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Mr. Beaks Grapples With Milla Jovovich!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

And somehow, he managed to get out of the interview without her having to file a restraining order. The man’s a goddamn professional, I tells ya. I’m not sure I could have been so well-behaved. I adore Milla. “Leeeeeeloooodalllasssmoooooteeeepasss,” indeed. I’ve always thought she was the sexiest hippie chick in the world in DAZED & CONFUSED, playing the guitar and rolling perfect joints for her boyfriend. And Milla the ass-kickin’ action hero... well, if I had to get beat up by a girl, she’d be at the top of the list. Let’s just put it that way. Let’s see what she and Beaks had to say when they sat down yesterday to talk:

Milla Jovovich has a firm handshake, which, having seen her transform from delicate supermodel to action heroine over the last several years, is hardly surprising. She’s also blessed with an affable demeanor, which probably shouldn’t be too surprising either, but it does stand in marked contrast to the ruthless and laconic zombie killer Alice, a character Milla’s bringing back to the big screen this Friday in RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE.

Aside from a brief bit of backstory, the film picks up right where the last one left off. But this time Alice is a changed woman – all the way, it turns out, down to her genetic code, having been subjected to all manner of experimentation by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Though Alice blasts her share of zombies in this installment, she’s nearly matched in badass sexy brio by Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine. Yesterday, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Milla about sharing the action chores with another actress, along with other subjects ranging from her unexpected career path to her next foray into feisty femininity, ULTRAVIOLET.

Here goes…

You were just saying that martial arts is something that’s very important to you, and that’s something we didn’t see from you *onscreen* until THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Was it that film that sparked this interest?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, of course, I’d always loved sci-fi and fantasy books growing up, but I never took it to that next level. When I did THE FIFTH ELEMENT, and was on a training schedule, and was able to learn how to do some of these things, and actually succeed… it felt very natural, so I never really quit. Rather than go to the gym, I would prefer to do martial arts because the time goes by quicker. (Laughs.)

Well, it’s also very spiritual.

Yeah, I feel like it does so much for your mind as well as your body because you do have to focus; you do have to get away from yourself and leave your problems at the door, in a way. It is a stress release, you know. It builds tolerance, too. When you’re able to survive a martial arts workout session, it definitely builds your stamina and builds your tolerance.

Now, your interest in martial arts is continually landing you in these action parts. Is this something you’re pleased with in your career?

I’ve never made a sequel before, so that was a bit of a fluke. I never really asked for it, but because (RESIDENT EVIL) was my favorite video game, when it came up, and I mentioned it to my agent, and said, “If you ever hear about RESIDENT EVIL, give me a call because I’d love to play the girl”, and I *did* hear about it, I said, “Why not”? My brother would just think I’m the best. So, I got involved. And when they called back for the sequel, I said, “Why not? I’d love to have a double-DVD box set of something.” (Laughs.) That’s pretty cool.

And you are getting exposed to a wider audience, especially that young male demographic, which is a very valued one by the studios, so that will help your marketability.

Well, let’s hope so. Knock on wood. (She knocks on an adjacent table.)

I ask this because after THE FIFTH ELEMENT, you were involved in a lot of straight dramatic roles. One film in particular that I really liked was THE CLAIM.

Yeah, I did a bunch of independent films. I mean, THE CLAIM was MGM, but it was Michael Winterbottom, who comes from that independent family of moviemaking, so I always looked at it as, like, MGM trying to do an independent film. I love to do independent films, because it *is* so down to earth, and it is so guerilla filmmaking. It’s something that I really love because I’m an artist; I love to be more kicked-back and casual about stuff, and do things where you don’t get too many permits for things, and just go and, “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Now, get out of there!” The only problem for me is that you do end up putting between two to four months of your time into these movies, and if you don’t make enough of them, you don’t have a guarantee that any of them are going to be released apart from L.A. and New York. It’s a problem, you know – to get two of them released, you have to make ten. It is hard. You end up going, “Oh, my god! Eight months of my life have just passed by, and what do I have to show for it? I swear I’ve been working.” They could be great, and your performance is good… there are so many factors that go into it. But I love making independent movies, and that’s pretty much what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my years. I’ll probably be working in New York in November on another film, and may go to Nova Scotia to shoot this film with Billy Bob Thornton (to be directed by Michael Cristofer).

In the meantime, should RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE be a hit, it probably wouldn’t kill you to continue this character.

Are you kidding? I would love to, because I have a feeling that Alice is going to be a bad guy in the next one. I thought would be pretty cool to, like, have the full arc of her character go from being the innocent, the one who doesn’t remember anything, to the Alice in number two, who knows everything and is ashamed of how much she knows and of who she really is, and she finds her humanity again. And, then, in number three, it’s like they took it away from her. We’ll see what happens there.

There’s a touch of Ripley there.

Well, definitely. Maybe. I guess you could compare it to Ripley in the sense that she’s a strong woman who has her humanity taken away. But, again, very different, because ALIEN is a much more serious movie to me. RESIDENT EVIL is fun. It’s action. (The ALIEN series) to me are action films, but they’re more psychological thrillers, too.

Well, now that Paul (W.S. Anderson, to whom she is engaged), has entered into the ALIEN universe, would you be averse to appearing in a future ALIEN film should he continue with the series?

I don’t know. I feel like Sigourney is just such the lady for that, and I don’t know that I want to fill those kinds of shoes. It’s so much her franchise, and she is so gorgeous and so great, like, she should make ten more ALIEN movies if you ask me. But just have more guns in them next time. (Laughs.) Yeah, ALIEN is great, but unless you’ve already made it your franchise like Sigourney made ALIEN *her* franchise… if I were to do an ALIEN movie, I would be in an ALIEN movie; it wouldn’t be my franchise, and I don’t know if I want to play second fiddle to an alien. It’d be like, (big voice) “Starring the Alien and… (whispering) Milla Jovovich.” (Laughs.)

So, here you’ve gone from this physically intense performance in RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE to something like ULTRAVIOLET—


… which, considering that it’s directed by Kurt Wimmer, is going to be a big action extravaganza.

It’s very different from EQUILIBRIUM, I have to say. The script is much better. He’s improved. That was his first movie, and the action was amazing, but I feel like he was still finding his… voice, in a sense. I feel like, in this movie, it’s so much of a simple story about a woman and this kid, and her being a modern independent woman and having to deal with a child. Every woman can sort of relate to not wanting babies, because she feels like she has too much to do. Then, suddenly, there *is* a baby (actually, it’s a six year old child), and what do I do about it. It is this really great, simple story, but you’ve got this beautiful scenery and this whole world. We speak this different language in the movie, it’s called Thai-Hindi (sp?); we’re speaking English, but everything that’s written *you* see it written in this different language. We understand, but if somebody speaks English, it sounds like (mumbles indecipherable gibberish), and we can’t understand that. It’s really fun in that sense.

You get to be a mother, but you form that matriarchal bond with the realization that you will be dead soon.

And, in a way, the child, too, is an experiment, a broken experiment, and he’s dying. So, we’re both dying, you know, and we find each other – these two broken things that have to stick together.

Did Wimmer put you through the paces as far as the action is concerned?

Oh, my god! It was the most intense training. Mike Smith, who was the head choreographer, was unbelievable. The guy’s imagination is out of this world. We had to tie him up and hold him back, because the things that he thinks up are just so insane, so beautiful, and so fluid. It’s like a dance. It’s going to be so different, where RESIDENT EVIL is like high impact “Punch! Punch! Connect!”, here it’s like “Dodging. Dodging. Dancing Around.” Bullets fly, and not one ever hits her because she keeps moving. She’s a dancer… a gymnast. She’s, like, walking on air, this girl. She’s the closest thing that the Western movie world is going to find to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON or HERO. It’s that feeling. I mean, it’s not at all like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON or HERO, but it’s our version of that with our American sensibilities.

Interestingly, you’re still very much at the forefront of the RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE campaign, but you are sharing a good deal of the action load with Sienna Guillory. That wasn’t a problem for you?

No, are you kidding? I have to say, the one thing I wanted to make sure of, especially since Paul and I are together, was that I wanted Jill Valentine to have really kickass action scenes. I didn’t want Alice to be the only one because Jill Valentine is the coolest female action, you know, video game character ever made. She’s got to be the coolest girl – the sexiest, hottest ever! I was just so into Sienna, because she looked *exactly* like Jill when she had her hair done and her outfit on. We were applauding. The whole set went into spontaneous applause. She looked so amazing, and she did so great on all of her fight scenes. She worked so hard. She was exactly what we needed. It wouldn’t have worked if she wasn’t that strong. She needed to have power and strength, because it is about these two women. It’s not just about Alice… making it because she’s a superhero. Alice makes it because she has help from her friends in the end. It’s her team, and you need a team to survive. You can’t just do it alone.

And the fans would probably be a little put out if they didn’t get their Jill Valentine.

Oh, yeah! Listen, I was trying to talk Paul into making *me* Jill Valentine somehow, but when we realized that she does have a very specific written history in the video game world, we said, “Okay, no matter what, we have to have Jill in the movie.”

You were saying that Sienna was very adept with the firearms. Did she have a shooting history, or did she just come in and nail it?

She was in that movie… wait, what was that movie she was in? Was it ENEMY AT THE GATES?

With Jude Law?

I know Rachel Weisz was in that, who’s so incredible, and we love her so much. But Sienna did a movie about the Russian military or something. I remember that she had experience with AK-47’s before she arrived.

It wasn’t LOVE ACTUALLY. (I’ve since checked the IMDB, and still haven’t a clue.)

I can’t remember what it was, but… I had experience, too. On RESIDENT EVIL 1, I went through complete gun training classes; I’ve done gun training on my own here in L.A. at the shooting range. I mean, I’ve shot guns before in my life, but this was like… “She’s a natural!” She was La Femme Nikita. (Laughs.) Or Jill Valentine! She’s the best! She doesn’t have to be La Femme Nikita.

You were fortunate enough to be a part of this amazing ensemble in what has become a beloved film in DAZED & CONFUSED. And working with Richard Linklater. But of that cast, so many of them, including yourself, have gone on to stardom or just really interesting careers.

I think everybody in that movie, regardless of stardom… a lot of actors came out of that movie as artists that had something to say, and that were passionate about their interior world. Whether they’re the biggest stars or not, everybody had something that they felt was very special.

I know you guys were down there living the life, having a pretty good time. Do you encounter anyone, or still have friends from that experience?

Marisa Ribisi, definitely. I still see her around, and stuff. But, you know, everyone is so into their interior world; we all have such busy lives, I think. I’m just speaking for myself, but the amount that I’m in L.A. is, like, a month out of the year, and, knowing everybody else is on location most of the time, too. L.A. is the last people film movies, unfortunately.

If you’re interested in what Milla’s been up to with regards to her music, you can download her latest songs on her website. And, of course, you’ll be able to see Milla do her sweet zombie snuffin’ thing starting this Friday, September 10th in theaters all over the fucking place.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

Thanks, man. Ya lucky bastid.

"Moriarty" out.

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