Milla Jovovich: The Apocalypse Angel
Ciné Live: You’ve certainly enjoyed revisiting your character Alice for Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but at what point did you decide to embark on this project?
Firstly, I love the video game. It’s the coolest game there is… even though I never play it! I hope that my fans won’t hold this against me. In fact, I prefer watching my little brother play, and tell him what to do: “Try this door, go there, take that.” I’ve told him that I could very well portray this girl, Jill Valentine, I even wanted to produce the first film, but I learnt that the script was already in the process of being written, with a heroine named Alice. Alice! Not Jill! However, it is my favorite character in the game!
You’re not too jealous that it is Sienna Guillory who incarnates Jill Valentine from now on?
No, because she was amazing and brilliant in this role. And since I’m always like God to my little brother, I really can’t complain. And I love Alice. She is strong, but she knows how to remain feminine. One moment she is gentle and vulnerable, the next she is cold and malicious. I love playing characters with multiple facets. And then, returning to a character for the second time is always interesting for an actor. It enables one to be more at ease, to go a bit further, to take more risks.
Ripley in Alien, Sarah Connor in Terminator, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider or Alice in Resident Evil. Do you think that women shall keep the upper hand and will continue to enjoy as much success in action movies as their male counterparts?
And even more! (Laughs). Every year women are becoming stronger and stronger, they are being more and more represented in the movies, in the media, politics… Action films with a hero have often been made and remade so many times, that one really feels like they’ve already seen everything. An action movie with a heroine is still unexplored territory.
However, that remains interchangeable. Whether it’s about a male or a female protagonist, there are always the villains, the adventure, the action…
Except it’s always more exciting to watch women kick some butt on the screen. (Laughs). To see them take control of the situation. They are superb, strong, sexy, intelligent. All women could accept this challenge.
You’ve always confessed to lacking self-confidence. Is it still the case today, despite your roles as an action woman and your professional success?
It’s not really until I move and I do what I love, that I have self-confidence. But afterwards, when I take a break, I become idle, and then, goodbye to confidence. And I say to myself: “Oh my God, I have nothing to do, not a project in sight, I am absolute zero!” Last year was a bad year up to the moment when I began training for Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Three hours of shooting lessons per day. That woke me up and drove away the negative voices.
Is that why you love action movies so much, because they keep you awake?
More than anything, it’s because I have fun making them. I’ve already portrayed some quite serious roles, and it’s not that I don’t like them, but I also enjoy having a nice moment on the set, to run around, to feel sexy, to feel a part of the crowd… I haven’t had to always remain on the edge because I needed to concentrate on my character. Interpreting a role requires a lot of effort in terms of personality and emotions, and this needs to continue for at least four months. Nine for Joan of Arc! I was completely exhausted after this movie, because of all the action, but also because of the emotions involved. Every day was like an inferno. The days were long and I had to keep the intensity of my heroine for hours on end. Afterwards, it was hard to come back home and fall asleep; I would spend the night thinking about my role. So even though action movies are difficult in the physical sense, emotionally, it’s a lot more relaxing.
Do you perform most of the stunts yourself?
Not this time. This movie is too crazy and the stunts are too dangerous. There was one where Alice runs down vertically across the side of a seventy five meter building. I think that I would have attempted the move, if I’d been asked to, but the insurers didn’t want that. I love doing completely crazy things… but so that real danger is not involved. I don’t want to kill myself altogether. Action movies are perfect for this, you go right up to the point of no return, except you come back every time. (Laughs).