Movie stars aren't always as cool as the characters they play, so it's refreshing when your favorite action hero is a real force of nature. Milla Jovovich is one such individual: a martial arts-trained model and actress who plays by her own rules. It's not hard to see why Jovovich rules, as this Ukrainian-born starlet lives up to the larger-than-life persona showcased in her films.
Whether it's extreme stunts, political activism, or recording music, it seems there's nothing Jovovich can't do. Her will, determination, and strength in the face of hardship should be an inspiration to hopeful action stars in search of a role model.
She Performed Nearly All The Stunts In 'Resident Evil' HerselfPhoto: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
There aren't too many actors willing or able to do their own stunts. However, Jovovich performed every on-screen action in the original Resident Evil film with one exception. The scene in which she jumped between two falling pipes (with no padding underneath) was too dangerous for her to attempt.
Resident Evil was not the only film for which she's done stunts. She trained with stunt coordinator Mike Smith for six months in preparation for vampire action flick Ultraviolet. Jovovich also told Express, she also got hurt more often while filming the James Franco apocalypse feature Future World than any other film.
She Overcame Bullies And Doubters To Build Her CareerPhoto: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com
Immigrating from another country and culture can be a challenge. Jovovich was a model, but she still dealt with mean peers at school because of her name and Russian heritage. She was shunned by many and teased for being different. She didn't allow this to impact her goals, however.
According to Jovovich, she transitioned into her acting career at a time when models were unwelcome in the film industry. "When I started modeling in the late ’80s and through the ’90s, you weren't allowed to be an actress and a model," Jovovich told the Advocate. She found that because she was a model, people often didn't take her film and music careers seriously.
She Dropped Out Of School At Age 12 To Pursue Modeling And ActingPhoto: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
Jovovich prepared for the spotlight from a young age. Her mother - Russian actress Galina Jovovich - managed her daughter and enrolled her in various programs, including acting, piano, and ballet. These extra classes shored up her modeling and acting skills.
She left school at age 12 to pursue her career full-time. Jovovich landed her first modeling job at age 11 for Lei magazine, acted in her first film Return to the Blue Lagoon at age 15, recorded a folk album at age 16, and starred as "Leeloo" in The Fifth Element at age 19.
She Speaks Multiple Real And Invented LanguagesPhoto: Twocoms / Shutterstock.com
English is Jovovich’s second language; Russian is her first and one in which she remains fluent. The Ukrainian-born actress lived in Russia until she was 5 years old. After temporarily living in London and Sacramento, CA, her family moved to Los Angeles. She didn’t know any English when she first arrived in the United States, but was reportedly fluent within three months.
For the role of Leeloo in The Fifth Element, Jovovich told Vice she learned Divine, a language made up by the film’s director, Luc Besson. When learning to speak it, Jovovich and Besson wrote letters to one another in Divine. Since filming, though, she's completely forgotten it (except for the word representing her character's name).