Milla Jovovich Talks "Stone", Animal Instincts and Cranking Miike Snow
Tue, 05 Oct 2010 12:35:55
Milla Jovovich Videos
Milla Jovovich remains one of the most mesmerizing actresses of this generation.
She always conjures a distinct on-screen mystique—whether she's taking out an army of zombies as Alice in the Resident Evil series or saving the world as Leeloo in The Fifth Element. In her latest film, Stone, that mystique is more entrancing than it's ever been. Milla's placed in a wild world that isn't overrun by hordes of mutants or futuristic terrorists. Rather, this environment is fraught with sexual tension, frustration and a whole lot of lying. Yet, Milla sleeks through it as Lucetta, a fragile vixen who strikes up a relationship with her husband Stone's [Edward Norton] parole officer Jack [Robert De Niro]. Lucetta weaves a web of intrigue that entraps Jack, who has no choice but to succumb. However, the actress gives Lucetta a sensitive side that creates one of the most intriguingly dangerous females that the screen has seen since Catherine Tramell. Lucetta thrives off her own basic instincts too…
Milla Jovovich sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about getting animalistic for Stone, unsettling Robert De Niro with tunes and why we should all love Lucetta…
Do you feel like you updated the femme fatale for the 21st century with Lucetta?
[Laughs] That's a new one! Thank you. I've never heard anybody say that yet! For me, I wasn't looking at Lucetta as a femme fatale in any way, shape or form. For me, she's a bit of an ignorant girl who's got a lot of chutzpah, freedom and light around her. She's brought a feeling of joy to the movie that I think it really needed. These people are living lives that are steeped in hypocrisy and habit, so they're projecting one personality to a community and a world where there's something totally different beneath it. In a way, she's innocent through all of that. She's very much like an animal. She doesn't see the forest for the trees. She's like a bird or a lion, just walking through and she might destroy everything in her path [Laughs]. There's still this joyousness to her that involves living in the moment and having no regrets. I love that about Lucetta. At the same time, it's a script full of flawed personalities. I don't agree with the decisions she makes. However, I had to respect them and give her love. I had to believe in her no matter what her mistakes were. Through that, it ended up being what it is. More than anything, I think there's a truthfulness to her that's compelling. All of the actors did a beautiful job of bringing really layered performances that don't give you all the answers. She's got a mystery about her. When you say "Femme Fatale," that's what you're referring to. She's very sexual and mysterious in that sense, but on the other hand, she's like an open book. That paradox is what I love about her. You never really know what to expect from any of these people.
That's what makes her so human. Lucetta displays a whole range of emotions. She's stripped to this animalistic level where she's simply doing what's right for the situation and the moment.
Exactly! I was thinking about that innocence and that animal quality. At the same time, she does manipulate, but there's not this malicious intent or anything. I refer to her more as a wolf that eats the rabbit. You don't go, "I blame the wolf for eating the rabbit." It's natural. She's simply doing what she needs to do to have control over her life and her situation. It's nature. She's not the most educated person in the world, so she relies more on instincts and manipulation to feel in control of her world. That control she needs to feel is really key to who she is. Everybody needs to feel important and special. I think Lucetta feels special when she has men depending on her. She's the one that's going to save you. When she's saving somebody, she doesn't have to think about herself. She feels in control because Stone needs her, she's his lifeline. Jack needs her. There's that implicit satisfaction in being needed that makes Lucetta feel important.
There's an interesting rhythm to Lucetta's movements. Was that deliberate? She slinks around in a controlling fashion.
It's funny that you mention that! I just wanted Lucetta to flow. Costume and movement are so important. She has to be like a fish in water—more appropriately a shark! I keep going back to these animal metaphors. I wanted to make sure the clothes were a big contrast to that slinky flow. When you look at Lucetta and the way she dresses, she's very much a normal Midwestern girl. She's sexy but nothing special. It's not like she's got some amazing sense of style or she's very unique in some way. She's very much a product of where she comes from, and that normal look could attract someone like Jack because, from the outside, she's just a nice girl. However, there's this underlying sexuality about her that's very dangerous. That's very attractive too. It's not like she dresses like a slut [Laughs]. There's a reason why Jack goes for her, and it's that "normal" factor. Even though she's kooky and there's a freedom about her, I don't think Jack is the kind of guy who would go for a stripper. There are certain components that had to come together when we were thinking about the character. It would've taken it over the edge if I wore little short-shorts and a crop top. I wanted there to be another kind of hypocrisy that contrasts her nature, which is these nice glowing colors, pastels and little cargo skirts. She's like the girl who works in the 7-11 down the street from you.
Otherwise, Jack wouldn't be able to approach her.
No, he'd be scared out of his mind! He'd be running home.
Does Stone remind you of any songs? Were you listening to anything on set?
At the time, I was listening to "Animal" by Miike Snow a lot, which is purely coincidental [Laughs]. The music I listen to is the music I'm into. Definitely for specific movies, I get into a certain soundtrack though. On Stone, there was a lot of Fever Ray going on. There's this purity to it. It's dark, tribal and mystical. There's a real underling sense of this ominous feeling.
Lucetta is a very musical character.
When I was doing the seduction scenes with Robert De Niro in Lucetta's apartment getting him drunk and freed up a bit, I was playing this music. John Curan [Director] told me to bring some of my music. I wanted to ask Bob what kind of music he liked, but John was like, "I don't want you to ask Bob what kind of music he likes. Bring your music because I want to throw him off and catch him by surprise." I would come in and play lots of different stuff like Cold War Kids, the Miike Snow song and other things. For Bob, it was outside of his comfort zone [Laughs]. I played it loud, and it was very jarring for him, which was really interesting. Poor Bob; he really went through the ringer on this one! Edward said, "Don't let his persona allow you to lose your process. Really, his films walk in before him. You see his body of work before you see Bob. That could be intimidating, so don't lose sight of who you are. What you're bringing is really strong and special. Keep hold of that." I hung on to my process, and I knew Bob had to go through his process. They're different! Everybody has his or her own way of working. I needed that music to feel like the character, and unless he had some music he brought, that's what we were listening to [Laughs]. He was running up out of there by the end of the day because we were playing the music so loud! John would be cranking it. In those scenes, he's out of it and it's like he's spinning. It helped on the day to have the jarring energy that music always brings. It sets the mood. I think I put on Biggie Smalls and Frank Sinatra at one point, which was hilarious. It was all really helpful. It created a safety zone for me, but a real unsafe place for Bob, which was exciting.
Will you be seeing Stone when it hits theaters on October 8? What's your favorite Milla Jovovich movie?