Jovovich speaking at WonderCon 2010 aboutResident Evil: Afterlife
December 17, 1975
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR,
|Occupation||Actress, model, singer-songwriter|
|Spouse||Shawn Andrews (1992–1993)|
Luc Besson (1997–1999)
Paul W. S. Anderson (2009–present; 1 child)
Milla Jovovich (born Milica Jovović; December 17, 1975) is a Ukrainian-born model, actress, musician, and fashion designer. Over her career, she has appeared in a number of science fiction and action themed films, for which music channel VH1 has referred to her as the "reigning queen of kick-butt".
Jovovich began modeling at age 11, when photographer Gene Lemuel discovered her and convinced Herb Ritts to shoot her for the cover of Lei magazine. Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements, and she continued her career with other campaigns for L'Oréal cosmetics, Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, and Versace. In 1988, she had her first professional acting role in the television film The Night Train to Kathmandu, and later that year, she appeared in her first feature film, Two Moon Junction. Following more small television appearances such as the "Fair Exchange" (1989) and a 1989 role as a French girl (she was 14 at the time) on a Married with Children episode and film roles, she gained notoriety with the romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon(1991). She appeared in 1993's Dazed and Confused alongside Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey. Jovovich then acted alongsideBruce Willis in the science fiction film The Fifth Element (1997), and later played the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc(1999). In 2002, she starred in the video game adaptation Resident Evil, which spawned three sequels: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004),Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) and Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010).
In addition to her modeling and acting career, Jovovich released a music album, The Divine Comedy in 1994. She continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and contributes to film soundtracks; Jovovich has yet to release another album. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing line Jovovich-Hawk, which ceased operations in early 2008. In its third season prior to its demise, the pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Jovovich also has her own production company, Creature Entertainment
At the age of nine, she began going to modeling auditions, photographer and poet Gene Lemuel discovered Jovovich he shot her first test photos later he showed them to Herb Ritts in LA the next day Ritts booked her for the cover of Lei, an Italian magazine. After Jovovich booked Lei she was signed by Prima Modeling Agency then Richard Avedon hired her forMademoiselle. Avedon was head of marketing at Revlon at the time, and chose Jovovich to appear with models Alexa Singer and Sandra Zatezalo in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements. In 1988, she made her first professional model contract. Jovovich was among other models who gained controversy for becoming involved in the industry at a young age.
Later, Jovovich made it to the cover of The Face, which led to new contracts and covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has graced over one hundred magazine covers, including Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, and InStyle. Her modeling career has included various campaigns for Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan, Gap, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Coach, Giorgio Armani, H&M, and Revlon. Since 1998, Jovovich has been an "international spokesmodel" for L'Oréal cosmetics. She also had a minor cameo in Bret Easton Ellis' novel Glamorama, a satire of society's obsession with celebrities and beauty.
In an article published in 2002, she was said to be Miuccia Prada's muse and in an article published in 2003, Harpers & Queen magazine claimed Jovovich was Gianni Versace's "favourite supermodel". In 2004, Jovovich topped Forbes magazine's "Richest Supermodels of the World" list, earning a reported $10.5 million. In 2006, Jovovich was picked up by Spanish clothing line Mango as their new spokesmodel and is currently featured in their ad campaigns; she can also be seen in advertisements for Etro. She has noted that "Modeling was never a priority" and it instead enables her "to be selective about the creative decisions [she] make[s]".
Early work (1985–1993)
Jovovich's mother had "raised [her] to be a movie star" and in 1985, enrolled Jovovich in the Professional Actors school in California.
In 1988, she appeared in her first professional role in the made-for-television film The Night Train to Kathmandu as Lily McLeod. Later that year, she made her debut in a theatrically released picture with a small role, as Samantha Delongpre, in the romantic thriller Two Moon Junction. Following roles on the television series Paradise (1988) and Parker Lewis Can't Lose (1990), Jovovich was cast as the lead as Lilli Hargrave in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991). This sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980) placed her opposite Brian Krause. Return to the Blue Lagoon led to comparisons between her and child model-turned-actress, Brooke Shields (who had starred in the original) – Jovovich was often called by press the "Slavic Brooke Shields". The role also gained her controversy, much like Shields gained in The Blue Lagoon, for appearing nude at a young age. For her portrayal of Lilli Hargrave, Jovovich was nominated for both "Best Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture" at the 1991 Young Artist Awards, and "Worst New Star" at the 1991 Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 1992, Jovovich co-starred with Christian Slater in the comedy Kuffs. Later that year, she portrayed Mildred Harris in the Charlie Chaplin biographical film Chaplin. 1993 saw Jovovich in the Richard Linklater cult film Dazed and Confused, in which she played Michelle Burroughs, on screen girlfriend to Pickford (played by her then real life boyfriend Shawn Andrews). Jovovich was heavily featured in the promotional material for the film, however, upon the film's release, she was upset to find her role was considerably trimmed from the original script.The bulk of Jovovich's role was to be shot on the last day of filming, however, she was misinformed of the date, and ultimately had one line in the film, "No", in addition to singing a line from "The Alien Song" from her album, The Divine Comedy. Discouraged, she took a hiatus from acting roles, during which time she moved to Europe and began focusing on a music career.
Jovovich returned to acting in 1997 with a lead in the Luc Besson directed science fiction action film The Fifth Element, alongside Bruce Willis andGary Oldman. She portrayed Leeloo, an alien who was the "supreme being". Jovovich said she "worked like hell: no band practice, no clubs, no pot, nothing" to acquire the role and impress Besson, whom she later married on December 14, 1997, but later divorced. Jovovich also co-created and mastered an over 400-word alien language for her role. She wore a costume that came to be known as the "ACE-bandage" costume, a revealing body suit made of medical bandages designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. The Fifth Element was selected as the opening film for the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and its worldwide box office gross was over $263 million, more than three times its budget of $80 million. The Fifth Element was often praised for its visual style and unique costumes, and film reviewer James Berardinelli, explained "Jovovich makes an impression, although her effectiveness has little to do with acting and less to do with dialogue". Jovovich was nominated for "Favorite Female Newcomer" at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and "Best Fight" at the MTV Movie Awards. Jovovich's portrayal of Leeloo garnered a video game and a planned action figure, but the figure was never released due to licensing problems. In a 2003 interview, Jovovich said Leeloo was her favorite role to portray.
In 1998, Jovovich had a role in the Spike Lee drama He Got Game as abused prostitute Dakota Burns, appearing with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. In 1999, she appeared in the music video for the song If You Can't Say No by Lenny Kravitz. In 1999, Jovovich returned to the action genre playing the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, reuniting her with director Luc Besson. She was featured in armor throughout several extensive battle scenes, and cut her hair to a short length for the role. Jovovich received generally good reviews for her performance, although she also received a Razzie Award nomination for "Worst Actress". The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc did moderately well at the box office, gaining $66 million worldwide. In 2000, Jovovich appeared as the troubled Eloise in The Million Dollar Hotel, a film based on a concept story by Bono of the band U2 and Nicholas Klein. Directed by Wim Wenders, Jovovich starred alongside Jeremy Davies and Mel Gibson, in addition to providing vocals on the film's soundtrack. Afterwards, she portrayed bar owner, Lucia, in the British western film The Claim (2000), and the evil Katinka in the cameo-laced comedy Zoolander (2001).
International success (2002–2006)
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the horror/action film Resident Evil, released in the United States on March 15, 2002. Based on the CAPCOM video game series of the same name, she portrayed Alice, the film's heroine who fights a legion of zombies created by the evil Umbrella Corporation. Jovovich had accepted the role of Alice because she and her brother had been fans of the video game franchise, saying, "It was exciting for me just watching him play, I could sit for 5 hours and we would sit all day and play this game." Jovovich had performed all the stunts required in the film, except for a scene that would involve her jumping to a cement platform, which her management deemed too dangerous, and had trained in karate, kickboxing, and combat-training. The film was commercially successful, grossing $17 million on its opening weekend, and gaining $40 million domestically and $102 million worldwide. Later, she portrayed the manipulative gang wife Erin in No Good Deed (2002), Nadine in the romantic comedy You Stupid Man (2002), punk rocker Fangora ("Fanny") in Dummy (2003), and provided a guest voice on the television series King of the Hill. The role of Fangora inDummy, allowed Jovovich to act in film with Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, who was a friend prior to filming. Jovovich found it easy to identify with this role because she felt Fangora, as opposed to previous characters, possessed similar qualities to the actress' own life.
In 2004, Jovovich reprised the role of Alice in the sequel to Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The role required her to do fight training for three hours a day, in addition to the three months prior to filming in which she had "gun training, martial arts, everything". Apocalypse received even more negative reactions from the critics than the first film, but it was a even more commercial success, ranking number one at the box office unlike the first film. Following the release of the film, Jovovich was unhappy with the critical results and director Alexander Witt's effort. She noted during an interview that year that her large action films take care of the commercial part of her career, while she acts in "independent little films that never come out" to appease her artistic side, and "It's a good balance". The following year, she was featured in Gore Vidal's faux trailer remake of Caligula, asDrusilla. In 2006, Jovovich's film, the science fiction/action thriller Ultraviolet, was released on March 3. She played the title role of Violet Song jat Shariff, a role that also involved heavily choreographed fight sequences and Gun Kata, a fictional martial art combining statistical analysis and gunplay. It was not screened for critics, but when reviewed, it was critically panned, grossing $31 million worldwide. That year, Jovovich also starred in .45, as Kat, the revenge driven girlfriend of an illegal gun and drug dealer with English actor and DJ Angus Macfadyen.