This January, one of the biggest and most beloved Hollywood action franchises—and one of the biggest and most beloved action franchises with a woman in the lead role—comes to an end. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, starring the kick-ass, tough-as-nails Milla Jovovich, brings the story of the zombie-fighting, postapocalyptic, anticorporate heroine Alice to its explosive end in the sixth installment of the video-game-based juggernaut. One can only imagine that gamers, sci-fi horror buffs, and all mortals susceptible to Jovovich’s intensity and beauty (98.7 percent of the world population by most counts) will be mourning the loss of a billion-dollar film series that began in the no-less-innocent year of 2002. But even ends have beginnings. And one of the surprising new stars of the Resident Evil family is a now 9-year-old American actress making her first appearance on the big screen. This ingénue happens to be the daughter of Jovovich and Resident Evil‘s premiere director, Paul W.S. Anderson (Jovovich and Anderson married in 2009), and her name is Ever Anderson. In The Final Chapter, Ever brings to life two contradictory roles, playing Alice as a child and the nefarious Umbrella Corporation’s human-killing hologram AI that’s out to hunt Alice down, the Red Queen (there are the perfect ingredients for a Greek tragedy in this dual role).
Ever was born five years after the first Resident Evil hit screens, but certainly working with her parents on set in South Africa for The Final Chapter must have felt like home. For anyone who has ever met Jovovich and Anderson, there was no chance their children were going to be raised in any other way than with structure, love, and encouragement—and, of course, being half Jovovich, she’s fluent in three languages and a practitioner of tae kwon do, and being half Anderson, she spends hours creating vivid fantasy worlds for her dolls. This past July, the master designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld shot Ever and her mother in Paris. In October, the French musician and actress Soko talked to Ever about her dreams, her favorite superpowers, and playing the Red Queen.
EVER ANDERSON: Bonjour!
SOKO: Let’s switch to English. I’m really proud of you for your role in Resident Evil. Your mom sent me a little clip yesterday, and I could see how amazing you are in it. I know you’ve been wanting to be an actress since you were a little kid. Me, too. I was basically born thinking, “I want to be a storyteller.” When did you realize you wanted to be an actress?
ANDERSON: I was super young, like 4. I loved the shows I Love Lucy and Jessie, and I knew I wanted to be funny like those actresses. When I was 5, I told my mom that acting was my passion and asked her if I could audition to be on TV. She told me I had to learn to read first. Then when I was 7, I was reading really well so I asked my mom again. She said I had to take acting classes first to see if it was really right for me. I started at the Playground and loved it.
SOKO: What’s your favorite thing about acting class?
ANDERSON: I really enjoy doing improv. It’s like when you get these little cards with action or dialogue and you have to act it out right away.
SOKO: Oh, that’s fun. I know that you had to learn so many lines for this film. Your mom told me that you’re the person with the most lines, and they’re really complicated. You had to say all of these crazy words that aren’t in our languages. Was that a lot of work?
ANDERSON: It was, but I had a lot of fun, too! I got to copy my dad’s British accent in the film. My character is, like, two different roles in one. There’s me as a normal little girl who gets sick. For that, I got to wear really pale makeup, and we shot it in a fake hospital room. Then I’m this hologram girl in a red dress. That’s the Red Queen.
SOKO: Did you do anything special to get into character?
ANDERSON: Normally, I like to joke around and play and stuff, so I had to make myself get super still to play the Red Queen. I would breathe very slowly and just imagine I was an adult.
SOKO: I heard that you had to cry in the film. Are there any tricks that you used to make yourself cry?
ANDERSON: There is one scene where I had to cry—someone dies but I can’t tell you because it’s a spoiler. For crying, I listen to the rain and then I imagine somebody alone. The rain kind of helped get water in my eyes, and than I just started to cry. There are other tricks, but I have to keep those secret.
SOKO: Aw, okay. Maybe I’ll come to you for a special master class on acting when I need to cry in a movie. So who taught you those tricks?
ANDERSON: I made them up.
SOKO: What was your favorite scene to work on in the film?
ANDERSON: I have two favorites. One is where I’m sitting—or hovering—over this couch because, of course, a hologram can’t sit. I got to act with one of the bad guys in the movie, and every time he talks to me I disappear and reappear in different places, so I had to move to a different place every time we filmed it. My other favorite scene was with my mom, where she got this really old makeup put on her face, and she was acting like a 90-year-old woman. I couldn’t believe it when she came to set. I was like, “Woah, that’s crazy!”
SOKO: What was the set like?
ANDERSON: It was super fun! My favorite part was getting up real early while it was still dark and driving to set with my mom and dad. When we got there, we would have breakfast together with the other actors and crew. They had this giant grill where there was only bacon! It was cool to see this enormous pile of bacon for, like, a hundred people. I made a huge plate for me and my dad because we both love bacon. Some of my scenes were filmed in front of a green screen so they can put special effects in after. But we also filmed at the house where we were staying in South Africa, which was cool because I got to stay home to work. The set was so cool. It had a lake around it, and one guy didn’t see it because it looked really smooth, like the floor, and he walked in by mistake. It was so funny.
SOKO: Now I have more playful questions. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was be an adult. I wonder if you like being a kid, or if you are also impatient to be an adult.
ANDERSON: It’s both. I mean, I don’t know how I will be when I grow up. I plan to start off in an apartment. It’s really fun thinking about that.
SOKO: Yeah. When I was 10, I thought I was grown-up and could live on my own. I left at 15, which was still pretty young. Now I see 15-year-olds and think, “They’re so young.”
ANDERSON: I pretty much want to move out at 18 or 19. Probably 18 because I feel like that’s a reasonable age.
SOKO: What is your biggest dream other than being an actress? Like, do you want to live in New York or have a family or become a doctor?
ANDERSON: I want to have a family. Of course, I already have a family, but you know what I mean.
SOKO: How many languages do you speak? We started the interview in French, and I love speaking French with you, but you speak other languages, too.
ANDERSON: I also speak Russian. And, of course, English.
SOKO: You already speak three languages at your age. That’s amazing! What’s your favorite subject in school?
ANDERSON: Art or sports. In art class, we started doing these medieval first letters of our names. Mine is E, so I did E with a bunch of wire. It looks really mechanical. It was not considered medieval.
SOKO: What about your favorite foods?
ANDERSON: My favorite food is plain cheeseburgers with french fries, but I also love Japanese udon noodles. Also pizza. My mom makes me soba noodles with miso soup that’s super yummy. My favorite dessert is ice cream, but I also like Jolly Ranchers.
SOKO: Your mom is a great cook. Now, the last time I saw you, we had a great time in Malibu. You were telling me about your imaginary friend. How many imaginary friends do you have? Do you have a favorite?
ANDERSON: My favorite friend that I made up is Emily. I made her up when I was probably 5 or 6. I’m not that into it now, but then I totally loved it. I haven’t had much time to hang out with Emily. I think she’s on a trip somewhere in Florida, but she’s coming back today.
SOKO: Yay! Welcome back Emily. Your mom told me that you want to start your own YouTube channel. What is it going to be?
ANDERSON: I actually have started it. I started with animation, but I’m thinking of doing gaming if I can get the right equipment. I want to try to film a good-quality gaming video because I don’t have that many subscribers. So I want to make something very interesting so that people will look it up. I’ve actually been thinking with my friend, maybe we could do a toxic challenge. It’s where we have to try something called toxic waste candy.
SOKO: You’re probably going to turn radioactive if you do that. You play a lot of video games. What’s your favorite?
ANDERSON: I really like Minecraft and Roblox.
SOKO: You might still be too young because some parts are violent, but do you ever want to play Resident Evil?
ANDERSON: I never actually thought of playing Resident Evil, but I’ve thought of making my own video game.
SOKO: Do you have a favorite of either of your parents’ films? Your mom has acted in a lot of films and your dad has directed a lot of films.
ANDERSON: I can’t remember seeing any of my dad’s films, but of my mom’s films, I really like The Fifth Element .
SOKO: She’s so good in it. What kind of films would you like to be in when you’re older?
ANDERSON: I really like comedy. I think that I do comedy very well. But I also think that I can do drama. I’m up to the challenge of doing any of it.
SOKO: There’s a film that I think you would like. It’s called Ponette , and it’s about a little girl who loses her mom. It’s in French so that would be good for you to practice your French. But she is the most incredible little actress I’ve ever seen. She makes me cry so much. I’ll share it with your mom. It’s by a French director called Jacques Doillon. Now, here are some more questions. Ready? What is happiness for you?
ANDERSON: Happiness for me is being with my family and playing with my little sister.
SOKO: What is love for you?
ANDERSON: What do you mean?
SOKO: Well, in general. It’s a big word—love. What do you think love is? Do you have anything to say about love?
ANDERSON: Love can mean many different things. It can be good and it also can hurt.
SOKO: That’s true. And what’s most important is to love yourself. Do you believe in aliens?
ANDERSON: Definitely! If you can find planets, you can definitely find aliens.
SOKO: If you found an alien, would you try to fight them or try to befriend them?
ANDERSON: I would be friends with them and learn their language.
SOKO: [laughs] Good girl. What is your favorite movie ever made?
ANDERSON: I have a couple. I really like the Harry Potter movies. I’m on the seventh one [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, 2010]. But I also really like Star Wars. My friend actually introduced me to Harry Potter because I was always so scared of it.
SOKO: Yeah, it’s a bit scary. Especially the last one. What’s your favorite music?
ANDERSON: Right now I really like “Gold” by Kiiara, but my favorite singer is Stevie Nicks.
SOKO: Do you have a song you sing in the shower or the bath?
ANDERSON: I don’t sing in the shower or the bath.
SOKO: You don’t? I sing all the time, but I also sing in the streets in front of people. Do you know this band Radiohead?
SOKO: They’re really good. I put them really loud in my headphones, and I, like, sing and dance in the streets. I don’t care if people are looking or not. If they’re judging, I’m like, “What’s so bad about your day that you can’t sing and dance in the streets?”
ANDERSON: I think you should send me a song that you like.
SOKO: I would love to send you music. Okay, what’s next for you, Ever?
ANDERSON: In December we’re going on the press tour to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and then Russia. I am very excited.
SOKO: Are you nervous that your friends are going to see you act?
ANDERSON: Sometimes I’m nervous; sometimes I’m not.
SOKO: Do you have any other acting projects coming up?
ANDERSON: I’m still looking. I was going to get into something but it didn’t work out, so I’m looking for something I can do over bits of my break.
SOKO: What are you going to ask Santa to bring you for Christmas?
ANDERSON: I’m probably going to get a Nintendo. Would you like to know what I wrote down on my birthday list?
ANDERSON: Because my mom thinks that I’m at a reasonable age, because I’m turning 9 in 19 days, we think that I’m ready to get an iPhone. So I’m going to get an iPhone 6. Then I’ve written down “Hatchimals.” It’s like a toy animal that you have to hatch yourself. And also a Gel-a-Peel design station where you can make your own phone case with gel. I also asked for a pink clear case for my phone because pink is my favorite color.
SOKO: Okay, my last question is, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?
ANDERSON: Can I choose two?
SOKO: Of course.
ANDERSON: Teleportation would be my number one favorite, and then my second favorite would be telekinesis.
SOKO: What would be the first thing that you move around?
ANDERSON: Maybe my pencil, or maybe I could even pick my teacher up with my powers.
SOKO: That’s cute. All right, anything else that you want to tell me?
ANDERSON: I would like to hear you sing, and then if you want, I can sing as well.
SOKO: Well, I’m in the studio right now, and I’m working on this song that’s called “Bitter End,” and some of the lyrics are, “All the rules that you’re making up for fun / Every great story has a bitter end to it.” That’s it. That’s kind of all I can sing right now.
ANDERSON: Is there a favorite song that you can sing?
SOKO: You’re making me shy. I never do that. I usually hide behind my hair and my Instagram, and I hope my superpower can be that people can just hear me but not see me. My voice is hidden behind my guitar, my bass, or my drums.
ANDERSON: I’m shy too, but you should never be shy. If you’re singing, people want to see your face.
SOKO: I know. I just get shy. Are you going to sing me a song?
ANDERSON: There’s a song I’ve been working on. It’s one that I came up with in third grade.
SOKO: Cute. Let’s hear it. [Anderson begins to sing]
SOKO IS A FRENCH SINGER, SONGWRITER, AND ACTRESS. SHE IS AT WORK ON A THIRD ALBUM.
- Sway House Demands Your Attention, for Better or Worse
- Dylan Sprouse Returns to the Hotel Suite—This Time, in a Pink Dress
- “Cock!”: Nicolas Cage and Marilyn Manson in Conversation
- Chelsea Handler and Martha Stewart on the Hilarious Journey of Becoming a Better Person
- A Conversation Between Senator Anne Ranch and Demi Lovato (and Danny DeVito)