Milla Jovovich turned the Alice of "Resident Evil" into an action franchise icon, but the whole thing almost fell apart when she was blindsided by rewrites. In an oral history with Inverse, Jovovich explained that she almost quit the 2002 film when she found out -- while flying across the Atlantic ocean to set -- that some of her best action scenes were being given to Michelle Rodriguez, because Rodriguez was then the new star on the rise.
First, Jovovich explained that she wanted the role of Alice because she was a big fan of the video game and would play it all the time with her younger brother. Also, "I wanted to produce the movie, because I just thought, oh what a great property, to have such strong female characters that even my brother and his friends would rather play as Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield than the guys. And then I found out that it was being made by Paul's company, so I just asked to come in and read for it."
Paul is writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson, whom Jovovich met while working on "Resident Evil." They ended up marrying in 2009, and have two children, but there was a rocky start to their relationship when she confronted him over the script changes.
Here's that part of the oral history, from Jovovich's perspective:
"I almost quit the movie. I was shooting something else, and Paul had hired Michelle Rodriguez to play Rain. And she had just come off Girlfight and there was Oscar buzz. She was very hot at that moment, and my hotness had sort of been already four years old by that point. So Paul rewrote the script for her. It pretty much made my character 'the girl,' and Rain was 'the guy.' She got all of my big action scenes, and she became like Alice. And then Alice became this tag-along.
I didn't get the new draft until I was leaving to go to Germany from Canada, where I was working. I ended up reading the script on the plane, so by the time I landed in Berlin, I was livid. I got to the hotel and said, 'We have to have to a big talk or I'm going to be on a flight tomorrow morning.'
So Paul ended up coming over that evening and we literally sat for three hours and went through the script, page by page. He was like, 'What do you mean? This didn't change that much?' So I was like, 'OK, why don't we start with page one?' I pointed out every time I felt like my great scenes were taken away. That was how we started our relationship."
Hopefully that doesn't read as a "Girlfight" on its own, because the result kept Alice in the lead role of what would be a six-film franchise, and also gave a strong role to Michelle Rodriguez as Rain, who returned for "Resident Evil: Retribution."
Inverse's oral history also includes praise from Ali Larter, whose Claire joined the cast in the third movie:
"I loved the idea of getting involved in a female-led franchise; especially in these action-zombie movies, you don't usually see a woman in that role. I was originally very attracted to that, seeing Milla and the fact that they were then bringing a character that wasn't going to be in competition with her. They build each other, they end up having this connection, and they work together. I thought that was really special."
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