Álainn or Appallin’: Milla Jovovich
Milla Jovovich may have been a model (she started modelling at the tender age of 9) but, when she decided to make the leap to the big screen, she shirked the usual glamour roles. Instead she opted to play one outcast after another.
When she was 13, while still modelling, she started her onscreen career with bit part after bit part, and was the main earner in her family. Indeed, in 2004, just 19 years-old, she made $10.4 million, becoming the highest paid supermodel in the world. It was when she starred as Leeloo in the weird Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element that Milla really started to make heads turn onscreen as well as on magazine covers.
Her acting ability didn’t come from nowhere. Milla’s mother, Galina Jovovich, was a famous actress in Russia. However, when the family moved from Kiev in the Ukraine, she was unknown and the family cleaned the houses of the rich and famous in Los Angeles to make a living. This feeling of being different has affected every character the Milla has played since.
Her depiction of Leeloo, the alien being protected by Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element, is an odd blend of sexual and childlike; an other worldly innocent who could kill you with a bat of her eyelashes.
Two years later, Milla played Joan of Arc in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. The film was again directed by Luc Besson who Milla had married. The Messenger was a great film for her to show her acting chops. She manages to make the journey from farm girl to fierce, heroic warrior believable; no mean feat. The set wasn’t a happy one, though, and she and Besson divorced when the film was completed.
The divorce hit her quite hard and Milla has a couple of years where she didn’t know where her career would go. The industry didn’t know what to do with her. Could she act or was she just Besson’s muse; a pretty face for his vision?
Then, in 2002, she got the role of Alice in Resident Evil and a Hollywood heroine was born. From the moment she falls in the shower and suffers concussion in the first film, to that fracking cool entrance on the motorbike through a stained-glass window, Milla has created a character who may be a goodie but is bad to the bone. After all Milla loves martial arts and she practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so those zombies have no chance.
Off screen, Milla is now a mammy and is loving parenthood. She is also an accomplished singer and songwriter and has performed on, or written songs for, many of her films’ soundtracks. She also released an album in 1994, called The Divine Comedy, and fronts a band called Plastic Has Memory. You can listen to her stuff here.