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A special touch with zombies
Milla Jovovich stars in Resident Evil Retribution.

If zombies and love don't often go hand in hand then, for Milla Jovovich, that makes perfect sense. Starring in the fifth film of the Resident Evil franchise - all written and directed by her husband Paul WS Anderson, the movies serve as a backdrop to the couple's decade-long personal love story.

They met on the first Resident Evil in 2002 and became engaged while working on the second. The release of the third coincided with the birth of their daughter and by time they began work on the fourth they were legally man and wife.

Today reprising her role as Alice, the zombie slaying heroine, Jovovich sees her character as an old-fashioned kind of gal: "I think I relate to Alice the most in the sense that she keeps her promises," explains Jovovich.

"When she says she's going to do something she does it and I'm a very loyal person, especially now watching Game of Thrones and reading the books, I'm really into oaths," she says. "Alice is the kind of person that would swear an oath and she'd die before she would break it. I admire that because I feel like oaths mean nothing today."

You soon learn that honour and trust are topics which resonate deeply with the Ukrainian-born supermodel-turned actress.

Just 11 when she was discovered by fashion photographer Richard Avedon, she went on to grace the covers of more than 100 magazines and earned the title of highest-paid supermodel in the world.

But all that success didn't bring lasting friendships and the sheen of glamour soon wore off, leading her to a number of troubled years and two brief marriages. She sought other creative challenges, becoming a prolific songwriter, singer and fashion designer, as well as exploring film.

"I feel like movie stars don't have many friends at all. They have acquaintances," mulls Jovovich, now 36. "I really only have a few friends. Every time I'm going to do a get- together it's like, 'Oh, so who are you going to invite? Your mum and your dad and your three friends?' I'm like, 'Well, at least they love me and they're on my side'.

"My friends were the friends I knew when I was in school that I've grown up with. I'm very private. You want to keep some anonymity in your life and especially for me it's really important to have the public persona and to have my regular life.

"My regular life today is reading books, making dollhouses, sewing dolls with my daughter and barbecuing."

In her spare time she slays zombies while her husband directs her. Working with her husband, she says, is a joy.

"With Paul there's a lot more pros than cons because we make really fun movies together. It's stressful physically but emotionally we have a good time."

It's hard to play a shrinking violet when you stand at 1.75m. This is no doubt why Jovovich is naturally drawn to strong female characters such as Joan of Arc in The Messenger and a "perfect being" in The Fifth Element.

She's never viewed her Resident Evil character as an excuse for male audiences to watch a sexy woman fight.

"The thing I've always liked most about Resident Evil is the fact that Alice is a mother and, apart from the chaos and the violence, the story is about a woman trying to save a child, which everybody can relate to - especially women."

Resident Evil: Retribution 3-D opens on Thursday.