Whether or not you enjoyed the first six efforts put forth by the Resident Evil film franchise, something none of us can deny is that it was essentially “The Milla Jovovich Show.” Undoubtedly helping the actress to become a household name since the first movie’s debut in 2002, each subsequent installment was centered on her original character of Alice, which remains a hot button issue amongst those who also happen to be fans of the video games to this day.
Funnily enough, things could’ve turned out much differently had Jovovich not stood her ground in the days leading up to shooting the first film. As it turns out, Michelle Rodriguez’s character, Rain, was set to play a bigger role upon her casting, something not unheard of in Hollywood when an actor whose popularity is booming boards a production.
In a recent interview with Inverse that doubled as a retrospective on the film franchise, Jovovich let slip that she was all but ready to bounce once she found out that her character had been downplayed:
“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.’”
What she had to say next touches on when history really changed course, thus beginning one of Hollywood’s greatest enduring cases of nepotism to be seen in our lifetime:
“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.”
From that point on, the series would morph into a vanity project, with major characters from the games making appearances in the movies only to look like little more than cosplayers taking a back seat to Jovovich. And despite the latest offering being dubbed The Final Chapter, it was left very open-ended, which may have had something to do with her being less than thrilled about the upcoming reboot.
That aside, hope remains for the future knowing that James Wan is on board for the next Resident Evil flick, even if it’s just as a producer. If all goes well, maybe we’ll truly enter the world of survival horror on the big screen before long.