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Milla Jovovich Bio
Milla Jovovich (born December 17, 1975 as Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich) is an American actress, model, musician, and fashion designer. She has appeared in numerous science fiction and action films, leading the music channel VH1 to deem her the “reigning queen of kick-butt” in 2006.
Born in Kiev, Jovovich immigrated with her parents to the United States when she was five. In 1987, she began modeling at the age of 12 when Herb Ritts photographed her for the cover of the Italian magazine Lei. Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon‘s “Most Unforgettable Women in the World” advertisements. In 1988, Jovovich had her first acting role in the television film The Night Train to Kathmandu, and that year also appeared in her first feature film, Two Moon Junction.
Jovovich gained attention for her role in the explicit 1991 romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon, as she was then only 15. She was considered to have a breakthrough with her role in the 1997 French science-fiction film The Fifth Element written and directed by Luc Besson. She and Besson married that year, but soon divorced. She starred as the heroine and martyr in Besson’s The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999).
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the science fiction horror film Resident Evil, adapted from the video game series of the same name. It was disliked by critics, but was commercially successful. She reprised her role in four sequels, all in the apocalyptic fiction action horror genre, made between 2004 and 2012.
Jovovich released an album, The Divine Comedy, in 1994. She continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and contributes to film soundtracks. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing line Jovovich-Hawk. Jovovich has her own production company, Creature Entertainment.
It was Milla’s early work with Ritz, Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh that led to her success in advertising, bringing the young model contracts and covers for both Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has been featured on more than 100 magazine covers, including all the major fashion magazines in the US. She has been part of 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 was referred to in a minor cameo in Bret Easton Ellis‘ novel Glamorama, a satire of society’s obsession with celebrities and beauty.
Jovovich was said to be designer Miuccia Prada‘s muse in 2002; a 2003 article claimed she 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 Mango, a Spanish clothing line, as their new spokesmodel and is featured in their ad campaigns; she can also be seen in ads for Etro. She has noted that “Modeling was never a priority” and that the money she earns 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.” In 1985, Galina enrolled Jovovich at the age of 10 in acting classes, and when her acting jobs picked up, she started attending school for young actors rather than regular school system.
In 1988, Jovovich appeared in her first professional role as Lily McLeod in the made-for-television film The Night Train to Kathmandu. Later that year, she made her debut in a feature film as Samantha Delongpre in the romantic thriller Two Moon Junction. She had several roles in television series, including Paradise (1988), Married… with Children (1989) and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (1990).
At age 15, she was cast as the lead as Lilli Hargrave in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), opposite Brian Krause. Given her age and beauty, she was often compared to Brooke Shields, another child model-turned-actress who had starred in the original Blue Lagoon. The role was controversial, as Jovovich appeared nude in the film, as had Shields in The Blue Lagoon.. For this role, Jovovich was nominated both for “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, Milla Jovovich co-starred with Christian Slater in the comedy Kuffs. Later that year, she portrayed Mildred Harris in the Charlie Chaplin biographical film Chaplin. In 1993 she acted in Richard Linklater‘s film Dazed and Confused. She played Michelle Burroughs, on-screen girlfriend to Pickford (played by her then-boyfriend Shawn Andrews). Strongly featured in promotions for the film, Jovovich was upset to find her role much reduced in the released film. Discouraged, she took a hiatus from acting roles, moving to Europe. She started to work at music.
Jovovich returned to acting in 1997 with a lead role in the French science fiction action film The Fifth Element, alongside Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman. This was written and directed by Luc Besson. She portrayed Leeloo, an alien who helps to save the planet. Jovovich said she “worked like hell: no band practice, no clubs, no pot, nothing” to acquire the role and impress Besson. They married on December 14, 1997, but later divorced.
Jovovich co-created and mastered an alien fictional language of over 400 words for her role. She wore a costume that came to be known as the “ACE-bandage” costume; the body suit designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier was made of medical bandages. 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; critic James Berardinelli wrote, “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. The film inspired a video game and a planned Leeloo action figure, but the figure was never released due to licensing problems. In a 2003 interview, Jovovich said Leeloo was her favorite role.
In 1998, Jovovich appeared in Spike Lee‘s drama He Got Game, as abused prostitute Dakota Burns; she acted 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. That year she returned to the action genre playing the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, under direction of Luc Besson. She cut her hair short and wore armor in several extensive battle scenes. Jovovich received generally good reviews for her performance, although she also received a Razzie Award nomination for “Worst Actress”. The historical drama 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; she provided vocals on the film’s soundtrack. That year she also played bar owner Lucia, in the British western film The Claim (2000). This was followed by a supporting role as the evil Katinka in the 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 and 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 Umbrella Corporation. Jovovich had accepted the role because she and her brother Marco had been fans of the video game franchise. 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 in Dummy 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 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 an even greater 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, as Drusilla. 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. 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 Scottish actor and DJ Angus Macfadyen.
Recent and future roles (2007–present)
In 2007, Jovovich reprised her role as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction, the third of the Resident Evil series. The film grossed an estimated $24 million in 2,828 theaters on its opening weekend, topping the box office gross for that week. It opened stronger than its predecessor, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which opened with $23 million in 3,284 theaters (over 450 more theaters than Extinction). In a March 2006 interview, Jovovich said that she would not appear in another action film “for a long time”, expressing a desire to portray more diverse roles, but she added that talks of another sequel in the Resident Evil franchise were a “real possibility”.
In 2009, Jovovich starred in David Twohy‘s A Perfect Getaway with Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, and Steve Zahn. The film is a thriller about a newlywed couple (Milla and Zahn) on their honeymoon in Hawaii. She played Cydney Anderson.
Jovovich played Lucetta, the wife of a jailed arsonist (played by Edward Norton) in Stone, a psychological thriller starring Robert De Niro. Filming began in May 2009 at the recently closed Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.
Jovovich played the role of Dr. Abigail Tyler in the science-fiction thriller The Fourth Kind and starred in the psychological thriller Faces in the Crowd, which was written and directed by Julien Magnat; in the latter film, she plays the survivor of a serial killer’s attack that leaves her suffering from a condition called prosopagnosia, which renders her unable to recognize faces.
Jovovich returned as Alice in the fourth movie of the Resident Evil series, Afterlife, which was directed by her husband, Paul W. S. Anderson. She had a role in Dirty Girl, which premiered on September 12, 2010 at the Toronto Film Festival, opposite Juno Temple, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen, and Tim McGraw. Jovovich starred in Paul W. S. Anderson‘s The Three Musketeers, as Milady de Winter, in 2011.
Jovovich is set to star in David R. Ellis‘ horror film Bad Luck, based on a screenplay by David J. Schow. She appeared in Famke Janssen‘s directorial debut film Bringing Up Bobby, which also stars Marcia Cross. Vykrutasy, a Russian film which translates into Lucky Trouble, also stars Jovovich.
Jovovich was set to portray Amalia Bezhetskaya in The Winter Queen in 2007; however, with the announcement of her pregnancy early that year, the film was postponed. In the spring of 2011, Seven Arts and GFM Films announced they would be merging their distribution operations. The joint venture is expected to release The Winter Queen under the direction of Fyodor Bondarchuk.
She returned to her role as Alice in the fifth installment of Resident Evil for Resident Evil: Retribution, which was released on September 14, 2012. She is also set to return as Alice in the sixth and allegedly last installment of the film franchise.
Jovovich had begun working on a music album as early as 1988, when she was signed by SBK Records after the company heard a demo she recorded. In August 1990, she asserted in an interview that the then-forthcoming album would be “a mix between Kate Bush, Sinéad O’Connor, This Mortal Coil, and the Cocteau Twins“. After it was initially presented by SBK strictly as a pop album, Jovovich protested, insisting on using her personal poetry for lyrics and recording her own instrumental material. Jovovich had written the songs when she was fifteen, with the exception of a Ukrainian folk song, “In a Glade”, that she covered. In April 1994, billed under her first name, she released The Divine Comedy, a title that was a reference to the epic poem by Dante Alighieri of the same name. Jovovich had chosen the title after seeing Russian artist Alexis Steele’s proposed cover artwork sketch for the then untitled album. Jovovich found that the sketch had “all the struggle that I’m singing about. It IS the divine comedy”. The Divine Comedy was well received by critics, and featured pop-infused traditional Ukrainian folk songs that led to comparisons with musicians Tori Amos and Kate Bush. John McAlley of Rolling Stone called the album “remarkable”, “strikingly mature and rich in invention”, and as featuring “angst-laced poetry with vivid melodies and arrangements that find a common spirit in synth pop, European folk and psychedelic dream rock”.
Jovovich released the track “Gentleman Who Fell”, with an accompanying music video, as the sole single from the album. The music video was originally directed by Lisa Bonet and featured Harry Dean Stanton, but Jovovich was unsatisfied with the results and decided to film another version. The second version of “Gentleman Who Fell”, a homage to Maya Deren‘s short film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), was subsequently played on MTV. Jovovich toured the United States during most of 1994 to promote the album, opening for Toad the Wet Sprocket and Crash Test Dummies, as well as playing smaller acoustic sets. Jovovich had opted to perform in smaller and more intimate settings, turning down a musical appearance on Saturday Night Live. Milla has also been collaborating musically with longtime friend and musician Chris Brenner, who co-wrote with her on the Divine Comedy Album and who was the musical coordinator for the supporting tour. She and Brenner met in 1993 and have since worked together on several ventures. Following The Divine Comedy, she expressed interest in releasing a second album, having had ten songs ready for a future recording that was intended for a Summer 1996 release. Despite the appearance of a lo-fi field recording The People Tree Sessions in 1998, Jovovich has yet to release a second album.
In May 1999, Jovovich along with Chris Brenner formed an experimental band called Plastic Has Memory, in which she wrote the songs, sang, and played electric guitar. The band was “[m]uch heavier and darker than the vaguely Ukrainian folk-sounding elements of her first album” and had a similar sound to a grunge and trip hop Portishead. Plastic Has Memory played about a dozen shows in Los Angeles and New York City for a potential Virgin Records album release, one of which Mick Jagger had attended. Though Plastic Has Memory was featured on Hollywood Goes Wild, a benefit celebrity compilation album, the group never formally released a record and is no longer together.
Jovovich has contributed tracks to several of her film soundtracks, including The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) and Dummy (2002), and has also provided songs for the soundtracks of films in which she has not acted such as Underworld (2003) produced by musician Danny Lohner who was the bass player in Nine Inch Nails for many years. Her song “The Gentlemen Who Fell” was featured on The Rules of Attraction soundtrack in 2002. In 2001, Jovovich was one of many celebrities whose vocals were featured in a cover of “We are Family” to raise money for the American Red Cross. She has appeared as guest vocalist on the song “Former Lover” on Deepak Chopra‘s album, A Gift of Love II: Oceans of Ecstasy (2002) and Legion of Boom (2004) by The Crystal Method.
Since 2003, Jovovich has worked with musician Maynard James Keenan, of Tool and A Perfect Circle, on his Industrial side project Puscifer, contributing vocals to the track “REV 22:20”, which was featured on various film soundtracks in its original or a remixed form. As of January, 2009, she can be heard collaborating with Maynard and Danny Lohner on the Puscifer track called, “The Mission.” She also performed the song at the first live Puscifer performance on February 13, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Danny Lohner, and longtime music collaborator Chris Brenner currently continue to record and perform with Jovovich who has made several highly praised appearances in recent years.
Jovovich continues to write songs which she refers to as “demos”, and which are provided for free in MP3 format on her official website. She provides license to freely download and remix the tracks, but reserves the right to sell and issue them.
A new single called Electric Sky was released on May 18, 2012. The song was presented at the Life Ball in 2012.
Jovovich and fellow model Carmen Hawk launched a line of clothing called Jovovich-Hawk in 2003. The pair opened a showroom in New York City’s Greenwich Village on September 13, 2005, and the line lasted for four years. All of the dresses for Jovovich-Hawk line were designed by herself and her partner Carmen Hawk, in The atelier is based in Los Angeles, but pieces could be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Vogue has praised the line for its “girl-about-town cult status most designers spend years trying to achieve.”
In November 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and US Vogue nominated Jovovich-Hawk for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Jovovich-Hawk was nominated as a finalist, although Doo-Ri Chung took the top prize.
In 2007, Jovovich and Hawk designed the costume for Jovovich’s character in Resident Evil: Extinction. The shorts Alice, her character, wears are a variation on the ‘Alice Star’ Shorts from the Spring 2007 collection. In late 2007, Jovovich-Hawk signed a deal to design a diffusion collection for Target’s Go International campaign, following in the footsteps of Luella, Paul & Joe and Proenza Schouler.
In late 2008, Jovovich and Hawk mutually agreed to end the business due to increased demands on their time. Jovovich explained, “I’m an artist. I’m not someone who can deal with shipping rates and taxes”.
Jovovich has been noted for her careers as a model, singer and actress. Music channel VH1 has referred to her as the “reigning queen of kick-butt” for her roles in various sci-fi and action films and Rebecca Flint Marx of Allmovie said that despite the negative critical response for the Resident Evil films, the franchise has turned Jovovich into an “A-list action star”. Her action roles have given her a geek following for which MTV said she was “Every Geek’s Dream Girl”.
In 2004, Jovovich was ranked No. 69 on Maxim magazine’s “Top 100 Hot List”, ranked No. 82 in 2005 and ranked No. 21 in 2010. Maxim also named her No. 11 on their list of “Hottest Nerd Crushes”. In 2008, she was ranked No. 90 on Ask Men‘s Top 99 Women of 2008 List. In 2011, Jovovich attended and sang at the birthday celebration of Mikhail Gorbachev. The actress also gave a speech in which she thanked Gorbachev, saying that when she and her family left the Soviet Union in 1980 they were sadly sure that they would never see their relatives again and that thanks to him they have been reunited.