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Fall Sneaks | StarTurn: Milla Jovovich

She's funny, but you can take her seriously too -- really, she insists

September 07, 2003|Mark Olsen

Actress, model, musician and spokeswoman Milla Jovovich is catching many viewers off guard with her loose, rangy and uproariously funny turn in "Dummy," written and directed by Greg Pritikin.

As Fangora, the suburban misfit whose outsized ambitions lead her to turn her going-nowhere garage-rock band into a souped-up klezmer outfit just for the sake of one wedding gig, Jovovich demonstrates a flair for off-filter comedy and scruffy character work barely hinted at in such previous films as "The Messenger," "Zoolander," "The Claim" or "Resident Evil."

She says she envisioned the character as "a female Spicoli," invoking Sean Penn in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," while insisting the role is not that far afield from what she has previously done on screen, whether that jibes with people's perceptionsor not.

"Since I've been old enough to make decisions for myself, I've always been attracted to much more underground roles, character parts," says Jovovich, 28. "Since 'Return to the Blue Lagoon' I haven't wanted to play the romantic lead, because as a 13-year-old young starlet in the making I had such a horrible experience. It really traumatized me, and since then I've said, 'No way, I want to be a real actor.' "

Jovovich is taking the unexpected (and long-in-coming) critical support for her turn in "Dummy" in stride. "I'm not surprised that people are surprised," she says, "because that's like the story of my life. 'Oh, she can act?' Again! Amazing! Like my last movie always must be who I really am. 'Oh, my God, Joan of Arc, she's crazy, she can't do funny' becomes 'Oh, my God, she's funny, she can't do serious.'

"You watch, if 'Dummy' does any kind of business at all, I'm never going to get a chance to do a serious part again. I'll get nothing by manly-woman funny parts. I won't be the girl who's going to steal your boyfriend, I'll be everybody's best buddy."

-- Mark Olsen

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