Milla Jovovich has made a life out of killing zombies. Not only has the 36-year-old Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel and fashion designer played the tormented warrior Alice five times in the video game-inspired movie franchise Resident Evil, she also married the writer-director of the films, Paul W.S. Anderson, with whom she has a daughter, Ever, four.
"But it's easy to keep it fresh, because I'm not the same person I was when I was 24 and shot the first movie," Jovovich says when she sits down with Metro at a press event in Cancun, Mexico, to talk about the fifth instalment, Resident Evil: Retribution. "So through those years, I've changed and those changes naturally happened to the character as well because it's me playing her. In the third and fourth film she became like Dirty Harry, and in this one I was more comfortable putting more of myself into her."
In the new film, Alice finds herself away from her safe haven and in the heart of the Umbrella Corporation, the company behind the deadly virus that transforms the population into flesh-eating undead. The 3D film franchise has earned nearly $US700 million worldwide to date and become a family business for Jovovich and Anderson.
"It could be a lot more challenging, depending on the personality that you're working with - and I've heard stories about Gena Rowlands slamming the door in John Cassavetes's face after finding out he put a second mortgage on their house to finish a film," she admits.
"But Paul is such an even human being that he's a joy not just for me but for the whole crew to work with."
Jovovich moved to the US with her Serbian father and Russian mother when she was five and began modelling at age 11. When she was 15, she appeared nude in Return to the Blue Lagoon, and before making The Fifth Element and The Three Musketeers. "It's very empowering being a woman on the cover of magazines who also gets to kick butt," she says proudly.
Jovovich also explains her zombie-killing role provided other life lessons. "The discipline of the training process has made me a much more reliable and respectful person, not only professionally but as a human being when it comes to how I am with my daughter," she says.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION
GENRE Horror action sci-fi.
CRITICAL BUZZ Huge franchise shows no signs of slowing down at box office.
STARS Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez.
DIRECTOR Paul W.S. Anderson.
Jenny Cooney Carrillo travelled to Cancun courtesy of Sony Pictures.