Box office stalwart Resident Evil (arguably the only respectable video game movie franchise) could have ended a long time ago. That's because in a new RE retrospective, Milla Jovovich says she almost quit the franchise — which has been going strong for 15 years now — after Michelle Rodriguez was cast.
"I almost quit the movie," Jovovich said in an interview. "I was shooting something else, and [director] Paul [W.S. Anderson] 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. She got all of my big action scenes and she became like Alice. And then Alice became this tag-along."
This was back in 2002, before the debut Resident Evil film was even set to film (Rodriguez returned to the series in 2012, with Resident Evil: Retribution). After reading the revised script, Jovovich says that she demanded to speak with Anderson about how the dynamics had shifted. And while she admits that the reveal makes her seem demanding, Jovovich insists that she was just sticking to her guns. She signed on as the lead and wasn't going to have that role taken away.
"I ended up reading the script on the plane, so by the time I landed in Berlin I was livid," Jovovich continued. "I got to the hotel and said, 'We have to have a big talk, or I’m going to be on a flight tomorrow morning.'"
The casting news doesn't just offer up details about Resident Evil's production, it also shines a new light on Jovovich and Anderson's own relationship. She notes that the two went through the script page by page over a three-hour period. Jovovich adds that it was the initial conflict that brought them together (she and Anderson started dating during filming and married in 2009).
After six films, the Resident Evil series has come to a close, but Jovovich's behind-the-scenes banter shows that it could have been a very different franchise.