Tokyo was host to three movie stars earlier this month – all in the same week, which is unusual. Milla Jovovich, Kiefer Sutherland and Hugh Jackman were out and about, giving fans some fun moments.
Jovovich, 36, got the biggest reception when she and her film director husband Paul W. S. Anderson attended the Japan premiere for their latest horror film “Resident Evil: Retribution,” the 5th in the series. They were amused when they were joined on stage by Japanese comedians Miyuki Torii and Yoshio Kojima, dressed like flesh-eating zombies.
Jovovich has been battling the flesh-eating zombies for the past 10 years in the “Resident Evil” movies (titled “Biohazard” for Japan). “The zombies are almost part of the family now,” she joked. “The character has become a big part of my life.”
“Resident Evil” debuted as a game for Sony’s PlayStation in 1996. Since then, it has become a media franchise, consisting of a video and PC game series, comic books, novellas, action figures and, of course, five films – “Resident Evil” (2002), “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” (2004), “Resident Evil: Extinction” in 2007, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in 2010, and now “Retribution,” which open sin Japan this weekend.
The films deal with the desperate struggle of a small band of humans to battle a mutant virus accidentally unleashed by the sinister Umbrella Corp that threatens to turn the whole world into flesh-eating zombies. Jovovich plays Alice, a former Umbrella security agent and one of the few survivors of the virus outbreak. As the virus threatens to make every human being undead, Alice must kick zombie butt and elude Umbrella goons in her quest for justice and salvation. The last film was particularly amusing for Tokyoites since it had hordes of zombies overrunning Shibuya crossing (no salaryman jokes, please).
Born in Kiev, Jovovich moved to California with her family when she was five. She did some modeling as a child for Revlon and tried her hand at professional singing before making her film debut in “Return to the Blue Lagoon” (1991). She joined the ranks of action heroes in 1997 with “The Fifth Element,” and then followed that with “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” (1999) and “Zoolander” (2001), before starting the “Resident Evil” series, all four of which have been produced by her husband. “These movies are so much fun. We’re all like big kids at an amusement park with monsters and explosions.”
“I love Japan,” Jovovich told fans. “I’ve been coming here since I was a child and bringing this movie here feels like I am coming home. I think we have raised the bar with this film and we really put our heart and soul into it.”
Leaving Jack Bauer behind
Meanwhile, Sutherland, 46, said he also felt at home during his visit to Japan where he has an enormous following after his eight years as counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer in the TV series “24.” “Japanese fans have been great in their support for me ever since I began ‘24.’ In fact, I get called Jack Bauer more than my own name,” he admitted.
However, Sutherland has put Bauer aside for awhile to concentrate on his new TV series “Touch,” which begins airing on WOWOW on Oct 5. Blending science, spirituality and emotion, the series follows seemingly unrelated people all over the world whose lives affect each other in ways seen and unseen, known and unknown. Sutherland plays a widower and single father, haunted by an inability to connect to his emotionally challenged 11-year-old son who has the ability to predict events before they happen through his fixation with numbers.
Sutherland attended a talk show event for about 240 fans in Tokyo and said that he hadn’t planned to do another TV series so soon after finishing “24.” “But every so often, you get a script that you can’t say no to. It is a father and son story that really struck a chord with me. Plus, my character is very different from Jack Bauer.”
Return of the mutant
There are no such differences for Australian actor Jackman, 43, as he reprises his role of Logan, the mutant and future X-Man, in “The Wolverine.” The story sees Logan going to Japan train with a samurai warrior. While there, he begins a forbidden romance and must face a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle.
“The Wolverine” was supposed to be filmed in Japan last year, but the March 11 disaster and the August typhoons forced the plan to be abandoned. Then Jackman went off to Europe to film “Les Miserables.” Production finally got under way a few months ago in Australia.
A few lucky visitors to Tokyo’s Zozoji Temple caught a glimpse of the cast and crew filming a funeral scene on a tightly restricted set. Afterwards, Jackman went for his first ride on Tokyo’s subway and tweeted about it. Then production moved to Hiroshima. “The Wolverine” is set for a July 2013 release.© Japan Today