“I tell Paul every day, he spoils me. It is such a pleasure. We have our family together. We do these fun movies together. What am I going to do when I have to go work with somebody else?” asks Milla Jovovich, with a big smile.
It’s easy to see why her director husband Paul W S Anderson would do everything he could to please the former supermodel who sits across from me in a London hotel room, endless legs crossed, feline eyes burning.
“Thank God for Resident Evil,” she continues, referring to the lucrative franchise, on which they first worked together in 2002, and which will continue filming its next instalment later this year. “So I don’t have to worry about it. It’s really way too wonderful.”
If we are used to seeing Anderson and Jovovich creating more futuristic, sci-fi fare, their latest project might appear a curveball for both of them – as Anderson explains, becoming a father to a ballet-mad daughter has made this inevitable, “Watching Cinderella fifty times in a row cannot leave you unchanged.”
The Three Musketeers, filmed in the European heartlands in blockbusting 3D, is a romp through Dumas’ famous tale, faithful in spirit to the earlier films, but with all the colour and theatrics offered by modern cinema. While her husband sits in the director’s chair, Jovovich has grabbed the chance onscreen to prove that it’s not just menfolk who get to buckle their swash when the occasion befits.
“I get to do these things I love so much, like flying around on wires,” gushes Jovovich of her character Milady de Winter, a charming but ruthless double agent, more than a match for D’Artagnan and his fellow Musketeers.
Anderson is equally admiring of his wife’s work ethic.
“I always call her the hardest working person in showbusiness,” he says proudly. “I’ve never met an actor as dedicated as she is, she’s like the Terminator, relentless. It can be 2am in the morning, and she suggests we talk about some aspect of the film. How about we don’t, Milla? But we both just love making movies.
However, away from the swishing carriages, gleaming swords and... airships – yes, really – of France’s Golden Age, it’s clear their most important project is now being parents. The couple’s daughter, 3-year-old Ever, is miles away in Toronto while they travel to promote their film, but she is obviously uppermost in the mind of the actress, whose stunning face takes on a dreamy quality as she describes how work now takes a backseat:
“The film is always there, but our main priority is our daughter. She comes on set, she’s doing all these gymnastics, cartwheels, she’s not even four. When we get home it’s baby time, mom and pop time has to go for now.”
And motherhood has also changed Jovovich, previously a scarily focused workhorse who successfully changed the perception of her from supermodel (in fact, in 2004 the world’s highest paid) who happened to act, to that of a versatile, physically unafraid actress. These days, other concerns come first:
“Since I had my daughter, I’m not so insecure about myself, because now I have real problems to deal with – her eating, if she’s had bad dreams, proper stuff. So next year, I would love to just do a guest spot on one of my favourite TV shows, something that keeps me in LA.
“My mother was an actress who gave up everything for us to defect to America, and put all her energy into me. I wouldn’t torture my daughter that way, because that was hard on me as a kid, but I want my daughter to be able to say ‘my mother was always there for me’ and instead of having to pull her into my world constantly, now it’s time for me to go into her world.”
The couple’s contentment is visible when they are together, even in the midst of this London junket maelstrom, and the exotic nature of their union obviously still tickles Anderson, who hails from Newcastle, Northern England, a place he enjoyed showing off to his Ukraine-born wife who grew up in America.
“Milla was overwhelmed by Greggs (the baker’s),” he grins. “She tried to spend a hundred and fifty dollars in there, and was really confused when they couldn’t take her credit card.”
Jovovich remembers the occasion equally fondly: “They didn’t know what had hit them.”
The Three Musketeers is in UK cinemas from today. Watch the trailer below...