story by British author Colin Thubron. She has decided to train with a net instead of a harness. It's not really a surprise. Jovovich is unharnessed in every sense of the word.
She is given to what she calls "controversial" behaviour, including her appearance on the cover of pot-smokers' fanzine High Times. Until the recent purchase of a Lexus, her greatest extravagance was her collection of vintage guitars. She has a predilection for kick-ass roles, and for doing her own stunts. Resident Evil is based on a video game that she had often played with her 13-year-old brother. Determined to get the part of Alice, a zombie-fighting commando, she told director Paul Anderson -- the English creator of Mortal Kombat, and now her partner -- that she would need "minimal training", then threw herself into karate, kick-boxing and combat-training. While making The Fifth Element six years ago, she so alarmed co-star Bruce Willis that he cautioned her not to break her head open for the sake of a film. "You know, I never do things that are stupid," she says. "Well, not in my professional life. Ha ha."
That life began with child modelling (at 11, she was nearly thrown off the cover of US magazine Mademoiselle when it was discovered she hadn't yet hit puberty) and before she was 15, she had starred in Two Moon Junction and Return to the Blue Lagoon. At 16, she was in the cult hit Dazed and Confused, and a few years later, The Fifth Element, when she met and married her director, Luc Besson 17 years her senior (it was her second marriage; she had eloped at 16 with her Dazed co-star Shawn Andrews, but the marriage was annulled). They separated just over a year after the film was released, and before their second project, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, opened to mixed reviews. There are those who might call such behaviour foolish, but Milla isn't one of them. When it comes to men, she has very definite ideas.
She no longer dates actors -- "there's too much weirdness there" -- but is not averse to a little flirtation, purely in the interest of the film, of course. At the beginning of the Resident Evil shoot, she treated her co-star, James Purefoy, to what she calls "a date -- he was really cute and I was lonely, so I said 'Okay, I'm going to come over -- do you like seafood?' I had this restaurant make a platter of shrimp, oysters, clams and crabs. I brought a bottle of Champagne. Everything was on ice. I've gotta say, it was very impressive. It was like a dream date for him, I'm sure -- the woman who brings everything. We had such a great time and we were talking about the film, and flirting and dancing and drinking Champagne and caviar at his house." Another actress might be wary of going so far to bond with an attached co-star (Purefoy is married to actress Holly Aird), but Jovovich is a woman who embraces risk.
"Guys love me when they first meet me because it's like, 'Oh she's independent, she's busy, it's not like she's going to be all clingy'", she says. "But then they end up hating me for it because they're never number one." Her work takes that prime position. This may explain why most of her relationships begin on set, but peter our later. "Unfortunately, what happens is that after the movie's over, I go on to something else, get really into that and that's when the whole jealousy thing happens," she concedes. "Suddenly, they don't have me 100 per cent any more and they start to get freaked out." She will not attach Luc Besson's name to this but it sounds very much as though she is discussing her marriage. Her relationship with Paul Anderson has survived partly because he knows when to keep his distance. In November, her guitarist and songwriting partner, Anno Birkin, was killed in a car crash. "It was the most horrible thing and I was grieving," she says. "Paul was wonderful. He didn't bother me all the time. If he hadn't been so great, he probably would have been pushed away. At some point, I said, "Where's Paul. I want to see him.'"
She also admires his English reticence and self-control. "When he's angry, it's like, 'I'm so angry!'" she laughs, putting on a somewhat effete English accent. "He's a sexy geek. Usually, the geeks are the best in bed. They love to service," she confides and bursts into laughter. "They're also the smartest and most interesting. I like people who weren't that popular in school because I never was. My two friends were a couple of Russian girls who were friends of our family. I'd be scared to have popular kids -- everything comes to them easily and they don't try so hard." Even now, she says, "I have only a couple of friends and I don't go out that much. I'm not a party girl."
She believes that American men are prone to assuming that most models are creatures of litte brain, whereas, "European men appreciate women not just for their bodies, but for their minds. They understand that women are beautiful, strong, intelligent -- all those things. In America, it's like if you're beautiful, you can't be intelligent, and if you're strong, you can't be beautiful." It's probably no coincidence that both Besson and Anderson are older than Jovovich, though, this time, the age gap is only 12 years. "I feel safe with an older guy. I wake up in the night, he'll take care of me, rather than a guy my age who doesn't know where his head is coming out of."
t's difficult to imagine Jovovich ever being vulnerable -- it's equally hard to imagine what kind of woman she would have been without the hard knocks of her background. When the family first moved to California, they were virtually penniless, so, "We all had to work." Her father, a doctor, and her mother, an actress, worked as housekeepers to Mission: Impossible director Brian De Palma and Jovovich still seethes at the though of her mother cleaning floors. "He could at least have given her a shot for a small part. It was just insane to me that somebody could be such a misogynistic weirdo." There's little doubt that the mother's frustration was channelled into the daughter's career. If Milla could fake the sexual confidence of a 20-year-old as a child, it was because her mother was pulling seductive faces from behind the photographer. "Sometimes the photographer would get mad, but I always did what my mum wanted because she was the one I had to go home with." When she was 15, her father was sent to jail for eight years for his involvement in a health insurance fraud. A substantial chunk of her adolescent earnings went towards his legal fees, "I mean, my father is a wonderful man. He's just made some bad choices when it comes to the people he trusts." The next year, she left the US for England, where she lived for a year, read voraciously -- "I had so many pretensions of being this super philosopher" -- and wrote songs for her surprisingly well-reviewed album, The Divine Comedy.
You can see how Jovovich would have mesmerised and mystified men from the beginning. There's her face, her delight in shaking people up, and her refusal to play by anyone's rules; not the film industry's, or the beauty industry's. She smokes and never consciously diets because when working she naturally eats very little -- say, a burger grabbed on the way to the make-up chair. Yet despite this taste for toxins, she has flawless, dewy skin. Other contradictions follow. She is the face of cosmetics giant L'Oréal, but allows her mother to cut her hair. Indeed, it was Milla's mum who recently gave her a fringe -- "L'Oréal wanted me to have my hair longer, but I don't like having everything one length. It hides my face too much." On most days when not working, she grabs chunks of hair, and twists and pins them to her head.
Thanks partly to the munificence of Miuccia Prada, the actress shops infrequently. A typical outfit: blue and brown Miu Miu cardigan, Miu Miu bra, paisley camisole of unremembered origin and hip-hugger jeans bought on the street in Tokyo. Jovovich has innate style, which is why Mrs Prada, as the actress insists on her calling her, is so very generous with the clothes. The two women would appear to be kindred spirits in other ways, too, sharing a love of speed, and a need to pack as much as possible into a day. "Mrs Prada has a slide going from her office to her lobby. I said, 'Oh, that's a really interesting piece of art and her secretary said, 'No, eet ees slide!' She slides from her office to her lobby, gets in her car and goes. I want to be her when I grow up."
When? This is a sobering though: Jovovich, twice married, professionally triple-barrelled, a woman who swings through life without a safety net, not yet grown up? Perhaps it might be better to say, she gives adulthood a new name.
Milla Jovovich (27). Just arrived in the States from Kiev, she begins a modelling career as a 13-year old girl. She quickly discovers her real passion is on the silver screen. Although you can’t choose all of your colleagues here either...
Some lives can be called turbulent. Such is Milla Jovovich’s life. As an 11-year old she emigrates with her parents from Kiev to Sacramento. Father Jovovich, a respected pediatrician, suspects America offers him and his family a better future than depressing Russia. And apparently he seems to have foresight... Once in the States, Milla’s pretty appearance is quickly discovered by a model agency. Merely a child, she poses for the world-famous photographer Herb Ritts at just 13 years of age. This series, which is published in a French fashion magazine, arranges the immediate ‘arrivée’ of the inexperienced model. Still, playing a model is not the ultimate goal in life for the still extremely young little Russian. Nearly a year later she makes the switch to the movie business. She makes her debut in ’88 in Two Moon Junction as the younger sister of Sherilyn Fenn and we see her back in ’91 in Return to the Blue Lagoon, a movie that flops big time but does give her a big name. After that she makes a short trip towards music (Milla doesn’t sing without merit and she even made her own album), but a real breakthrough does not occur. Back to square one: make a movie now and then and do a LOT of modelling. Her career as a ‘pretty face’ pays off. Milla becomes the cover-model of CK, sparkles on hundreds of glossy covers of leading fashion magazines and signs a desirable contract with cosmetics-giant L’Oréal. The private life of Jovovich is also not quiet. In ’93 she marries for the first time, but that marriage is annulled after just one year. In ’97 she tries again: with Luc Besson. The Fifth Element - a movie he directs and in which she plays - is a success, but the same can’t be said about their love. In ’99 the couple has split up and leaves Milla a little bit embittered. She takes the horror-path. In Resident Evil (the movie based on the computer game of the same name, which will be released soon in Dutch cinemas) we see how Jovovich battles with a bunch of zombies. When an experiment in a laboratory fails and all the researchers get infected by a world-threatening virus and turn into zombies, the battle with evil begins. The task of suppressing the virus - and the zombies - before it contaminates the rest of the world falls to leading characters Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. Of course the couple succeeds by saving the world with kickboxing. Yeah! And while Milla’s newest movie may be a horror, it is still a wonderful product to amuse you.
Starstyle: I heard you want to make a documentary about conversations between you and your therapist?
Yes, I want to go into therapy. Not because I’m confused, but so I can film it. I’m fascinated by documentaries in which life stories are the essence. It seems wonderful to me to tell a therapist about my life and my inner feelings and then make an impressive documentary about it.
Recently you finished shooting Resident Evil. The movie is a ‘horror’. Weren’t you afraid that the extreme would take over the movie?
The interesting thing about this movie is the fact its subject indeed looks extreme, but its point of departure isn’t that far from reality as it’s practiced by a lot of independent genetic research laboratories. Just look at the covers of big magazines before September 11 last year... almost all of them were about genetics, cloning and things like that. It really appealed to me that this movie is about things that seem unbelievable, but in reality they are close to what is already possible.
I understand that almost the entire cast really went crazy during the pub-crawls you held during shooting in Germany?
I didn’t completely misbehave, you know. At least, compared to the rest of the crew. I mean, some guys... they really went out of their minds. They arrived at the set next morning, fell asleep and puked on the floor. But of course I’m not going to tell you who they were, ha ha.
Did your co-star Michelle Rodriguez also go pretty low?
You didn’t get that from me.
Michelle said she taught you everything about being vulgar, and you taught her everything about class. Is that correct?
That’s nice of her. I was actually wondering why she acted so stylish lately. I really thought: did you really listen to me when I was trying to teach you something? Before I met Michelle, sometimes I had a feeling I was a bit vulgar, but when I met her, that feeling didn’t last very long, ha ha.
She said you are weird, in a good way. Is she also weird?
Come on, do you think I’m weird? This really shows how weird she is, don’t you think? But yes, when I was 15, maybe I was also a meaningless kid. Michelle is just a very young girl. But reluctantly I have to admit, she does have the passion and the discipline you need in this business. Even if she partied the whole night, the next day she was at the set on time and gave everything. Even if she was retching all the time. The whole crew had that spirit by the way. Everybody may have gone out for a drink and had a good party, but at the same time we knew what it was all about: making a good movie.
How is your singing career doing?
I wouldn’t really call it a career. Music is something I love. I can’t live without it. I want to keep it unspoiled and pure and that doesn’t really catch on with a big audience. I released a few albums, but it’s not the kind of music that catches the entire world. Sometimes my mother says: “Look at Britney, you can do that too. Look at Jennifer, you’ve got legs, you’re also beautiful, you can stand on a stage shaking your body and dancing.” But I have no need for that. Don’t get me wrong, Jennifer and Britney are great, but I don’t have the desire to do music world-wide in a commercial way. I like to have a passion in my life which is mine alone. I write songs I like and that’s about it.
Could you enjoy such extreme stardom as J.Lo has?
I love dancing and I like to wear provocative outfits, so I think I could enjoy an image like that. But on the other hand... I’m a model, and part of my life is already about appearances and my sex-appeal. I don’t have the feeling I should do more with that, and especially not with something which is as personal for me as music. Just go into a studio and dutifully sing some words, which are written by a songwriter because he expects it to become a big hit? No, that doesn’t appeal to me. And I don’t have to do it for the money either. I’m making plenty of money with my contract with L’Oreal, so I’m not desperate to work really hard for something I might not like at all.
Talking about liking things: do you still like the modelling?
I love it, it really gives me an enormous spiritual satisfaction to be so concerned with my appearance, ha ha. Anyway, seriously, I’m extremely happy with my L’Oreal contract. I can do the commercials and that comes really easily for me. If you asked me to make a choice between modelling and acting, the answer is simple. I rather work on a movie such as Resident Evil 16 hours a day than 12 hours a day on a L’Oreal-commercial. But, dear people of L’Oreal, I mean no offence because I love you! What I actually mean to say, is that modelling sometimes gives less satisfaction. If I had been a stylist for example, I would like it more. If I was the director of a commercial, perhaps I would feel really comfortable. And even a make-up artist creates something. A model doesn’t do that. I’m just standing there standing. It’s not a bad thing to do, you know, but it just doesn’t give any deeper satisfaction.
You would rather work really hard at a movie than making loads of money?
I have more energy left after a day of hard work at the movie set than after a long day of work for L’Oreal. When I’m working at a movie, after a day of shooting I’m excited about the thinking, the creating, working with people who I like to work with. I am really loaded up then. I come home and I can’t sleep and thoughts about the film are still crossing my mind. I’m busy thinking about the next day and how I could do better. During Resident Evil, I was really busy with it 24 hours a day. Sometimes I called the director, Paul Anderson in the middle of the night and said: “Paul, what do you think of that scene we are going to do tomorrow?” We discussed many scenes like that, and I can tell you: I enjoyed it. I’m at my best when I am doing things I like to do. As a model it’s different, I can’t be the one who I really want to be. It’s just me doing a job. Nothing more and nothing less.
Can you say something about creating Alice, leading character in Resident Evil?
Acting is so challenging because you have to bring a person, whose character is written in black on white, literally to life. After a few years I can say I’m pretty good at that. Even though my latest movies aren’t all very good, I know I acted great in them. It’s the same thing with Alice. I’m really happy with the result.
What about the sexual radiation of your character?
You know, I actually have never played a sexy role. OK, maybe in The Fifth Element I looked sexy, all packed, but it wasn’t a role that had to be played sexy. And now I was able to be a real sexy girl in a beautiful dress...
You aren’t wearing anything in the beginning of your new movie though.
I didn’t have any problems with that. This was the first real action/horror movie I ever did and I was prepared to go really far. I thought: I will decide what I feel comfortable with or not after I’ve seen the final product. Surprisingly enough - because I had cut out almost all of the nudity in The Claim - I didn’t find it any problem at all with this movie. I really thought: OK, you see my boobs, but what do I care. It’s a movie for 16 and older and we are trying to sell the thing anyway. A man who is going to see this movie expects violence, cursing and sex. And that’s what he gets.
When do you have no problems with nudity in your movies?
What counts for most of the actresses also counts for me: if I don’t feel comfortable with it, I don’t do it. For Resident Evil by the way, it was not necessary at all for me to go nude. There were really no reasons to do so, but we did it anyway, and that’s good. I love it, all these guys going out of their minds because of some exciting scenes. It’s not that I’m just walking across the screen nude or that I’m taking my top off for a guy as some sort of sex-machine by the way. I put on a dress and you can see my breasts, big deal.
So it’s a good movie for lesbians?
Also no problem for me. I love women. I realize more and more now that you can rely on women more than men. Maybe I’m mistaken, but after a series of failed relationships with men, I appreciate women so much more. Female friendships are for an eternity. Again and again after it went wrong with a boyfriend, reluctantly I came back to my friends and said: “I loved him so much.” After which they said: “But you said the same thing last time, and the time before that, and the time before that.” And then we had a drink and laughed about it. So you know, I hope a lot of woman will also see this movie. Just because we woman are tough in the movie and we break all sorts of impossible barriers, and that is astonishing.
You’re happy being single for the moment?
I’ll leave that an open question.
Together with Luc Besson you made The Fifth Element and you married him. Did you recently date Paul Anderson?
Excuse me, I don’t think we have to talk about that.
Can we expect you in a different movie soon?
No. That might sound a bit blunt, but what I mean is, I want to be home as much as possible right now.
Where do you live now?
You’re happy there?
I recently bought a house there and I’m happy I’ve found a place where I feel comfortable. Since September 11 some - apart from that horrible assault at the WTC - unpleasant things have happened in my life. A good friend of mine who was a guitarist and who I liked to make music with, recently passed away. And more painful things have happened. It has been a heavy year. So I’m not desperate to live in a different country for four to six months again because some movie has to be shot. Unless it’s something I can absolutely not refuse of course. I’m happy things are calm right now. In L.A. I have my family around me, I just got a puppy, I enjoy the divine idleness for a moment.
What kind of puppy do you have by the way?
A Maltese. Her name is Madness. Good name huh?
Milla Jovovich - 20Q
The power waif sets us straight about fake id cards, french husbands and celebrity shoplifting
At 26, Milla Jovovich has saved the world more often than anyone had any reason to expect. Jovovich's parents were a Russian actress and a Yugoslavian medical student who left the Soviet Union for California when their daughter was five years old. Milla, who was called a commie at school, started taking acting classes at the age of nine. Jovovich made her film debut on Disney Channel's The Night Train to Kathmandu. In 1988, at the age of 12, she made history as the youngest girl ever to appear on an American fashion magazine cover. Richard Avedon photographed her as one of Revlon's most unforgettable women. Jovovich graced 15 covers that year, and People magazine named her one of its 50 Most Beautiful People.
At 14, Jovovich earned her first major film role, in Return to the Blue Lagoon. She took on supporting roles, opposite Sherilyn Fenn in Two Moon Junction, and in Richard Linklater's Fazed and Confused (at 16, she wed her co-star Shawn Andrews, but the marriage was annulled months later). Roles in Bruce Evans' Kuffs and in Chaplin, starring Robert Downey Jr., followed. In addition to acting and modeling, Jovovich was developing her music and signed a deal with EMI Records, which released The Divine Comedy to critical acclaim.
Jovovich hit it big in films when director Luc Besson cast her in The Fifth Element opposite Bruce Willis. She appeared in Spike Lee's He Got Game and then she and Besson launched their dream project, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, placing her in the role once played by screen icons Ingrid Bergman and Jean Seberg. The impressive cast included John Malkovich, Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway. Jovovich, meanwhile, had married Besson. After several tempestuous years they divorced.
Jovovich continues to model (she has a deal with L'Oreal) and has appeared in The Claim, Wim Wenders' The Million Dollar Hotel and Zoolander. This year she stars as Alice, the zombie killer, in boyfriend Paul Anderson's Resident Evil. Other projects include No Good Deed opposite Samuel L. Jackson, You Stupid Man, co-starring William Baldwin, and Dummy with Adrien Brody.
Robert Crane caught up with Jovovich at Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. He reports: "Milla is a tamperproof source of energy. She will be the one still standing at the end -- despite the ex-husbands, failed relationships, film hits and misses. She is strong and embraces chaos. Jovovich brought her dog to the interview. Its name is Madness."
1. Playboy: Comparisons between you and Brooke Shields are inevitable -- young models, Blue Lagoon films. Tell us how you're different from her.
Jovovich: Brooke and I have completely different images. She's always been very much America's sweetheart, and I am not. I'm an alien. I'm Russian. When I was a teen I moved to Europe, started working in music, recorded an album and went on tour with my band. By the time that was all over, I was doing The Fifth Element. The similarities between us include our strong mothers. My mom always wanted me to be an actress and that was pretty much what she trained me for since I was little, which was kind of the same with Brooke. We were both the youngest girls to be on the cover of a fashion magazine. She was 13 or 14, and I was 12. And I hope when I'm in my 30s, I'll have a TV show like she did. I'm fine with modeling my career after Brooke Shields' -- she's done great.
2. Playboy: Which Blue Lagoon was better?
Jovovich: Overall, hers was better, but I was a better actress.
3. Playboy: What's the most important: talent, ambition or a really good publicist?
Jovovich: All of them. The biggest mistake that a lot of actors and other artists make is to rely wholly on their talent. But talent without discipline means nothing. My mom attended film school in Russia, one of the most difficult film schools back in the Sixties. One of the things she always told me to make sure I stayed in line was, "Milla, the most talented kids in film school in the first year (it was a four-year course) dropped out by the fourth year. And the least talented ones who worked their butts off were at the top of the class by the end." So what is talent? It's a natural-born thing, but if it's not refined and disciplined and channeled in the right way, it turns destructive. It turns into ego, and it turns into "I'm a genius, I don't need to do anything, I can drink and be rude . . . " I know a guy who's an amazing writer and works at a car wash. You know he's never going to do anything because he has no drive. And a publicist? I have a publicist.
4. Playboy: Is the euro making your life any easier?
Jovovich: I have no clue about the euro. All I know is that England doesn't want anything to do with it, and if England doesn't want anything to do with it, neither do I. The English know they have got the strongest currency in the world. I trust them about money.
5. Playboy: Is Milla short for something?
Jovovich: It is short for Milizta. Can you imagine, Milizta Jovovich? It's hard enough as it is. I curse my parents every day. Why didn't they change my name?
6. Playboy: How important is it for a woman to have at least one French husband?
Jovovich: French men are great. They know how to treat a woman. I'd recommend them.
7. Playboy: What is the most useful way to get through a fashion shoot?
Jovovich: The best way to get through a fashion shoot is to have as few thoughts as possible. In the end, people want to make you look a certain way, and the more you fight the longer it takes to get there. I do what they ask me to do. I'm professional. Fashion shoots for me are pretty much automatic. I do my job, I'm nice and polite, and then I go home. Modeling does nothing for anybody, artistically speaking, unless you're the photographer or the stylist. The models are the lowest rung in the fashion industry. They are the least creative. There are some models who really know style and bring their own style to a shoot, but they're few and far between. Modeling is quick money, easy money and good money. It's not that big a deal.
8. Playboy: Did you enjoy being a girl?
Jovovich: Yeah, I had a great time. I think I had a pretty special childhood because there was a balance of good and bad magic. I had a lot of problems on a personal level, family things, but on the other hand I was working and understanding things. I was very creative, took lots of classes, played guitar. I was hanging out with my friends and being bad, doing all the things a teenager wants to do. Thank God I'm here to tell the story. I had a chance to have an adult lifestyle at an early age and at the same time express myself and be a kid. Now I'm 26 and my life is pretty stable. It's not like I'm 26, straight out of college and saying, "What am I going to do?" I've got a lot of plans. I have my company, I just bought a house and I'm paying attention to make other sensible investments. I like being in my mid-20s and being on top of everything and not confused and crazy.
9. Playboy: How proficient were you in disguising your age? Have you had to actually lie about it?
Jovovich: When I was 15, 16, and 17 and going out to clubs, my friends and I had fake IDs that looked nothing like us because they were from wallets we would find in rest rooms. I don't think people really care that much. As long as you're young and beautiful, they're like, "Come on in."
10. Playboy: You've cut a wide path through available guy talent. Apparently it does not take much to pique your interest, but what does it take to sustain it?
Jovovich: It's hard to say because none of my relationships have lasted. I've mostly been in relationships of the two-year to four-year type since I was 17. When guys first meet me, they're mystified by my independence. They like the fact that I'm young and pretty, have money and stability and don't need anything from them. They don't know what to do to get me. Then they start resenting the things they loved about me in the first place. It's, "You're always working," or "You have to cancel this trip," or "You didn't call." I hate the phone. I have two cell phones, but I don't know where one of them is. I check my answering machine once a week. I'm really the worst person if you're trying to call me. I'll say, "Let's just make a date right now to see each other because I don't like talking on the phone." So if you're my boyfriend you're not going to talk to me on the phone that much. Maybe once a day I'll call to ask how are you, to say I love you, bye. But I'm not into having major conversations on the phone. That pisses some people off. It's this possessiveness people have. I'm guilty of it myself, but most of the time I wish guys would give me more space. My days are filled -- with research, reading, playing guitar, making business calls, going on auditions. It seems as soon as your professional life is great, your personal life is a disaster. As soon as your personal life is wonderful, you know you haven't been working. But my boyfriend right now is amazing. We've been going out for almost a year. I've had a lot of things that have been emotionally trying, and he's stuck with me. So I don't know, maybe he's the one.
11. Playboy: How do you protect a guy from feeling used?
Jovovich: I thought guys liked feeling used. I didn't know that was something you had to protect them from. Use me, baby, abuse me. Talk to me in a year, because I have to use this new information and see how it works.
12. Playboy: Your ads for Donna Karan show you with Gary Oldman in Paris and Jeremy Irons in Vietnam. Can you explain?
Jovovich: We figured I would play an international, independent woman dating older, sophisticated men. I love them and leave them, then go to some exotic place with another one. At the end of the last shoot we did, I said the next one should be for Donna Karan maternity wear. I said, "Listen, she's going to look like a complete slut if she has a different guy on the next campaign." But they used another model anyway, so it's like the guy got a new girlfriend. I didn't know the relationship would end that way.
13. Playboy: Where do you rank shoplifting on the spectrum of thrill seeking?
Jovovich: Pretty low. Free Winona!
14. Playboy: Let's assume you've received a presidential pardon. What were your worst offenses?
Jovovich: Not bad enough for a presidential pardon, that's for sure. I don't really have any vices. Actually, I just got back from skiing, and, like an idiot, I went on the moguls and wiped out so hard I can't do anything. I'm so mad. Why did I do that? I could be skiing right now. But no, I had to take a crazy risk.
15. Playboy: Models want to become actors and actors want to become rock stars. Which of these vocations is the most wholesome?
Jovovich: The entertainment business isn't wholesome. It just isn't. Maybe the Olsen twins are wholesome, but they just hit puberty, so I don't know. You have to be competitive as an actor. It screws up your principles. Actors would be much nicer to each other if there weren't so much pressure from agents and managers. If you want a wholesome career, don't get into the entertainment business. There are too many temptations. Saying that, I don't know a business that is wholesome. Capitalism is unwholesome. It's not about loving your brother; it's about looking out for number one. That's the American lifestyle, and there's nothing wrong with it.
16. Playboy: Which career is the riskiest?
Jovovich: Modeling, because there are no laws. It's something the government has passed over. There are no child laws regarding how long you can work, or whether you're being schooled. At least with acting, you have to have a teacher on the set. In Milan there are a lot of 14-year-old girls doing shows with 15-, 16- and 17-year-old girls who are experimenting with things that are dangerous. A lot of these girls are not with their parents and they're confused. They've dropped out of school and they're just naive little oysters waiting to be scooped up. Unfortunately, if your parents aren't around, or somebody who knows better, you'll get taken advantage of. In acting and music there are people behind the artists who got them to where they're disciplined enough. Modeling is not that way. The work is boring and it can take all day, but it's not hard. It's not mentally stimulating. It's like being a fifth grader in a first grade class. After a week, it gets really boring and you want something to challenge you. To be young, out of school, with no parents, a boring job -- the only interesting part is after work when you go out to clubs and stuff. When I do a film, the work that goes into it is really difficult, so when I get home, all I want to do is sleep.
17. Playboy: Are soccer hooligans part of the fun or a necessary evil?
Jovovich: Both. My boyfriend, who's English, says part of the experience of going to a soccer game is the violence. He says the difference between American football and English soccer is that football is a family sport and soccer isn't. Only crazy people take their children to English soccer games because everyone throws things at the opposing fans. One guy ended up with a dart in his head. It's not a family sport.
18. Playboy: All the famous Ukrainians we know are figure skaters, weight lifters or gymnasts. How did you escape?
Jovovich: If my mother had been a ballerina or a figure skater, I would have been one, too. But my mother was an actress, and that inspired me when I was little. But trust me, if my mom had been a figure skater, I'd be the best figure skater in the world now.
19. Playboy: What do you consider to be the worst interior design excesses of the rich and famous?
Jovovich: I'd have to say MTV's Cribs. There's something wrong with showing people your home, especially with the money these people make and the taste they have. To bring a TV crew to your home is kind of trashy. It makes people envious of you. I know I feel that way when I watch those shows, and I hate it. I thought Mariah Carey's lingerie closet was a bit much, but there are two couches in her house that are to die for.
20. Playboy: You've described your character in Resident Evil as a hard-ass. Do men ever get to see the soft side of Milla?
Jovovich: I'm a hard-ass when it comes to my work, and I'm not scared to take risks. On a social level, I'm not hard at all. Maybe withcertain men, the ones who say, "Hey!" That kills me. Anyone who says hello by pointing a finger at me I will hate for life. There's no second chance.
Killer Good Looks
Milla Jovovich not ashamed to admit she's gorgeous
When it comes to her looks, Milla Jovovich refuses to be coy.
"I think I'm a very pretty girl. I'm never going to pretend to think otherwise. There are even days I feel I'm fabulously hot and sexy," says Jovovich, 26, who began modeling shortly after her ninth birthday. "I'm grateful for my looks. My family is doing well because of them. I can make career choices and turn down movies because of them and I have been making money from them for 17 years. My looks are who I am."
Since her cameo appearance in 1988 in Two Moon Junction, Jovovich has starred in 16 films, including Return to the Blue Lagoon, Chaplin, The Fifth Element, He Got Game, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, The Claim, and Zoolander.
In Resident Evil that opens today, Jovovich plays Alice, a futuristic superagent who, with fellow commandos, must try to isolate a virus that could conceivably wipe out mankind. Resident Evil is based on the video game series that has sold more than 16 million units worldwide, grossing upward of $600-million US. The film version, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, is a prequel to the five video games, so it will be the first time fans meet Alice.
"I think I was physically right for the role of Alice. Our film is very much like Aliens and I see myself as a young Sigourney Weaver. I loved how sexy her outfits were. Her underwear combo at the end of Alien is so hot. That's the feel I was going after for my hospital gown at the end of Resident Evil. Paul let me design that gown myself," she says of basically two short sheets held together by surgical tape. "I think Jennifer Lopez would look particularly hot in a variation of that gown."
For the first 90 minutes of Resident Evil, where the other commandos are dressed in leather fatigues, Jovovich wears a slinky evening dress that keeps getting pieces ripped away. "Alice is suffering from amnesia so she doesn't realize she is a commando. When the mission begins and she's taken prisoner she's dressed in evening wear. It was our way out of giving her the sexiest outfit possible. The game is violent and sexy, so that's the feel we were after. My costumes in The Fifth Element were inadvertently sexy. Everything in Resident Evil is overtly sexy."
Shorting after filming The Fifth Element, Jovovich married Luc Besson, who directed the movie. They broke up two years later while he was directing her in Messenger. Jovovich is currently dating Anderson. She says that makes her "technically not single but nobody knows how long this is going to last. No matter how great a relationship is, I won't ever think of marriage unless he is the father of my child." In 1993, she was married briefly to actor Shawn Andrews, who she met on the set of Dazed and Confused, and before beginning work on Resident Evil, dated John Frusciante, the guitarist of Red Hot Chili Peppers. "My new philosophy is that whoever impregnates this womb gets the girl."
Jovovich says part of the reason she enjoyed filming Resident Evil was that she became "passionate about my director. Paul is like a little kid when it comes to films like this. He becomes like a computer geek. His enthusiasm is contagious. One day Eric Mabius (who plays a policeman) and I got sprayed by battery acid. My agent rushed on set. It ate through his Gucci bag and Prada slacks. He hauled me off to the doctor. I was content with just washing myself with soap. By that time in the shoot my body was just a mass of scrapes and bruises anyway."
Anderson points out that Jovovich did "every stunt except one where she had to jump from one ceiling pipe to another. The other actors had knee, elbow and shoulder pads under their costumes but there was nowhere we could hide pads on Milla, so she had to endure the physical abuse and she did." Jovovich says better the physical grind of Resident Evil than the emotional one that she endured filming Messenger while breaking up with Besson. "That movie was such an emotional strain for me. Because of where my personal life was at the time it was like emotional battery."
While she was filming Resident Evil in Berlin, Jovovich had to fly to Paris for a few days to film a magazine layout and commercial for L'Oreal. "They had me running through this wind tunnel and something went wrong and I ended up slashing my hand. Paul joked with the L'Oreal people about no returning me in the same condition he'd sent me to them in, knowing full well he was putting me through so much more on a daily basis."