Milla Jovovich Exclusive Interview
Stone star Milla Jovovich has been globe-trotting and arrives back in New York City to sit down to an exclusive chat about working with Stone co-stars Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.
Jovovich, who is ?known for her work on the Resident Evil films, welcomed the opportunity to work with movie greatness in De Niro and Norton. To say her work on Stone increased Jovovich's acting confidence is a gross understatement.
Jovovich first caught eyes as an international model before finding her way into Hollywood films such as Dazed and Confused and He's Got Game. Since those early works, she has appeared in dozens of films as well as served as the face for a half-dozen international cosmetic companies such as Revlon and high-profile fashion houses. She was also the youngest person ever to appear on the covers of Vogue and Mademoiselle.
The married mother (her husband is Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson) is clearly still in awe at the experience of working with De Niro and Norton on Stone and comes off as incredibly gracious for the opportunity.
Milla Jovovich speaks
SheKnows: What first appealed to you about the movie Stone?
Milla Jovovich: You know, definitely the thing that was so interesting personally for me about the script was the lack of black and white characters and these sort of gray areas that these people dwell in. It was very much on the one hand I couldn't relate to my character completely, but on the other hand I could relate to the fact that nobody's perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Even though we're on two different levels, I could definitely love and respect her for the journey that she has to go through in her own life and sort of the journeys that we all have to go through in our own lives. She was definitely one of those personalities that jumped off the page at me. I felt like there was something that I could bring to her and the movie in general because there is such a sadness surrounding these people. Though she's riddled with mistakes, riddled with hypocritical statements or actions, she's such a joyous character and she really brings a joy to the story.
SheKnows: Stone doesn't really have any black and white, don't you think it's entirely gray?
Milla Jovovich: There is no light at the end of any tunnel in the script and that was one thing I loved about it, was the fact that it leaves so many questions for the audience. It's not wrapping it up in a nice little box and giving you all the answers and spoon-feeding you information. But she did bring something uplifting to the script with the personality and that kind of childlike joy and freedom that she possessed. Everyone is living in these cages -- she's the proverbial bird flying around which I really loved. In a sense she gets put into a cage in the end. It's interesting because this movie is so much about living in this hypocrisy of daily habits and pretending to be something on the outside that they're not feeling on the inside. People can spend a lifetime living a lie. At the end of the day it also really touched on the fact that no matter what, this house will burn down whether it's literally or figuratively. People have to change and people have to be honest and at some point it's going to blow up in your face and that's something that really compelled me about the movie.
Milla on De Niro & Norton
SheKnows: You have such great chemistry obviously in very different ways with De Niro and Norton. What was it like working with each of them?
Milla Jovovich: Edward is such a generous person in general as a human being and as an artist he's very intelligent and works a lot on the script. Actually, he and Bob and John really spent almost two years re-writing the script and taking it to another level, because I think the script that they read was a film noire thriller type-thing and both Edward and John aren't really interested in making those kinds of black and white movies. They tried to take the material and bring something else to it that was much more real and much more interesting for actors. I was just very inspired to work with Edward because he brings so much to every project that he's a part of and he's such an amazing actor and such a well of experience and knowledge. He's consistently just such a nice person, very supportive. It was good because with Bob you saw him on another level in a sense. His career precedes him when he walks into a room, a lot of times you don't see Bob, you see every movie he's done.
SheKnows: And working with Robert De Niro had to be inspiring for you, but was it also nerve-wracking?
Milla Jovovich: Of course, it can throw you and any actor. What I loved is that Edward was so good because they worked together before and he said, "No matter what, you've got to keep your process intact because you're amazing and we hired you for a reason. So don't let Bob throw you off because he has his process and we respect that. And you have your process and I have my process and don't let anyone throw you from that." Because you're never really going to get what you expect from Bob because he is such a truth seeker in that sense he really doesn't lie.
SheKnows: Is he a true method actor?
Milla Jovovich: Well, he has a method of working that is very different than anything I've ever dealt with before. And trust me, I've talked and talked to Bob about certain scenes in another movie we did and then I walk in on the day and he's not doing anything that we talked out. Suddenly, I'm second guessing myself rather than just allowing him to be himself. That's the reputation working, that's not Bob. That's just your own fear, "Oh my God, am I doing something wrong?" There were times that the scene just wouldn't move because Bob wasn't believing what he was doing. Rather than taking it personally, I would just change my tactics to help him. For instance, we did this scene where I have to talk on the phone with him and I have to seduce him. We had done my part of the scene already, so Bob wanted me on the phone for his close-up and I was already back in L.A. They called me from the set and said would I get on the phone with him and I'm doing the scene the way I shot it and he says this is totally inappropriate. He says goodbye and hangs up on me.
De Niro hangs up!
SheKnows: Oh my gosh!
Milla Jovovich: John Curran [Stone director] called me back and said, "What happened?" I said, "I don't know, Bob hung up on me." And he says, "Ok, anyway, let's do it again." We do it again, and again Bob hangs up on me. After the third time of Bob hanging up on me, I'm going, "Alright this isn't working." Whatever I'm doing he's not able to relate to it as his character, he's looking for something else from me. And what he's looking for is for me to keep him on the phone and obviously the way the script is written he's not buying it. I just said to John, "Listen, John, let me try something else, because it's not working." So, when I got him on the phone, I literally started pleading with him not to hang up on me. I completely threw away the dialogue and I just was saying, "Please, please don't hang up on me. I need to speak to you about my husband," and started crying, literally totally went the opposite direction with it. Rather than trying to seduce him, I tried to touch on whatever part of him as a human being would respond to a woman in distress about her husband and he actually stayed on the phone. It was awesome. It's interesting as an actor working with people that are so bent on finding the truth they're just not going to move forward until something else happens that will help them get there.
SheKnows: How did you manage to adjust without completely freaking out [laughs]?
Milla Jovovich: [Laughs] I'm sure I could have done the scene the same and it just would have taken Bob longer but I realized, oh, he needs something else from me to help him find it. That was great to feel like part of the process and part of his process and it was a great honor.
SheKnows: That had to be very professionally rewarding.
Milla Jovovich: Yes it is, to not have Robert De? Niro hang up on you [laughs]. That is a good thing.