Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Michelle Rodriguez and Milla Jovovich Story

Milla and Michelle
By Raymond de Asis Lo (The Philippine Star) Updated September 09, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

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In a genre dominated by men, Milla Jovovich (top) and Michelle Rodriguez portray two tough ladies taking on monsters, zombies and men double their sizes in Resident Evil: Retribution.
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MANILA, Philippines - Hollywood actresses Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez could never be more different: Ukrainian-born actress Milla has blue-green eyes, is reserved and has a decidedly low-key image in the business whereas the feisty Michelle, with her sexy Latina brown features, is more candid — and, for a time, had an unsavory industry reputation. Michelle’s brushes with the law are almost legendary it’s a surprise how easily she seemed to have soften up and successfully rejoined mainstream Hollywood — which the star credits to the US economic downturn. “I love the recession!” she gleefully proclaims.

But before her current resurgence, Michelle would be lucky if she gets invited to read for a movie. “I was cocky back then, I had this bravado,” she tells this writer three weeks ago during a junket for Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Retribution, the latest and perhaps the penultimate installment in the successful sci-fi series based on the hit video game of the same name, at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

“You know, you grow up poor in America, conspiracy theories are the biggest thing,” she says as she explains the very public phase of her meltdown. “You think, there’s somebody holding you down. Finally, you grow up into an adult and you realize that you are the one with the power to be whoever you want to be and you have to take yourself out of wherever you are to be who that person is.”

“But it takes a while for you not to stop blaming all the motherf---rs because sometimes you are like, ‘How come I don’t see any signs to go into the military in Beverly Hills? Why is it only in Jersey City where I come from? How come there’s not a liquor store in every corner over here? What’s going on? Then you start thinking, ‘Man, they’re after me!’”

“But then you’re like supply and demand. You start learning consumer stuff and then you’re like, ‘Oh it’s because all these people want to get drunk, that’s why. They want to smoke cigarettes and they actually enjoy shooting people, so they join the military.’”

Michelle had a spectacular debut in Hollywood when she was cast in the critically-acclaimed independent movie Girlfi ght more than a decade ago. But the acclaim did not bring her immediate stardom. She had a rough career, no thanks to her erratic temperament. Today, she considers herself all changed and grown-up.

“I learned a lot! I grew this fi lter between my brain and my mouth. I am a lot more careful before I say stuff, of course, I still say things but not as bad when I was in my 20s so I am very proud of that. When you are dumb and you’ve got nothing really smart to say, it’s like, you know (she halts and laughs)… So I am, kind of, glad that, after years of having a big mouth, I have friends who are like, ‘You know what, you should read a couple of books before you talk so much shit!’”

She acknowledges that she’s “very, very happy and satisfi ed” with her career now but she aims for more.
“If I had nothing more for, I’d just do drugs and kill myself. What’s the point of living? Just have sex and die!” She declares in typical unfi ltered fashion. What Michelle aims for does not include winning an Oscar but to have more money. “I’ve gone through stages where I’ve been so broke. It’s really sad! I’ve been doing this s--t for 13 years and the fact that I am not making money, that’s sad. It really is pathetic! And I got a fan base — I can’t go to any country anywhere in the world without being recognized and it’s sad that I don’t make any money doing this because I don’t rip my clothes off or play somebody’s girlfriend. It’s F-ked up, you know, but that’s changing now.” It may be sometime before we see Michelle in a cosmetic or lingerie campaign, and she would certainly benefi t if she consults with her co-star, Milla, who, with her classic Hollywood beauty, is one of the recognizable faces gracing the global cosmetic giant L’Oreal’s ad campaign.

Their differences aside, Michelle and Milla bring a different sort of female power to Hollywood these days. In a genre dominated by men, they portray two tough ladies taking on monsters, zombies and men double their sizes in Resident Evil: Retribution.

The stars, however, play character on opposing ends of the conflict: Milla, who plays the lead, is on the good side while Michelle is the villain who was killed off in the first movie but is surprisingly back in action in this bloody and ultra-violent sequel and her character could be more powerful this time.

The toughness that their characters required suited Michelle’s persona best. “I didn’t have to do much acting!” she says. Milla considers herself not as tough as Alice, her character in the movie, though but only “in some ways, definitely.”

“I relate to Alice the most in the sense that she keeps her promises. I am a very loyal person,” Milla says. “Alice is the kind of person that would swear an oath and she could die before she would break it and I admire that because I feel like oaths means nothing today and they should because it’s our honor that’s at stake.”

There is a reason why Milla is a little particular with people who don’t keep their words: She’s been stung by a few people who she thought were her friends only to turn their backs on her later. She now surrounds herself with a few trusted and loyal friends.

“The few friends I have make fun of me every time I am gonna do a get-together, it’s like, ‘Oh, who are you going to invite, your mom and your dad and your three friends?’”

The star admits that she’s “never been a kind of person that had too many acquaintances.” She meets people at parties, says hi and that’s it. Over the last two years, there are only two people she’s met who she imagines being friends with: Actresses Chelsea Handler and Elizabeth Banks.

“For the most part, I keep my distance. I am very private.”

But Milla insists that she’s not shy. “I am just a bit hesitant with who I allow to know me because I feel like I started so young in this industry and the friends that I made when I was a kid knew me before I had success and after being in this industry and meeting people who are like, ‘Oh yeah, call me’ and they never call or whatever it is, I, kind of, (realized) at an early age that, ‘Oh, this is fake’ and the people that I knew before are real because my movie could bomb and I could lose all my money but I could still sleep on my friend’s couch and they would still support me whether I am famous or not.”

She also shares a surprising revelation: “Movie stars don’t have many friends at all. They have acquaintances and publicists who make it look like they have friends.”

“Who wants to be friends with actors?” Milla muses.

Her fans would most certainly exclaim in unison: We do! (Resident Evil: Retribution opens Sept. 12.)

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