A Minute With: Milla Jovovich in "Resident Evil"

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Actress Milla Jovovich returns to movie theaters with “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” the fourth installment of the successful video game-to-film horror franchise -- only this time she is in 3D.

Actress Milla Jovovich attends a news conference to promote her movie "Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D" in Tokyo September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Jovovich, who met her husband director/producer/writer Paul W.S. Anderson on the set of 2002’s original “Resident Evil,” teams with him again for the latest film in which her character, Alice, helps save survivors of a virus that has ravaged Earth and turned some people into zombies and other creatures.

At the recent Comic-Con pop culture convention in San Diego, the model-turned-actress spoke to Reuters about what makes the “Resident Evil” movies successful and the challenges of kicking zombie butts in 3D.

Q: The “Resident Evil” films have generated over $378 million at global box offices. What is it about these films that have succeeded where so many Hollywood video game adaptations have failed?

A: “‘Resident Evil’ has always been an independent movie, which I think is very special about it. It’s not a studio concoction. We started as a tiny, little European action film, and everybody involved, Paul, myself and Michelle Rodriguez, were into the game. That was the birth of this franchise. It was just people who really love the games, who really love the characters, and love to kick butt and take no prisoners, and girls enjoying taking on these tough parts.

“I think that translates to people. People are smart today. They know when you’re lying to them. They know when you’re trying to pull one over on them, and we’re not trying to pull anything over on anybody. We’re just trying to make the best movie we can with the budget we have and have a great time doing it so that people have a great time watching it.”

Q: Many action-oriented video games have male heroes, but with the “Resident Evil” and the “Tomb Raider,” women have been the strong ones and they’ve done well as films, too. Why?

A: “It’s always great for women to be given strong parts and be believable in them. The fact that we are promoting the fourth film is a real testament to the passion we put into the movies and to the love, and the hard work, and the excitement we have filming them. It’s just been such a fun ride.

Q: How have you seen women from different cultures react to the “Resident Evil” films over the past decade?

A: “In Japan, literally 95 percent of the viewers are girls that go see these movies, and in America it’s the opposite. Girls in Tokyo really, really need these strong role models, where I think women in America think the films are too violent. Japanese girls are normally so polite and so quiet that they need that outlet.”

Q: What did having a larger budget with this fourth film open up creatively?

A: We were able to film in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Alaska and Toronto, which really gives the movie this big feeling that we never had in any of the films. All the other films always took place in one location. Because we were able to go to all these different places, it’s very different visually and the stunts are just bigger, and the characters are just wonderful. You get a chance in this movie to take some time with characters. It’s not just action, action, action.”

Q: What were the challenges of filming in 3D?

A: Well, I got punched quite a few times on this one because you have to get closer because you can see now the distance and the depth. The viewer can see the fake punches in 3D.”.

Q: You’re known for doing most of your own stunts. What stood out for you in this movie?

A: “There’s a lot of great wire work, which I love. I love to fly, to feel weightless. I love to get into the stunt rig and just be hoisted up into the air and just fly around. I love to jump off high places, so there’s a lot of that going on in this film because it is so good in 3D to be jumping off things.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney