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MILA KUNIS on 'THE BOOK OF ELI'

Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
August 23, 2009

Directed by twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, American Pimp), The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington as a solitary man who treks through a post-apocalyptic world, guarding a book that contains the possible key to humanity's salvation. The atmospheric action thriller also features Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, and Malcolm McDowell.

While promoting her comedy Extract, Mila took a moment to preview The Book of Eli. In this interview excerpt, she talks about her role, some of the action sequences, and the directing duo at the helm.

The Book of Eli is slated for release on January 15, 2010, while Extract is in theaters now.

MEDIA: Do you get to be all bad ass in The Book of Eli?

MILA: I do. My character in that is pretty awesome, I have to say. She starts off very young, very naive, very sheltered, but also very hungry to learn about life, and gets inspired by Denzel Washington's character and goes on this journey with him. And throughout the film--it takes place in maybe four or five days--she grows up so fast and so quickly, and almost becomes a woman and takes over. And she was a beautiful, beautiful woman to play.

How does she compare to the hitwoman you played in Max Payne?

It's different. Like I think in Max Payne, she was very much "just that"--like she was an assassin, and you see what you get. And in Book of Eli, it's a very real character that has to fight to survive in this specific type of world, and learns how to survive, versus just being placed in front of you as like this one person. You get to see her grow. It was a great, great, great, great part.

What kind of cool action do you get to perform?

I don't even know what I can say! I get to flip a car. I get to throw a grenade into a convoy of cars and explode them. And then I get to do other fun things that I can't talk about.

Some of the action has already been revealed in the trailer...

Yeah, but the trailers are so small in comparison to how cool the movie is. I gotta tell you, the movie is really, really cool.



How was your experience of working with the Hughes brothers?

They're great. I love the Hughes brothers. Menace II Society and American Pimp and all these films I grew up watching...How do I explaining these brothers? They both work together. They're very much like one brain, but one completes the other. One is incredibly technical--you know, while shooting, sees how the edit's going to go and sees the whole, entire film in his head--and one is more about the emotion of the scene and more about the purpose of things. But ultimately, they discuss things amongst each other right after a take, and then they send one off. You never really get two at the same time to talk to you about notes. They converse, and then one gets sent off, and which one you get is like a surprise. It's fun. They're great working together. They're both incredibly smart--I mean, really, really talented guys. And they have an amazing vision, and they kind of fill each other's gaps.

Going back to the subject of an environment spurring personal growth: Do you think working as a young actress made you grow up more quickly? How did this business impact your teen years?

I think I got always very lucky with my family. Acting was never something my parents wanted me to do, so it wasn't something they pushed me to do. I was only allowed to keep doing it if I got straight As in school, and stayed in school, and did all that stuff. So this was my afterschool activity. It taught me responsibility early on, I'll say that. And I think it made me be more responsible--I never did stupid things because I always knew that there was something else I had to do that was more important. And you know, my friends are still my friends from when I was 10 years old. I went to public high school, I went to public junior high--as often as I could, but I went.

You attended Fairfax High, right?

Fairfax, home of the Roaring Lions! I did. I graduated on stage, for my parents. Just for my parents. I mean, if it was up to me, I don't know if I would have actually walked down the stage. I probably wouldn't have. But it made my mom and dad incredibly happy, so I did it. But yeah, I don't think I lost out on anything at all. I did dumb things. Like I did everything that a dumb 14-year-old does, it's just the next day, I had to wake up early and go to work. That was really the only difference.


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