Sunday, March 05, 2006

Milla Jovovich: Ultraviolet Q & A

What up? Last Thursday I shot over to the Sony lot for a screening of Ultraviolet and a roundtable with Milla Jovovich, the star of the
film. She's a lot taller in person, yo -- most celebrities are munchkins in the flesh -- and she's personable too. Girlfriend's come a long
way since Dazed and Confused...here's some of what went down. Laters...




Q: You got your hair cut really short now, is it for a new role?
Milla Jovovich: Yeah, well I cut it short a while ago and I had to have it short for the film -- you know, because of the wigs and stuff.

Q: So, how was it working with Cameron (Bright)? He's a child actor, as were you, did you offer him any advice?

MJ: He was a sweetheart. I watched him work -- it was crazy. Those child actors, all of us child actors are sort of wierd. (laughs) I think of myself and I'm like 'people must've thought I was wierd. It's very disconcerting.

Q: You give him any acting advice?

MJ: Well, I guess so but he offered me more advice though, like on how to hack into video games -- I'm like getting [technology] directions from an 11 year old. (laughs) It's like 'okay, this is appropriate' this is definitely telling of our times, you know? But he's a smart kid and he's incredible.

Q: You've done more preparation for this film than any of your others. Were there any doubles or was it all you on screen?

MJ: Well, definitely, I had two doubles on the set -- three doubles, actually, doing specific things and each were very talented -- but I do all of my stunts as well. I didn't do motorcycle sequences and I did do, like, the flips. You know what I mean, the gymnastic stuff, obviously...but all the sword fighting, all of the martial arts.

Q: Do you mean you're afraid of motorcycles?

MJ: (whispers) I am! You know, I feel like I shouldn't be responsible for having that kind of machinery in my power -- that goes that fast. It's not safe. I'm an actress, you know, I just don't think it's safe. Give me, like, a plastic sword and that's fine but don't give me a real sword or a real motorcycle --

Q: -- but you were on a motorcycle on the set?

MJ: Yeah, we did like a rig, with a motorcycle on a rig and I'd just go like that and like that (pantomiming leaning left and right on a motorcycle) Not very much to it. (laughs)

Q: You ever get hurt doing the other stuff?

MJ: We got hurt all the time but the worst [time] that I got hurt was -- I hurt myself, actually -- it's literally like when I was [practicing a scene] spinning the sword and spinning it really fast and I ended up stabbing this guy and stabbing myself in the leg. And there was blood everywhere and, you know, the doctor came on-set and took me back to the [examining] room and I'm thinking: 'I need to get help. I need to get an IV, I need CPR'...knowing I needed stitches, obviously. (laughing) And they're like 'no, you just need a band aid. You know in America it'd be an emergency if you got a paper cut but in China they're crazy, well not 'crazy' but it's just a different culture completely. The stunt men that are in China are incredible -- they really do the stunts. It's like not much of a safety rig and things like that. There's no padding and they just fall, you know, down four stories and land on the concrete. It's an amazing stunt and it's real!...So, it's a very different environment, making an action film over there.

Q: Was there a lot of pressure on you with someone coming up to you and saying, ' this was written for you, specifically?'

MJ: No, it was wonderful! I mean, I felt more pressure having to learn all of the sword fighting because, you know, that was something new for me. To feel like somebody cared enough to [write] this and respected you enough to do it -- it was awesome, it made me feel really good.


Q: How much of this film was green screen backgrounds and how much of it was an actual set during the shoot?

MJ: The only thing that was green screened was on the roof...we actually had the roof (as a set) but it was surrounded by green screen - none of the bombs are going through real buildings or anything.


Q: Could you describe the differences in the martial arts training that you undertook while prepping for this film as opposed to the training process you went through with Fifth Element and the Resident Evil flicks?

MJ: You know, I think, Fifth Element wasn't totally martial arts-driven, the training, it was lots was more, just physical stamina training and to just to be prepared to work the kind of hours that we were working. And we did a bit of martial arts but I'd just do kicks and stuff, so, it was mostly just some stances and things. But the only difference between Resident Evil and Ultraviolet -- I guess the fighting style -- is, I'd never done Wushu before. Resident Evil was pretty much street fighting, like with Tae Kwon Do and a bit of Kung Fu, maybe but it was much more of a modern street fighting style. And here [on Ultraviolet] you really had a major influence from the Eastern style of martial arts. You know, Wushu was pretty much the basis of all of the fights and then you have all of the Filipino [styled] fighting but we give a twist because that all has the Wushu through it and that's all, like, the roses with the hand spinning the sword and, so, it was a very fresh, new look for this type of American film.

Q: Speaking of Resident Evil, you're shooting the third film now? Anything we should expect from this film that we haven't seen in any of the others?

MJ: Well, definitely, Alice -- you know, she's changed a bit -- so we can expect some crazy, new stuff. Like, she's got some crazy new powers...(laughs)

Q: So what's this Resident Evil about?

MJ: The script is awesome, it's going to be really good. I don't really want to say too much because I haven't really talked to [Sony Studios] about what I can and can't say. So, I'd tell you the whole story but...I would tell you the whole story, I would tell you everything but I can't. (laughs)

Q: Is there one fight sequence in Ultraviolet that stands out as the most difficult to enact?

MJ: I haven't seen the movie, like the finished-finished product. I saw all of my ADRs (dailys), I saw a lot of the fight sequences because I had to, like, loop all of my (starts Kung Fu grunting) you know, to show some effort (for close-ups). You know, I hate watching myself on film -- so, I tend to not really watch my movies too much. You know, only if they make me, like at a premiere or something. But I have to say, my favorite scene, that I remember [shooting] -- it's hard, you know the red room, the library [sequences are] awesome, the white room, I think, is incredible too. The flaming sword fight is insane because I was [literally] fighting with a sword that was on fire, so, that was pretty incredible because you had to do all of these really close call kind of moves where the sword is swinging really close to you -- and very fast. But [a sword] all on fire, so, that was pretty cool. And that was a pretty crazy set because we were in this black room but it got very smoky, very quickly, so, we were all having [physical] problems that whole week. Everyone was sick...I don't know what chemicals they were burning in there but it was hard on everybody that week.

Q: So what was the hardest part, the sword play or the Wushu stuff?

MJ: You know, this was, like, all rolled into one, so, there was one time I got food poisoning and I still had to go to rehearsal and [the scene rehearsal] was for the library fight -- where I have the two guns that turn into swords -- and in that scene I had to do all of these [kicking] spins, and I'm like spinning and spinning and spinning and I'm just feeling so ill. It was like 'spin, spin, yaccch (pretending to wretch), spin, spin - yaccch, yaccch...And they were like, 'okay, go home.' It was awful because then we had to come on set the next day and do the actual scene and I wasn't feeling very good.

Q: Was that you really throwing up at the beginning of the film?

MJ: You know what's really funny, is that I never really threw up white stuff before (laughing) so I was curious to see what were they going to give me and it was vanilla milkshake. I was like 'cool! This is good!' (laughs)

Q: Word is, behind the scenes, that you're a dedicated stunt person for role training as to what you'll try and stuff like that...

MJ: Sorry, I got the wrong size for this dress (Starts fiddling with her over-skirt that she's wearing over her jeans) It's a size and a half too small...it's so small.

Q: Very clever distracting technique to utilize during an interview .

MJ: I know, I wish it was a more strange, uncomfortable question.

Q: You know if you have a problem with it, you probably should just take it of...

MJ: You keep talking and you'll see how much training I got for this movie. (laughs - still adjusting her skirt)...What was your question?

Q: In the film you carried yourself quite well on screen. Do you think you could handle yourself in a fight for real?

MJ: You're lying. You're lying! Mike Smith [ the fight choreographer] told me straight out: don't EVER try this in public. If you ever get into a situation where someone's coming up to you -- you [get in] one [punch], if you can get a good one and [then] run if you can. He's like, 'I don't ever want to hear or see of you doing any Ultraviolet stuff, like, on the street. (laughs) I once, for a while, tried to figure out, like, how I could carry my (nunchuku) sticks around -- like conveniently in my purse -- but...(laughs)

Q: You've been doing a lot of action films as of late, and you already have a franchise going, why'd you take this role?

MJ: I, kind of, the way that I approach acting, in general, is what makes my choices different from this [particular] girl. In that sense, it's not really like I'm going to be that different, it's just the choices that we make that makes us different from everybody else. It gets to the whole thing where if you're playing a bad guy, you have to play it like this: (snarls and breathes deeply). You know, you can just be normal -- and it's your choices that make you a bad guy -- so, in a sense, I just tried to see what was in myself that's running away from family, having kids -- my mom was 24 when she had me and I'm 30 and so, of course, there's that thing of like ohhh, 'is this something that I'm running away from? I know she is, Violet, for sure, she's running away from that side of herself; wanting to give love, she brings that to people -- that love, on a much lesser extent, I can too. I bring better things than that to people, you know, I feel that I've been hard on myself in a sense that. I work a lot and I don't have very much time for personal relationships. In shooting this film it made me think about 'what is your future' and 'you do need to slow down a bit' and 'start thinking about something else that 's really important and not just 'my goals, my dreams.' Like what about just feeding a child, you know?... you don't thing about governments and career choices -- when that diaper's dirty, that's the only thing that's important. I think I need some of that in my life.

Q: Ultraviolet's a tough chick. Are you someone who can't be easily swayed into doing something you don't believe in as well?

MJ: Definitely, I have a healthy...I'm definitely stubborn in certain ways, I'm a bit obstinate, I guess, but I should hope that I try [to] listen...I'm not scared to say, 'I'm sorry' or admit that I could've been wrong, kind of a thing...It's really important to be open and to not get too hardwired into what you think and just because you have certain experiences doesn't mean that you should generalize...I tend to be open minded.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors trying to make it in this town to offer?

MJ: I read somewhere, I think it was Bette Davis, who said 'Never take Sunset (Blvd), always Fountain (Drive). [quoting screen legend when asked how does one make it to Hollywood). I thought that was really great advice. I thought that you can't get truer than that! It's very matter-of-fact, and I like that.

Q: With all of the action films you've been doing and all the training that that entailed, you ever thiink of doing martial arts seriously?

MJ: No. No, because, well, what would I do with it? I love reading about physics, I love science magazines. I definitely relate to being disciplined and being able to help yourself through more control over your body and, hopefully, your mind -- I don't think that I'd be, like tomorrow, [saying] 'I really think I want to compete in like the state championship for Tae Kwan Do,' I don't think you would see me doing that, for sure. (laughs)

Q: Well, what is your impetus for getting into action films and learning all of this stuff, then?

MJ: Well, I got Fifth Element which sort of started me off in that direction and then with Resident Evil, it was my brother's favorite video game, and I figured it'd be great to have another great action movie under my belt -- I loved doing it and it's fun -- but at the same time these kind of movies will give me more of a chance to make and develop a smaller, independent project that I want to do as well. There were a few different reasons that I felt like it'd be good to get involved with these kind of movies and sort of turned into something bigger than I ever imagined when I first did it...I make movies and I love it, so I guess it made sense. When you love to do something, for sure, you find people that relate. [to you]

Q: So, you have an independent project you want to develop?

MJ: Yeah, this movie .45 which is coming out this year -- it's a really incredible script by an amazing writer. And the guy that directed it, he wrote a play called Blackout which is something I used to do in acting class which is a collection of monologues from AA. (Alcoholics Anonymous meetings) It's a movie about domestic violence and that's something that -- being from Eastern Europe, you know, it's something that's very prevalent, something that is very normal in Eastern European society. So, it was something that I felt like I wanted to portray -- a woman who's trying to escape that world. I felt that [the story/subject] is important...

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