Talks about Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, ending the franchise
Milla Jovovich has played RESIDENT EVIL’s Alice six times now; it’s a character she’s all too familiar with. RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER marks the last time (probably) Jovovich will slip into one of Alice’s functionally stylish outfits and battle it out with zombies, mutants and the evil Umbrella Corporation. But RESIDENT EVIL is, of course, more than just a movie franchise to the actress. It’s where she met her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson, and started a family (two daughters, one of whom stars in THE FINAL CHAPTER). Even for a series of movies as gleefully silly as these, it won’t be easy to say goodbye to them.
Last year, I visited the set of THE FINAL CHAPTER in Cape Town, South Africa, and spoke (along with a handful of other journalists) to Jovovich about all things RESIDENT EVIL, from the bittersweet feeling of bidding it farewell to how THE FINAL CHAPTER differs from all the rest to seeing her daughter play the sinister Red Queen. And much more!
On mentally and physically preparing for THE FINAL CHAPTER only months after having a baby:
I am just so excited that we have been able to do this franchise for as many years as we have and I think every one that we make we kind of close the book on it once we’re done and then once people want another one, I am ready to go again. But this time it will be a little bit difficult. I had just had a baby six months ago and so it was definitely challenging because I felt like I was cramming all of the exercise in the at the last minute and just couldn’t get myself out of mom, nursing, hanging-at-home mode. And I look at pictures of myself and from right before I got here I was 35 pounds heavier and when I got here I went into complete overdrive and had to kind of be careful with the dieting and the super exercising because I wanted to nurse my daughter for as long as possible and exercise and nursing don’t go well together so I couldn’t go full on but at the same time. I am now within 6 pounds of my pre-baby weight.
On how she feels playing Alice after all these years:
I think for me I just get more and more comfortable with the character of Alice. It is about finding little human aspects about her to show that about her, because she is not the kind of character that is going to laugh a lot, she is not the kind of character that is going to fall in love, and have these simple moments with people you know, so if I can sneak little things in for her humanity, I have to. We did this amazing fight sequence, that we call “the upside-down fight” and I was watching the stunt double do it and watching them rehearse it and in my head I thought it would be great if she laughed in this fight scene because you could see a different side to her personality and i just thought it would be very charming in a way if you could put that into a fight sequence to give her character a little something instead of being tough all the time. And we did it a couple of times and when people saw it in the dailies everyone just kind of fell in love with Alice because it was just a kind of Alice thing to do. It wasn’t a scripted thing there were moments where I felt kind of inspired to do something different into the scene and I think it is those little bits of life that make a typical fight sequence stand out and something that people really believe and buy it when they watch.
A little more on how Alice has affected Milla’s life:
I never thought 15-years ago that I would be sitting here talking about number 6 of an action-horror franchise. My mom was just here and going who would have thought when you were young that this is what you would be doing. But it’s amazing, it’s really a part of who I am and there are a lot of facets of my personality in these movies, there are a lot of facets that aren’t, of course. But I think it is a real character piece and it’s a beloved character for people that I was able to represent that for a lot of women, a lot of young people, a lot of fans of the game. Especially because Alice isn’t in the video games. It is kind of amazing to do something that people embrace so much.
On how much input she has in hubby Paul W.S. Anderson’s scripts:
It kind of depends.The first two movies, I was beating him over the head with the script because the first one he rewrote everything for Michelle Rodriguez because they got her in the movie and I love Michelle, but I was adamant that he remember The Fifth Element; like, “Paul, you can’t take away my action scenes!” And I hardly knew Paul at the time, so I was close to outta there. In the second one, I remember that he was really excited to have Jill Valentine in the movie and he gave all the good action to Sienna’s character and I was like, “what are you doing?” So it’s really nice that pretty much from number three onwards he pretty much knew that I would be pretty angry if he didn’t give me some great action. I want to keep it all to myself, but at the same time, that was my big thing, doing all the action, doing my own stunts and all that, so I really wanted to perform and impress my fans who’ve gone out to see me ever since The Fifth Element and the other things that are wild, strong and fun.
So it has been quite a few times in this series that where I have come to Paul with ideas about a stunt sequence. For me now, fights and stunt sequences are like second nature. So when I watch a stunt sequence, I think about what he has written and I visualize it and it is something that I am pretty good at being able to imagine and verbalize. So I see myself jumping down and elevator shaft, like I have this dream where I jumped into an elevator shaft and it’s so cool, so this image in my head is amazing from this dream because stunts are now in my dreams. And he always jokes about this, like and is like “Mila, I want to do something really amazing right there, write it [for me].” Sometimes I do come with hints and sometimes he does write it in. Most of the time he just listens and says “okay, honey”. His imagination is so unbelievable, [but] he is also really open to my opinion.
On acting opposite a brand new cast (most of whom will probably die in the film):
Well, we got a great cast, really fun people, really great actors. It is sad sometimes because we need a body count and it’s important that we have people that are going to die and I am not going to die and you know characters from the game can’t die because you they are owned by Capcom and we’re not allowed to kill any of them off. So you know Ali Larter’s character won’t die or Sienna Guillory who plays Valentine won’t die, so Paul (W.S. Anderson) has to think of some cool characters that people are going to like and root for and who do die in a spectacular fashion. So we have a fun group of people this time and everyone has been wonderful about their deaths and it’s more about, “Okay when I do go, it’s going to be awesome.”
On Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) not returning for the last film:
Unfortunately, neither Chris or Jill is in this one. There are a lot of characters in the Resident Evil franchise and it’s difficult to have everybody involved. You know Jill has been around for the last two films and we knew we wanted to get Ali back and we just kind of had to make some tough choices on this one.
On having her daughter, Ever Gabo Anderson, play the villainous Red Queen in THE FINAL CHAPTER:
Our daughter is playing the Red Queen and she has got more dialogue than any other actor in the movie. I didn’t expect her dad to give her this huge part, but she really fell in love with being an actor this year; she will be 8 soon. I took her to an acting class and she was killing it, like I was so shocked and proud and just mystified at how comfortable this little girl was on stage. She she loves comedy, like I Love Lucy, but this isn’t really what she is going to go on to do. And we were going to give her a small role playing the younger Alice and as we went on we asked her if she would do it and of course she wanted to and she is just so amazing.
What she brings to the Red Queen is this humanity. All the other Red Queens have been really robotic and I think that Paul really hasn’t had that attachment because it wasn’t his kid. When you love your kid and you love their idiosyncrasies the more he thought about it he said, I am not going to change her voice, she has to do her own voice, because all of the other Red Queens have had an adult dub their voice and she has this childlike mannerism, and because he recognizes them he realizes he can’t cut that out.
On what she’ll miss most about making RESIDENT EVIL:
I will definitely miss this experience. It’s not just my character though I love sort of playing the female Clint Eastwood, which I found so exhilarating. I love Clint Eastwood, and to sort of do that Dirty Harry thing over and over has been really really fun and I love that people buy it and that I can sell it in a believable way. But what I think I am going to miss the most is the family we created, not just with the actors that keep coming back and we keep bringing back to life over and over again, but our camera crew and the family experience we have. I met my husband during this and we had kids during this. I kind of compare it to a television show that goes on season after season except we take two year breaks rather than six month breaks. and you keep coming back and everyone has shorthand when they talk and everyone knows each other it’s just a really nice feeling. It will be really sad to say goodbye.