Milla Jovovich on violence in films: ‘parents need to take more responsibility’

Ukranian model and actress Milla Jovovich, 33, plays the lead in the uber-violent Resident Evil films, based on the video game of the same name. She’s currently promoting the alien abduction movie The Fourth Kind, out November 6. Jovovich spoke with Parade Magazine about being a mom to her daughter Ever, 2, with her husband, director Paul W. S. Anderson, and parental responsibility when it comes to violence in movies. I’m not that familiar with Milla, but ever since I read her funny explanation of how she gained a lot of weight during her pregnancy (which of course she lost pretty quickly), I’ve had a high opinion of her. She seems very funny and down to earth.

Now she’s feeling good as a mom.
“Before you have kids, you create so many problems that are centered in yourself. You’re thinking, Am I ready for this audition? Am I good enough? Now that I have a kid, it’s not such a big deal. Even if I don’t get the job, I know I’m going to be really busy at home. Being a mother to my daughter, Ever, is a full-time job. Now it’s all about my baby, her growing up well and getting everything she needs. Everything else is just a plus.”

Her message to parents.
“You’ve got to know your kids like the back of your hand and make sure they’re honest with you and not scared to tell you things. I know when Ever goes to school I’ll be letting my little bird go, but I just want to make sure she tells me everything that happened, good or bad.”

Take charge of what your children watch.
“I think parents need to take a lot more responsibility than they do about whether it’s OK for their children to go to Resident Evil or any other movie with violence or sex or whatever. It’s really easy to blame Hollywood for violence having an effect on kids, but movies would have no power if parents would just set their own standards. And it’s the same with video games.”

The video game that jump-started her career.
“Me and my brother Marco would play Resident Evil together and I said to him, ‘This is the perfect vehicle for me.’ I mean, Alice wears a tube top and a mini-skirt and she’s killing zombies. So when I first auditioned, I said to Paul [director Paul W. S. Anderson, her husband ] ‘If I don’t get this part my brother is going to kill me because he sees a huge boost in his popularity at school if I play her.'”

[From Parade]

That’s cute that she calls her daughter her “little bird,” and I agree that once you have kids you don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. There’s too much going on in your life. My son is five so I haven’t really had to deal with extremely violent movies, but I have had to make sure that he’s not playing video games on the computer that include shooting or violence. (It’s not as bad as it sounds. Some older kids from his camp introduced him to and they have a ton of games, some of which are not appropriate for little kids, but he has his favorites and they’re ok for kids. It’s not like he’s seen first person shoot ’em ups. He also loves For those of you with tweens and teenagers – how do make sure they’re not seeing violence on tv or film? How do you deal with limiting access to violent video games? Some of the stuff that’s out there now is pretty horrifying.

Milla Jovovich is shown with her husband and daughter out in NY on 9/5/09 and 9/7/09. Credit: She’s also shown playing with Ever at a park in Beverly Hills on 8/11/09. Credit: Fame

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20 Responses to “Milla Jovovich on violence in films: ‘parents need to take more responsibility’”

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  1. Lantana says:

    I raised two girls, and the influence that bothered me was MTV and its depiction of women as sluts. When my girls were still in school, I had a “no TV” rule from 5 pm Sun to 5 pm Fri, which meant they had only 48 hours a week when TV was accessible. Then I blocked MTV (and some movie channels). Did they see stuff at friend’s houses? I am sure. Did they sometimes “sneak” TV during the week? I’m sure (although I only had 1 TV in the house so it was difficult.) My daughter, now in her mid-20’s, told me recently that the “best” thing I ever did for her was turn her “off” of TV and particularly blocking MTV. A moral value was passed on that her “family thought it portrayed immorality”, so even when she did see it other places, in the back of her mind, she’d think “not my values”. I don’t think a parent can ever really 100% prevent their kids from exposure to xyz (whatever), but you can pass the values to them that you want to provide as a parent. Unfortunately, for the effort, my kids weren’t half as good as I hoped and were probably twice as ill-behaved as I realize, but maybe it would have been worse.

  2. Ally says:

    Wanting your kids to tell you everything, and attempting to control their access to culture (pop and otherwise) speaks to your own insecurities, not their needs. If you are living the values you profess, your kids will hold on to them as they process all that they are exposed to.

    It’s usually those who yell the loudest about sinnin’ that are the biggest sinners. Those who are living a decent life and are at peace with themselves don’t need to barricade their and their kids’ minds and lives from the world, or moralize to all and sundry. Isn’t the whole point of parenting to prepare them to cope with the world, not isolate them from it to minimize your own anxieties?

  3. cara says:

    I think you just need to be honest with your kids. So many parents all of a sudden become saints once they have children and I’ve found that you need to let them know of your mistakes. It helps.

    As for Milla, she was once with my beloved, it’s all I can think of and only feel jealousy towards her when I see her pic. I seethe with jealousy!

  4. SolitaryAngel says:

    “Isn’t the whole point of parenting to prepare them to cope with the world, not isolate them from it to minimize your own anxieties?”

    @ Ally: Excellent point! I raised my son alone (not that I wanted to, it just worked out that way), and when he wanted to grow out his hair at 14 I said sure. He already had an earring at 10 (the incentive was keeping all A’s for that school year) and my mother could never understand why I let him do these things. She said that the other kids would make fun of him. My point was, if I never let him make small choices and learn to live with the consequences, then HOW will he ever be prepared to make the big ones?

    I love that he’s 20 and we’re still close; I love that he still feels he can talk to me about anything–he told me when he lost his virginity; I asked if he was okay mentally with it, and he said he was. Milla’s right. You don’t have to imprison your child to raise him/her.

  5. Sumodo1 says:

    Milla is synonimous with “Resident Evil.” Pot-kettle-black.

  6. Eileen Yover says:

    I think Milla is saying there’s nothing wrong with violent games and movies as long as we the parents do our jobs and not allow them to see them. Regardless, if a kid is well adjusted and been taught right from wrong, if he does sneak peek a scary movie or play a video game…its doubtful he or she till turn into a gun-toting vigilante or criminal. I snuck into my living room at age 5 and watched The Exorcist and was tramatized for a month! I seem pretty well rounded today…though I still LOVE scary movies and being scared! Watching Drag Me to Hell as I type this.
    And BTW-Milla is gorgeous. Beautiful. This picture up top she has no make-up and still stunning.

  7. Alex says:

    Love Milla! (Fifth Element is still my fav) She’s bang-on. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to too many violent films or video games or online material when they’re too young to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. An occasional peek won’t do much harm though.

    We’ve found some great sites for my nieces and nephews to play on ( for one) for fun, non-violent games and they can still develop their computing skills. They can watch all the gore they want when they’re old enough to understand it – all of them are under 8 so I say give ’em a few less nightmares for now

  8. lucy2 says:

    It would be nice if movies and video games didn’t rely so much on heavy violence, but unfortunately that’s what sells, so that’s what they keep making. I think it’s then up to the parents to not buy the stuff, not allow their kids to see it, or limit the amount of that sort of stuff they’re exposed to as needed. I think it also depends on the kids – some kids can see that stuff and understand it’s just a game or a movie and you can’t really do that, and some kids can’t. I think parents need to know how their kids react to it and how much is appropriate for them.
    What’s really bothersome is when parents drag young kids to very inappropriate movies because the parents want to see it and don’t want to hire a babysitter or wait for the DVD, or don’t think twice that hey, maybe my four year old shouldn’t watch people being murdered or terrorized for 2 hours.

  9. girl says:

    She is absolutely right about some parents needing to be more vigilant about what their children watch. When I went to go see Bruno, there was a woman there with 2 kids who were no older than 10. I shit you not.

    Unfortunately there are many parents who do not seem to care or maybe figure that since it is out there and accessible, it is probably ok. My mother is raising my autistic nephew who loves anime. She seems to think that since it is cartoony, it is fine. Umm, no.

    I have teenagers. I don’t claim to know all the answers but what MJ says has been true in our case so far, as far as I know. I do not claim that my daughters tell me absolutely everything but they tell me the very important things. And I let them make decisions now, with guidance, so they know how to make them in the future when they will not have guidance. They should no longer need it later if they have a solid basis of values to come from.

    And of course many kids at a certain point rebel against their parents values. I think it is much more critical to develop in them analytical skills so that they can make mature decisions about their life. And to instill in them that decision they make today can very heavily influence their lives later on.

    It isn’t an easy job and no parent is perfect but they need to at least try and not let other people or organizations do all their thinking for them.

  10. princess pea says:

    Sumodo1, I think that her work in Resident Evil is part of why she’s commenting on it at all. She is at no point saying that violence in films and games is bad, and I agree. As an adult, if I want to watch an action film or a horror… well, there’d better be some action or horror. She’s just saying that the responsibility for a kid’s values and development lies with the parents. She’s right. (Remember how the Columbine school shooting is Marylin Manson’s fault???)

  11. filthy cute says:

    Well-said, Ally.

    My mom raised me and my brother alone. She allowed us to watch, read, and listen to whatever we happened to gravitate to — and we are both intelligent, productive, and compassionate people. Like she is. Not to sound braggy, ’cause I’m sure most if not all of you are fabulous too 🙂


  12. Samantha says:

    In my head she will ALWAYS be “Leelu Dallas multi-pass.”

  13. manda says:

    @ samantha — hahahaha! such a funny reference!

    and celebitchy, i agree with you, she seems cool. she was recently a guest model on project runway, and was really nice. even to christopher, and his design was a huge dud

  14. Well... says:

    I’m not sure why you need to mention her background, considering she’s lived in the US for most of her life.

    If you’re going to do it, however, you might as well be accurate. She is a Serbo-Ukranian actress-model…

  15. Nik says:

    @ girl – It depends on the anime. There are a lot of perfectly fine, non-violent and non-sexual anime out there. A lot of it is what you see during “kid’s hours” on TV. It’s the stuff on tv later in the evening that’s not kid-friendly. And of course there’s lots available outside of what is seen on TV too, but it usually hasn’t been cleaned out or toned down the way the stuff that makes it onto “kid’s tv” has.

  16. Cat says:

    Isn’t this kind of hypocritical? Her brother was around 14 when he was begging her to be in Resident Evil, why weren’t their parents or her monitoring his violent movie/video game watching?

    To me it’s like offering kids candy, and then beating up on parents when the kid takes it. I dont think it’s quite fair of her to make violence so sexy and alluring and then say it’s the parents’ fault when kids watch it. The target audience is mostly teenagers!

    Sorry, I’m probably reading way too far into this, but it still kind of makes me mad.

  17. lisa says:

    I agree with some of what she says. I volunteer working with kids 5-8.. and you would be shocked at the movies they go to see. And then their parents take the high moral ground.(yeah right…hypocrites.

    I like her and would love for her to make a kick-ass movie with Angelina.. Maybe aliens invade enslaving the male population at the same time and they have to work and kill them all while rescuing all the men.. Swoooning..

    Then they both ride off on motor bikes..
    (can you see it… I can.)

    She and Angie are the only women I believe when they are holding a gun. Don’t need to be protected.. and be the hero and you trust them.. LOVE IT and love them both..

    clapping loudly

  18. Luz says:

    Milla is amazing! She’s a singer with a beautiful voice, an actress, a model and she’s fun and smart to boot – wow!!!

  19. Lucinda says:

    I agree that parents have a responsibility to limit exposure to violence in movies and other media. My husband and I are very vigilant about that.

    BUT…Hollywood does have a responsibility too in their marketing. We went to a PG rated movie (my kids were 6 & 7) and the previews scared my kids. The movie was fine but the previews were loud and violent. That was disappointing. Not all PG movies are ok for my kids, but this one was and honestly there are very few G rated movies out there these days. And this is only one example of inappropriate marketing. Don’t get me started on commercials shown on tv and when they are shown.

    So I agree with her to a point.

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