Milla Jovovich discusses the horror/gaming franchise that keeps on going
It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since "Resident Evil," the first installment of the movie franchise
based on the hugely popular Capcom video game, arrived on-screen and
kick-started what has become the single most successful game-based film series
in history. The cornerstones of the action/survival/horror hybrid have been star
Milla Jovovich, who plays the steely and mysterious Alice, and
writer/director/producer (and Jovovich's husband) Paul W.S. Anderson, who have
provided a consistency to the series while delving in and out of the game
After not directing movies two and three ("Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and "Resident Evil: Extinction") Anderson returned to
the director's chair for 2010's "Resident Evil: Afterlife" and has stayed there for
"Resident Evil: Retribution," which arrives in 3-D (like "Afterlife") on Sept. 14, 2012. With the series
celebrating its 10th anniversary, we caught up with Jovovich at last month's
WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif., to discuss "Resident Evil" past and present.
MSN Movies: When you guys did the first "Resident Evil," did you ever
imagine 10 years later we'd be talking about No. 5?
Milla Jovovich: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. I mean,
when we did the first one, it was kind of, for me, like just a passion project
for sure because it was my brother's favorite game. We used to play together
when he was a kid, and so I thought, "Well, I've worked with all these amazing
directors and I've played these really amazing parts, but he's only 13. For him
("The Fifth Element") is already kind of an old film. He doesn't care about Joan
of Arc. He doesn't care I worked with Wim Wenders. These things mean nothing to
a 13-year-old boy."
What would mean something to him is if I was the girl from "Resident Evil,"
so when I went in to audition for the part, that was where I was coming from. If
you talk to Michelle Rodriguez (who starred in the first film and returns for
"Retribution"), it's the same thing. She is really passionate about the games
and she is a big gamer, and for her it was about being in the "Resident Evil"
movie. And Paul was the first one, the captain of the ship, who was a gamer,
played the game, so it was all coming from fans to begin with. We just did it
for the love of it and not for a paycheck.
Five films down the line how do you keep it fresh? How do you and
Paul keep it fresh creatively? How do you keep the character fresh for
For me the character is fresh just naturally because I go into it more and
more comfortable each time and I just know how she would react, so it's
interesting to see things from her perspective after already living with her for
so many years, but I think as a script and as a franchise, it's just become so
much bigger. ... It's beautifully shot. It's cool. It's violent, but it's
beautiful. To me it's like one of the only kind of Western-style movies that has
a feeling of Chinese cinema when it comes to the action sequences, when it comes
to the mythology. Alice is kind of that mythological creature in my head now,
especially when you see this one.
This is the second one you've done in 3-D ...
Paul is so enamored with 3-D. I mean, he's such a fan of it, so he really
knows how to use it and how to make it the most immersive he can for people
without making it distracting or kind of thinking about safety and thinking
about what's going to make people's eyes hurt and how do you pan without making
people dizzy. There are so many things that I picked up from him about 3-D that
now when we go to see a 3-D movie, I'm like, "Whoa, is that supposed to happen,
honey? Why did I get dizzy right then?" He'll be like, "It was a little bit too
sharp of a pan," and we talk about why a shot didn't work. Then when we do the
movie and we do a pan, we make sure that it works. So it's always like this
There was an interview where Paul had said that the next one after
this could be the last one.
If there is a next one.
Can you see these going on and on, and in a way can you see them be
almost like the James Bond series, where eventually someone would take over for
I would have no problem with that. That's for sure. That would be super-cool.
I can't do it forever. That would be amazing. I mean, definitely Paul had an
idea that we talked about a year ago for this movie and another one, with a
story line that would culminate there. Would it be the end? I don't think he
really knows, because he hasn't written the script yet. There was definitely a
story line for five and six, but at the same time we've never worked that way,
where we've done two films back-to-back and we've always been very much like,
"This is a movie; focus on that and make it the best and then see how the fans
react and cross that bridge when we get there."
I think that's part of what's great, too, about these movies. It's not every
year there is a "Resident Evil." It actually comes out when organically he feels
like writing a script for it. Sometimes it's two years. Sometimes three, but
when it does come, people know that it's there for a reason, because he really
was inspired to write it. ... It's organic, and I think that's the most
important thing and that's what fans feel and that's what they react to, our
passion for it and that honesty. We're not just trying to just have some machine
that spits them out. It's real people doing these things and doing them with a
lot of energy and will and force, and we love it.