- Category : Actress
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (1,20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 3
Milena Markovna Kunis, professionally known as Mila Kunis; born August 14, 1983), is an American actress.
In 1991, at the age of seven, she moved from Ukraine to Los Angeles with her family. After being enrolled in acting classes as an after-school activity, she was soon discovered by an agent. She appeared in several television series and commercials, before acquiring her first significant role prior to her 15th birthday, playing Jackie Burkhart on the television series That '70s Show. A year later, she was cast as the voice of Meg Griffin on the animated series Family Guy.
Her breakout film role came in 2008, playing Rachel Jansen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Subsequent film roles included Mona Sax in Max Payne, Solara in The Book of Eli, Jamie in Friends with Benefits, and Lori in Ted. Her performance as Lily in Black Swan gained her worldwide accolades, including receiving the Premio Marcello Mastroianni for Best Young Actor or Actress at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
At the age of 18, she began a relationship with actor Macaulay Culkin that lasted eight years.
Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). Her mother, Elvira, is a physics teacher who runs a pharmacy, and her father, Mark Kunis, is a mechanical engineer who works as a cab driver. Kunis has a brother, Michael, who is six years older. She stated in 2011 that her parents had "amazing jobs", and that the family was "very lucky" and "not poor"; they had decided to leave the USSR because they saw "no future" there for Kunis and her brother. In 1991, when she was seven years old, her family moved to Los Angeles, California with $250. “That was all we were allowed to take with us. My parents had given up good jobs and degrees, which were not transferable. We arrived in New York on a Wednesday and by Friday morning my brother and I were at school in LA.”
Kunis is Jewish and has cited antisemitism in the former Soviet Union as one of several reasons for her family's move to the United States. She has stated that her parents "raised her Jewish as much as they could," although religion was suppressed in the Soviet Union.
On her second day in Los Angeles, Kunis was enrolled at Rosewood Elementary School, not knowing a word of English. She later recalled: "I blocked out second grade completely. I have no recollection of it. I always talk to my mom and my grandma about it. It was because I cried every day. I didn't understand the culture. I didn't understand the people. I didn't understand the language. My first sentence of my essay to get into college was like, 'Imagine being blind and deaf at age seven.' And that's kind of what it felt like moving to the States."
In Los Angeles, she attended Hubert Howe Bancroft Middle School. She used an on-set tutor for most of her high school years while filming That '70s Show. When not on the set, she attended Fairfax High School, from which she graduated in 2001. She briefly attended UCLA and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
At age nine, Kunis was enrolled by her father in acting classes after school at the Beverly Hills Studios, where she met Susan Curtis, who would become her manager. On her first audition she landed the role for a Barbie commercial. Shortly after, she did a commercial for the Lisa Frank product line. Her first television roles took place in 1994, first appearing on Days of Our Lives, and a few months later doing her first of two appearances on Baywatch. She had a minor role on 7th Heaven and supporting roles in Santa with Muscles, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, and the Angelina Jolie film Gia, as the young Gia Carangi.
At the age of 10, Kunis auditioned for but failed to get the role of a Russian-Jewish girl who moves to America in the film Make a Wish, Molly. Instead, she was cast in the secondary role of a Mexican girl.
In 1998, Kunis was cast as Jackie Burkhart in the Fox sitcom That '70s Show. All who auditioned were required to be at least 18 years old; Kunis, who was 14 at the time, told the casting directors she would be 18 but did not say when. Though they eventually figured it out, the producers still thought Kunis was the best fit for the role. That '70s Show ran for eight seasons. She won two consecutive Young Star Awards as Best Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series in 1999 and 2000 for her performances.
In 1999, Kunis replaced Lacey Chabert in the role of Meg Griffin on the animated sitcom Family Guy, created by Seth MacFarlane for Fox. Kunis won the role after auditions and a slight rewrite of the character, in part due to her performance on That '70s Show. MacFarlane called Kunis back after her first audition, instructing her to speak slower, and then told her to come back another time and enunciate more. Upon claiming that she had mastered these speech particulars, MacFarlane hired her. MacFarlane added: "What Mila Kunis brought to it was in a lot of ways, I thought, almost more right for the character. I say that Lacey did a phenomenal job, but there was something about Mila – something very natural about Mila. She was 15 when she started, so you were listening to a 15-year-old. Often times with animation they'll have adult actors doing the voices of teenagers and they always sound like Saturday morning voices. They sound often times very forced. She had a very natural quality to Meg that really made what we did with that character kind of really work." Kunis was nominated for an Annie Award in the category of Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production in 2007. She also voiced Meg in the Family Guy Video Game!. Kunis described her character as "the scapegoat."
Film work, 2001–2008
In 2001, she appeared in Get Over It opposite Kirsten Dunst. She followed that up in 2002, by starring in the straight-to-DVD horror film American Psycho 2 alongside William Shatner, a stand alone sequel to the 2000 film American Psycho. American Psycho 2 was panned by critics, and later, Kunis herself expressed embarrassment over the film. In 2004, Kunis starred in the film adaptation Tony n' Tina's Wedding. Although the film was shot in 2004, it did not have a theatrical release until 2007. Most critics did not like the film, which mustered a 25% approval from Rotten Tomatoes. DVD talk concluded that "fans would be much better off pretending the movie never happened in the first place".
In 2005, Kunis co-starred with Jon Heder in Moving McAllister, which was not released theatrically until 2007. The film received generally poor reviews and had a limited two-week run in theaters. She followed up with After Sex starring alongside Zoe Saldana, who had also appeared in Get Over It. In October 2006, she began filming Boot Camp (originally titled Straight Edge). The film was not released in theatres in the United States, but was released on DVD on August 25, 2009.
Kunis starred as Rachel Jansen in the 2008 comedy film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, co-produced by Judd Apatow. The role, which she won after unsuccessfully auditioning for Knocked Up, entailed improvisation on her part. The film garnered positive reviews, and was a commercial success, grossing $105 million worldwide. Kunis's performance was well-received; Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal praised her "fresh beauty and focused energy", while James Berardinelli wrote that she is "adept with her performance and understands the concept of comic timing". She was nominated for a Teen Choice Award. In an interview, Kunis credited Apatow with helping her to expand her career from That '70s Show.
Also in 2008, Kunis portrayed Mona Sax, an assassin, alongside Mark Wahlberg in the action film Max Payne, based on the video game of the same name. She underwent training with guns, in boxing, and in martial arts in preparation for her role. Max Payne was relatively successful at the box office, grossing $85 million worldwide but was panned by critics, with several reviewers calling Kunis miscast. Travis Estvold of Boise Weekly wrote that she's "horribly miscast as some sort of undersized, warble-voiced crime boss". Director John Moore defended his choice of Kunis saying, "Mila just bowled us over...She wasn't an obvious choice, but she just wears Mona so well. We needed someone who would not be just a fop or foil to Max; we needed somebody who had to be that character and convey her own agenda. I think Mila just knocked it out of the park." She was nominated for another Teen Choice Award for her role in the film.
In 2009, she appeared in the comedy film Extract with Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman. The film received mostly positive reviews, and grossed $10.8 million at the box office. Roger Ebert, while critical of the film itself, wrote that Kunis "brings her role to within shouting distance of credibility." Director Mike Judge commented that part of what was surprising to learn about Kunis was her ability to make references to the cult animation film Rejected. Judge said: "As beautiful as Mila is, you could believe that maybe she would cross paths with you in the real world." After seeing Kunis perform in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Judge wanted to cast her in the role of Cindy in Extract: "I just thought, 'Wow, this girl's perfect.' And she really wanted to do it, which was fantastic." Said Kunis, "I'm a huge fan of Mike Judge's from Office Space, so I was, like, 'Okay, this is a very easy decision.' I told them I would do anything needed to be in this production– like craft service, or, say, acting."
In 2010, she starred alongside Denzel Washington in the action film The Book of Eli. Although the film received mixed reviews, it performed well at the box office, grossing over $157 million worldwide. Film critic Richard Roeper praised Kunis's performance, calling it a "particularly strong piece of work". Several other reviews were equally positive, including that of Pete Hammond of Boxoffice magazine, who wrote that she's "ideally cast in the key female role" Even reviewers who didn't necessarily like the film complimented her performance, such as James Berardinelli, who wrote that "the demands of the role prove to be within her range, which is perhaps surprising considering she has been thus far pigeonholed into more lightweight parts", and Colin Covert of the Star Tribune, who wrote that she "generated a spark and brought a degree of determination to her character, developing an independent female character who's not always in need of rescuing." Other critics, such as Claudia Puig of USA Today felt she was miscast, noting that "she looked as if she dropped in from a Ray-Ban commercial". Kunis received another Teen Choice Award nomination for her performance. Kunis was also cast in a minor role in the 2010 comedy film Date Night, starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell. She garnered several positive reviews for her performance. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune concluded her performance with James Franco helped save the film and gave it "a shot in the arm."
Kunis and Natalie Portman played rival ballet dancers in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. She was cast in the film based on her performance in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and on the recommendation of co-star and close friend Natalie Portman. She underwent a training regimen that included cardiovascular exercise, a 1,200-calorie a day diet (she lost 20 pounds that she regained after filming ended), and ballet classes for four hours a day, seven days a week. During the demanding production, she suffered injuries including a torn ligament and a dislocated shoulder. Black Swan has received widespread acclaim from critics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film grossed over $106.9 million in the United States and Canada while grossing over $329 million worldwide. Reviews of Kunis's performance have been positive, with Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter stating, "Kunis makes a perfect alternate to Portman, equally as lithe and dark but a smirk of self-assurance in place of Portman's wide-eyed fearfulness." Guy Lodge of In Contention also praised Kunis, saying, "it's the cool, throaty-voiced Kunis who is the surprise package here, intelligently watching and reflecting her co-star in such a manner that we're as uncertain as Nina of her ingenuousness." Kunis' performance won her the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor or Actress at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and earned her Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress. At the 37th annual Saturn Awards, she was also honored with the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance.
Kunis was cast alongside Justin Timberlake in the romantic comedy film Friends with Benefits. Director Will Gluck stated that he wrote the story with Kunis and Timberlake in mind. Friends with Benefits achieved success at the box office, grossing over $149 million worldwide, and received mostly positive reviews with critics praising the chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that "Ms. Kunis is fast proving that she's a gift that keeps giving to mainstream romantic comedy" and "her energy is so invigorating and expansive and her presence so vibrant that she fills the screen".
In 2012, Kunis co-starred with Mark Wahlberg in the film Ted, which was directed and co-written by Seth MacFarlane, playing the role of the girlfriend of Wahlberg's character. When MacFarlane first conceived the project, he considered Kunis too young for the role. However, the film remained in development for several years and when it was finally ready to begin production he ended up casting her. Ted has received generally positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success, grossing $500 million worldwide. Drew McWeeny of HitFix wrote that Kunis "brings some lovely subtle grace notes to a role that easily could have just been 'the pushy girlfriend'".
In 2013, Kunis played Theodora, the youngest of three witches, opposite James Franco, in the Walt Disney Pictures' prequel, Oz the Great and Powerful. The film, and Kunis' performance, received mixed reviews from critics. Kim Newman of Empire Magazine wrote that Kunis "walks away with the honours as the wavering witch Theodora, whose heartbreak brings another, less-expected depth to this 3D spectacle". In contrast, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter found Kunis's performance to be uncertain as her character seemed to be in a state of limbo.
Also set for a 2013 release is Blood Ties with Kunis co-starring with Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, and Marion Cotillard. Kunis was also cast in the comedy The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, alongside Robin Williams and Peter Dinklage and she has joined the cast of the Paul Haggis-directed film Third Person co-starring with Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde and James Franco.
She has signed to do a sequel to the prequel movie Oz the Great and Powerful.
Kunis is set to be an executive producer for a feminist-themed TV series for the The CW network. Meridian Hills, is a drama about the women's liberation movement in the 1970s. She will not appear on-screen.
In the media
In 2007, Kunis participated in a video for the website Funny or Die appearing alongside James Franco. The video was a parody of the MTV show The Hills and was a huge success for the website, with well over one million views. Shawn Levy, director of Date Night, stated that part of what made him decide to cast Kunis with James Franco in the film was the chemistry he felt they had in the Funny or Die video. In December 2008, Kunis was featured in Gap's "Shine Your Own Star" Christmas campaign.
In 2010, she was featured in the "Women We Love" segment in Esquire with an accompanied video. Kunis was among several female stars photographed by Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams in conjunction with the Calvin Klein Collections for a feature titled American Women 2010, with the proceeds from the photographs donated to the NYC AIDS foundation. During the summer of 2010 Kunis served with Randy Jackson as the Master of Ceremonies for the 9th Annual Chrysalis Foundation Benefit. The Chrysalis Foundation is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization formed to help economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals to become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.
GQ magazine named Kunis the Knockout of the Year for 2011, with Men's Health naming her one of the "100 Hottest Women of All-Time". FHM magazine ranked her number 9 on its 2012 Hot 100 list, prompting Kunis to say, “You’ve got to base your career on something other than being FHM’s top 100 number one girl. Your looks are going to die out, and then what’s going to be left?” Maxim has consistently ranked Kunis on its Hot 100 list, reaching a ranking of number 5 in both 2009 and 2011 and number 3 in 2012. Esquire magazine named her 2012's Sexiest Woman Alive. She ranked #2 on AskMen's list of Top 99 Women for 2013, behind only Jennifer Lawrence.
Christian Dior signed Kunis in 2012 to be the face of its Spring fashion campaign. In February 2013, she was named Gemfields global brand ambassador and the face of their advertising campaign. Gemfields is a luxury company that produces emeralds, rubies, and amethysts. She visited Gemfields' mine in Zambia.
Kunis began dating actor Macaulay Culkin in 2002. During their relationship, there were rumors of the couple getting married, but Kunis denied them. In an interview with BlackBook magazine, Kunis stated that marriage is "not something that's important to me". Kunis said she tried her best to protect her and Culkin's privacy, noting that "We don't talk about it to the press. It's already more high profile than I want it to be." When asked if it was difficult to stay out of the tabloids and press, Kunis responded: "I keep my personal life as personal as I physically, mentally, possibly can." Asked if that is difficult she said, "I don't care. I will go to my grave trying. It is hard, but I'll end up going to a bar that's a hole in the wall. I won't go to the 'it's-happening' place." On January 3, 2011, Kunis' publicist confirmed reports that Kunis and Culkin had ended their relationship, saying "The split was amicable, and they remain close friends."
She has identified herself in interviews as a fan of the online computer game World of Warcraft and has received attention from the game's fan community as a result. She has not released what server she is in but says she is with her close friends in the Alliance. In a 2008 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, she stated she had not used voice chat in the game since another player recognized her voice. Although Kunis has described herself as a "computer nerd", she does not have a Myspace, Facebook or Twitter account. Kunis discussed her desire for privacy: "Why would I want to share my life with the world when it's being shared already, without my consent? The only problem with not having an account is that there are fake accounts, pretending to quote me. But what am I going to tweet about?"
In January 2011, she revealed her struggle with an eye condition called chronic iritis that had caused blindness in one eye. However, a couple of months earlier she had surgery that corrected the problem. Kunis also has the condition heterochromia iridum, where the irises have different colors. One eye is brown, and the other is green.
On September 14, 2011, the FBI announced it was investigating the alleged hacking of Kunis's cellphone and email accounts, along with those of other celebrities. Christopher Chaney from Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court to nine counts of computer hacking.
In November 2011, Kunis was escorted by Sgt. Scott Moore to a United States Marine Corps Ball in Greenville, North Carolina. Kunis had accepted Moore's invitation in July after he posted it as a YouTube video while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The event celebrated the Marine Corps' 236th anniversary.
On May 5, 2012, she and others at her home helped save a worker there who suffered a violent seizure, applying basic first aid until paramedics arrived.
Kunis supports the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. In a 2012 interview, she criticized the Republican Party, saying: "The way that Republicans attack women is so offensive to me. And the way they talk about religion is offensive. I may not be a practicing Jew, but why we gotta talk about Jesus all the time?"