Milla Jovovich is sheepishly candid when she admits, “I haven’t watched the original Hellboy yet.” But the actor, who’s part of the reboot directed by Neil Marshall, has a very good reason. “It takes four days for my husband (director Paul W S Anderson) and me to watch a movie together because we get interrupted every 15 minutes by one of the girls,” says the mother of two with a laugh. “It definitely wasn’t on purpose; I probably should watch it soon so I can answer questions like this,” she adds. Since the movie is set to release in 2019, she has plenty of time.
The star of action films such as The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil franchise, plays the Blood Queen in Hellboy , which stars David Harbour in the titular role. “I think my character is wonderful. She comes from a place of love, of purity, and wants to unite the forces of dark and light. In the beginning of the film, she is betrayed, and, of course, she wants revenge. But the root of her problem is still relatable,” she says, of her role. She likens the character development to be like “religious fundamentalists, who start with good intentions and get twisted along the way”.
Working with Harbour (most recently of Stranger Things fame), was very inspiring, says Jovovich. “He questions the script and his reason for doing something. And he’s a wonderfully organic actor,” she gushes. His antics while filming made it hard to keep a straight face, even for a seasoned actor like her. “But he inspired me to work harder on my character. It makes a difference, getting to work with people who are so interested in what they do and are passionate about it,” she says.
Jovovich was raised to be a movie star by her mother, Galina, who was also an actor. From modelling, she switched to acting in 1988. At 15, she was in the controversial Return to Blue Lagoon . And a couple of years later, she took a break before returning in The Fifth Element with a stellar performance as alien Leeloo — who can forget the orange hair, ace bandage dress and the dialogue, “Multipass”? Since then, she has taken on various genres and roles — historic drama ( Joan of Arc ), romantic comedy ( You Stupid Man ) and science fiction ( Ultraviolet ).
Although she started young, she credits her mother for educating her on dealing with the “archetypal Hollywood producer who preys on young actors. She taught me how to behave, how to make sure someone didn't make advances, and, if they did, how to get out of that situation”. Jovovich adds, “Since I grew up in this business, I knew everybody, and they knew that you can't do that stuff with me. I’ve also done many films outside of the Hollywood machine, so it wasn’t really my bread and butter,” she says.
She isn’t surprised by the slew of allegations today against the powerful men in Hollywood. “The worst part was that someone would do something horrible to you and you couldn’t talk to anyone because you were scared. It’s about time that people are being heard, and young men and women who have survived these things are able to come forward with the support of the industry,” she says.
While she acted in the 2017 film Shock and Awe , her last blockbuster was 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter , which premieres in India later this month. She says, “It was a very emotional experience. We were bringing the whole franchise to a close after nearly 15 years.” With the movie being directed by her husband, and her elder daughter, Ever, playing the role of a young Alice, Jovovich “felt like it was coming full circle. It was one of the most magical experiences I had, working with my whole family right there”.
Now that the filming for Hellboy is done, she has some downtime, which she’s enjoying with her two daughters at home. “I take them with me if I’m away for longer than two weeks,” she says, adding, “It’s difficult now that the older one is 10 and can’t miss school. They were with me for a couple of weeks when I was shooting Hellboy , and then came back home with my husband. It was so hard; I don’t know what I would have done without Facetime!”
In between films, she usually has pet projects, including a clothing line and dabbling in music. “Now I do things that are more inclusive of my family, like cooking. Right now, I’m in the middle of a big project at home, starting my own vegetable garden. After I get off the phone, I'm going to the nursery to get all of my plants,” she says happily.
Later in the year, Jovovich has a few projects lined up. “I’m working with my husband on a film that he has been developing, and it’s based on another video game from the makers of Resident Evil . I’m happy to have some free time now, but there’s already a twinge of anxiety as the work begins to pile up,” she concludes.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will première on February 25 at 9 pm on Sony PIX