Jovovich began modeling at eleven, when Richard Avedon featured her in Revlon's "Most Unforgettable Women in the World" advertisements, and she continued her career with other notable campaigns for L'Oreal cosmetics, Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Donna Karan and Versace. In 1988, she had her first professional acting role in the television film The Night Train to Kathmandu, and later that year she appeared in her first feature film, Two Moon Junction. Following more small television and film roles, she gained notoriety with the romance film Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), the sequel to The Blue Lagoon. Jovovich then acted alongside Bruce Willis in the science fiction film The Fifth Element (1997), and later played the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999). In 2002, she starred in the video game adaptation, Resident Evil, which has gone on to spawn two sequels: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007).
In addition to her modeling and acting career, Jovovich released a critically acclaimed musical album, The Divine Comedy in 1994. She continues to release demos for other songs on her official website and contributes to film soundtracks as well; Jovovich has yet to release another album. In 2003, she and model Carmen Hawk created the clothing line Jovovich-Hawk. The line ceased operations in early 2008. Jovovich also has her own production company, Creature Entertainment.
Jovovich's paternal family's estate was at Metohija in Zlopek near Peć. Her paternal great-grandfather, Bogić Camić Jovović, was a flag-bearer of the Serbian Vasojevići clan and an officer in the guard of the King Nicholas I of Montenegro; his wife's name was Milena. Her paternal grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, was a commander in the Priština military area, and later investigated finances in the military areas of Skopje and Sarajevo, where he uncovered massive gold embezzlement. He was punished for refusing to convict a friend of the crime. Later, the government briefly imprisoned him in Goli Otok for refusing to testify. When he feared that he could be arrested again, he escaped to Albania and later moved to Kiev. A different version of the story claims that he was the one who took the gold. Bogich later joined Bodgan in Kiev, where he and his sister graduated in medicine. In 2000, her grandfather, Bogdan Jovović, died in Kiev.
In 1981, when Jovovich was five years old, her family left the Soviet Union for political reasons and moved to London. They subsequently lived in Sacramento, California before settling in Los Angeles, California seven months later; Jovovich's parents divorced soon after.
In 1988, as a result of her father's relationship with an Argentinan woman, Jovovich's half-brother Marco Jovovich, was born. Jovovich's mother attempted to support the family with acting jobs, but found little success, and eventually resorted to cleaning houses to earn money. Both her father and mother provided house cleaning services for director Brian de Palma. Jovovich's father was incarcerated for most of her childhood for partaking in an illegal operation with medical insurance; he was given a twenty year sentence in 1994, but was released in 1999 after serving five years in an American prison. Jovovich has stated that "Prison was good for him. He's become a much better person. It gave him a chance to stop and think."
Jovovich attended public schools shortly after arriving in the United States, and learned fluent English in three months. During school, many of the students had teased her because she had immigrated from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Jovovich said, "I was called a Commie and a Russian spy. I was never, ever, ever accepted into the crowd". At age twelve in seventh grade, Jovovich left school to focus on her growing career. As a young teenager, she claimed to be rebellious, engaging in drug use, shopping mall vandalism, and credit-card fraud.
Later Jovovich made it to the cover of The Face, which led to new contracts and covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has graced over one hundred magazine covers, including Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar and In Style. Her modeling career has included various campaigns for Banana Republic, Christian Dior, Damiani, Donna Karan, Gap, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Coach, Giorgio Armani, H&M, and Revlon. Since 1998, Jovovich has been an "international spokesmodel" for L'Oreal cosmetics. She also appeared in the Pirelli calendar in 1998 and had a minor cameo in Bret Easton Ellis's novel Glamorama, a satire of society's obsession with celebrities and beauty.
In an article published in 2002, Jovovich was said to be Miuccia Prada's muse and in an article published in 2003, Harpers & Queen magazine claimed Jovovich was Gianni Versace's "favourite supermodel". In 2004, Jovovich topped Forbes magazine's "Richest Supermodels of the World" list, earning a reported $10.5 million. In 2006, Jovovich was picked up by Spanish clothing line Mango as their new spokesmodel and is currently featured in their ad campaigns; she can also be seen in ads for Etro. She has noted that "Modeling was never a priority and it instead enables her "to be selective about the creative decisions [she] make[s]".
In 1992, Jovovich co-starred with Christian Slater in the comedy Kuffs. Later that year, she portrayed Mildred Harris in the Charlie Chaplin biographical film Chaplin. 1993 saw Jovovich in the Richard Linklater cult film Dazed and Confused, in which she played Michelle Burroughs, on screen girlfriend to Pickford (played by her then real life boyfriend Shawn Andrews). Jovovich was heavily featured in the promotional material for the film, however, upon the film's release, she was upset to find her role was considerably trimmed from the original script. The bulk of Jovovich's role was to be shot on the last day of filming, however, she was misinformed of the date, and ultimately had one line in the film, "No", in addition to singing a line from "The Alien Song" from her album, The Divine Comedy. Discouraged, she took a hiatus from acting roles, during which time she moved to Europe and began focusing on a music career.
In 2002, Jovovich starred in the horror/action film Resident Evil, released in the United States on March 15, 2002. Based on the CAPCOM video game series of same name, she portrayed Alice, the film's hero who fights a legion of zombies created by the evil Umbrella Corporation. Jovovich had accepted the role of Alice because she and her brother had been fans of the video game franchise, saying "it was exciting for me just watching him play, I could sit for 5 hours and we would sit all day and play this game". Jovovich had performed all the stunts required in the film, save for a scene that would involve her jumping to a cement platform, which her management deemed too dangerous, and had trained in karate, kick-boxing and combat-training. The film was commercially successful, grossing $17 million on its opening weekend, and gaining $40 million domestically and $102 million worldwide. Later, she portrayed the manipulative gang wife Erin in No Good Deed (2002), Nadine in the romantic comedy You Stupid Man (2002), punk rocker Fangora ("Fanny") in Dummy (2003), and provided a guest voice on the television series King of the Hill. The role of Fangora in Dummy, allowed Jovovich to act in film with Oscar-winning Adrien Brody, who was a friend prior to filming. Jovovich found it easy to identify with this role because she felt Fangora, as opposed to previous characters, possessed similar qualities to the actress's own life.
In 2004, Jovovich reprised the role of Alice in the sequel to Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The role required her to do fight training for three hours a day, in addition to the three months prior to filming in which she had "gun training, martial arts, everything". Apocalypse received even more negative reactions from the critics than the first film. Following the release of the film, Jovovich was unhappy with the results and director Alexander Witt's effort. She noted during an interview that year that her large action films take care of the commercial part of her career, while she acts in "independent little films that never come out" to appease her artistic side, and "It's a good balance". The following year, she was featured in Gore Vidal's faux trailer remake of Caligula, as Drusilla. In 2006, Jovovich's film, the science fiction/action thriller Ultraviolet, was released on March 3. She played the title role of Violet Song jat Shariff, a role that also involved heavily choreographed fight sequences and Gun Kata, a fictional martial art combining statistical analysis and gunplay. It was not screened for critics, but when reviewed, it was critically panned, grossing $31 million world wide. That year Jovovich also starred in .45, as Kat, the revenge driven wife of a drug dealer.
In 2007, Jovovich reprised her role as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction, the third of the Resident Evil series. The film grossed an estimated US$24 million in 2,828 theaters on its opening weekend, topping the box office gross for that week. It opened stronger than its predecessor, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which opened with $23 million in 3,284 theaters (over 450 more theaters than Extinction). In a March 2006 interview, Jovovich said that she would not appear in another action film "for a long time", expressing a desire to portray more diverse roles, but she added that talks of another sequel in the Resident Evil franchise were a "real possibility".
Jovovich was set to portray Amalia Bezhetskaya in Azazel in 2007, however, with the announcement of her pregnancy early that year, the film was postponed until Summer of 2008. Also in 2008 Milla will star in David Twohy's A Perfect Getaway with Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, and Steve Zahn. The film is a thriller about a newlywed couple (Milla and Zahn) on their honeymoon in Hawaii who run into two hikers who turn out to be vicious killers. Filming is scheduled to begin Spring 2008
Jovovich had begun working on a music album as early as 1988, when she was signed by SBK Records after the company heard a demo she recorded. In August 1990, she asserted in an interview that the then-forthcoming album would be "a mix between Kate Bush, Sinéad O'Connor, This Mortal Coil and the Cocteau Twins. After it was initially presented by SBK strictly as a pop album, Jovovich protested, insisting on using her personal poetry for lyrics and recording her own instrumental material. Jovovich had written the songs when she was fifteen, with the exception of a Ukrainian folk song, "In a Glade", that she covered. In April 1994, billed under her first name, she released The Divine Comedy, a title that was a reference to the epic poem by Dante Alighieri of the same name. Jovovich had chosen the title after seeing Russian artist Alexis Steele's proposed cover artwork sketch for the then untitled album. Jovovich found that the sketch had "all the struggle that I'm singing about. It IS the divine comedy". The Divine Comedy was well received by critics, and featured pop-infused traditional Ukrainian folk songs that led to comparisons with musicians Tori Amos and Kate Bush. John McAlley of Rolling Stone called the album "remarkable", "strikingly mature and rich in invention" and as featuring "angst-laced poetry with vivid melodies and arrangements that find a common spirit in synth pop, European folk and psychedelic dream rock". Jovovich released the track "Gentleman Who Fell", with an accompanying music video, as the sole single from the album. The music video was originally directed by Lisa Bonet and featured Harry Dean Stanton, but Jovovich was unsatisfied with the results and decided to film another version. The second version of "Gentleman Who Fell", a homage to Maya Deren's short film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), was subsequently played on MTV. Jovovich toured the United States during most of 1994 to promote the album, opening for Toad the Wet Sprocket and Crash Test Dummies, as well as playing smaller acoustic sets. Jovovich had opted to perform in smaller and more intimate settings, turning down a musical appearance on Saturday Night Live. Following The Divine Comedy, she expressed interest in releasing a second album, having had ten songs ready for a future recording that was intended for a Summer 1996 release. However, Jovovich has yet to release a second album.
1998 saw the release of The Peopletree Sessions, a recording originally issued on David Turin's Peopletree label only to end up on Cherry Red records after Jovovich and Turin fell out over its issuance. Jovovich claims that "she does not stand behind ... in any way, shape or form." She had met The Peopletree Sessions producer David Turin through his wife, fashion photographer Kate Garner who had shot Jovovich for various magazines. Turnin had approached Jovovich to collaborate on songs with Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell & Stephen Perkins, and producer duo the Dust Brothers, and she agreed, then recording music with Turnin. Afterwards, Jovovich received a CD from Turnin of 13 tracks, with cover art photographed by Garner, which Jovovich assumed to be for her own personal use. Turnin then released the album as Jovovich's second album, to which Jovovich attempted to stop the sale of. She has taken legal action against Turnin and Garner. The album was given 4 out of 5 stars in The Guardian and has retained a cult following.
Formed in May 1999, Jovovich led a band called Plastic Has Memory, in which she sang and played guitar. The band was "[m]uch heavier and darker than the vaguely Ukrainian folk-sounding elements of her first album" and had a similar sound to a grunge and trip hop Portishead. Plastic Has Memory played about a dozen shows in Los Angeles and New York City for a potential Virgin Records album release, one of which Mick Jagger had attended. Though Plastic Has Memory was featured on Hollywood Goes Wild, a benefit celebrity compilation album, the group never formally released a record and is no longer together.
Jovovich has contributed tracks to several of her film soundtracks, including The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) and Dummy (2002), and has also provided songs for film soundtracks in which she has not acted such as Underworld (2003). In 2001, Jovovich was one of many celebrities whose vocals were featured in a cover of "We are Family" to raise money for the American Red Cross. She has appeared as guest vocalist on the song "Former Lover" on Deepak Chopra's album, A Gift of Love II: Oceans of Ecstasy (2002) and Legion of Boom (2004) by The Crystal Method.
Since 2003, Jovovich has worked with musician Maynard James Keenan, of Tool and A Perfect Circle, on his side project Puscifer, contributing vocals to the track "REV 22:20", which was featured on various film soundtracks in its original or a remixed form.
Jovovich continues to write songs which she refers to as "demos", and which are provided for free in mp3 format on her official website. She provides license to freely download and remix the tracks, but reserves the right to sell and issue them.
Jovovich and fellow model Carmen Hawk launched a line of clothing called Jovovich-Hawk in 2003. The pair opened a showroom in New York City's Greenwich Village on September 13, 2005, and the line is currently in its third season. The atelier is based in Los Angeles, but pieces can be found at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols, and over 50 stores around the world. Vogue has praised the line for its "girl-about-town cult status most designers spend years trying to achieve."
In April 2006, Jovovich and Hawk launched the Jovovich-Hawk clothing range at Harvey Nichols in London. In November 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and US Vogue nominated Jovovich-Hawk as for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, an award founded in 2003, and underwritten by Vogue, Barneys New York, Coach, Juicy Couture, Kellwood Co., Nordstrom and Theory, with additional support from Gucci. The winner receives $200,000 as well as a year of industry guidance and support. Jovovich-Hawk was nominated as a finalist, although Doo-Ri Chung took the top prize.
In 2007, Jovovich and Hawk designed the costume for Jovovich's character in Resident Evil: Extinction. The shorts Alice, her character, wears are a variation on the 'Alice Star' Shorts from the Spring 2007 collection. In late 2007, Jovovich-Hawk signed a deal to design a diffusion collection for Target's Go International campaign, following in the footsteps of Luella, Paul & Joe and Proenza Schouler. The collection debuted on March 2, 2008.
In 2004, Jovovich was ranked #69 on Maxim magazine's "Top 100 Hot List and ranked #82 in 2005. Maxim also named her #11 on their list of "Hottest Nerd Crushes". In 2008, she was ranked #90 on Ask Men's Top 99 Women of 2008 List.
Jovovich currently resides in homes in Los Angeles and New York with her fiancé, film writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson. The two met while working on Resident Evil in which Anderson wrote and directed, and Jovovich starred. Anderson proposed to Jovovich in 2003, but the two separated for a period of time before becoming a couple again. The couple has stated that they "would love to [get married], but maybe after the baby. On November 3, 2007, Jovovich gave birth to her and Anderson's first child, a daughter, Ever Gabo Anderson. The child was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, one day before Jovovich's due date of November 4th. Ever, a male Scottish name, was given to reflect Anderson's Scottish heritage, while the middle name of Gabo (pronounced "Gabeau") was a combination of Jovovich's parent's names — the first two letters of mother Galina and the first two letters of father Bogie's. Wim Wenders, who directed Jovovich's film The Million Dollar Hotel, is the baby's godfather. Jovovich has stated that she would like to have three children, saying through means of adoption as well. She has two miniature Maltese dogs, Bubbles and Madness.
Prior to her relationship with Anderson, Jovovich married on-screen boyfriend Shawn Andrews in 1992 while filming Dazed and Confused together. Andrews was 21, while Jovovich was 16; the marriage was annulled by her mother two months later. Shortly after the annulment, Jovovich moved to Europe and lived with her then boyfriend, Jamiroquai ex-bassist Stuart Zender, in London from 1994 to 1996. From 1996 to 1997, she dated photographer Mario Sorrenti. In a ceremony in Las Vegas, she married The Fifth Element director Luc Besson in 1997; they divorced in 1999. Later in 1999, during the filming of The Million Dollar Hotel, Jovovich dated co-star Jeremy Davies from May until the end of the year. Jovovich also dated her "idol", Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, for seven months in 2000.
In 2006, Jovovich mentioned her interest in publishing her private diaries as an autobiography. She had kept a diary since childhood, writing about the locations she has traveled and "all the mad things that [she's] done". Jovovich has stated that she views publication as a way to "get it all into a book—like an autobiography", and it would have a "diary feel to it". However, she also commented that she was "…not sure how interested anyone would be in publishing it, or reading it, for that matter.
In addition to being a smoker, Jovovich has advocated the legalization of cannabis and appeared in a spread and on the cover for High Times. In an article published in 1994, she admitted that her only vices were cigarettes and cannabis. She practices yoga and meditates often in attempts to live a healthy lifestyle; although not affiliating with a certain religion, she prays and considers herself a "spiritual person". She avoids junk foods and prefers to cook for herself. She practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in addition to other varieties of martial arts. Jovovich also enjoys playing the guitar, writing in a diary, and writing poems and lyrics for songs.
|1988||The Night Train to Kathmandu (TV)||Lily McLeod|
|Two Moon Junction||Samantha Delongpre|
|Paradise (TV)||Katie||1 episode|
|1989||Married... with Children (TV)||Yvette||1 episode|
|1990||Parker Lewis Can't Lose (TV)||Robin Fecknoids||Pilot - 1 episode|
|1991||Return to the Blue Lagoon||Lilli Hargrave|
|1993||Dazed and Confused||Michelle Burroughs|
|1997||The Fifth Element||Leeloo|
|1998||He Got Game||Dakota Burns|
|1999||The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc||Joan of Arc|
|2000||The Claim||Lucia||Limited release|
|2001||The Million Dollar Hotel||Eloise||Limited release|
|You Stupid Man||Nadine|
|2003||Dummy||Fangora "Fanny" Gurkel||Limited release|
|No Good Deed||Erin|
|2004||Resident Evil: Apocalypse||Alice|
|2005||Trailer for a remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula||Drusilla|
|2006||Ultraviolet||Violet Song jat Shariff|
|Resident Evil: Extinction||Alice|
|2008||The Palermo Shooting||Herself||In Competition at Cannes Film Festival|
|2009||A Perfect Getaway||Cydney||Post-production|
|The 4th Kind||Abbey||Post-production|
|Azazel||Amalia Bezhetskaya||Announced, shooting scheduled to start Summer 2008|
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