In the last Resident Evil film, Alice (Milla Jovovich) met a survivor of the virus infection, named Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). In the fourth installment of the franchise, Claire has found a way to survive the very traumatic experience she went through, but she has lost some of her memory and is trying to figure out who she can trust again. There is even the introduction of Claire’s brother from the video games, which presents even more issues, as she figures out if he is who he is.
While at Comic-Con, actress Ali Larter spoke at a roundtable about how much she loves doing action and stunts, what it was like to work with the 3D technology and how much fun it is to play such strong women. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
You’ve reinvented yourself throughout your career, in a way that few actors do these days. Are you comfortable in this action heroine mode?
ALI LARTER: Thank you for saying that. That’s really nice. I feel really lucky that, in my career, I’ve gotten a chance to explore a lot of different genres and kinds of films. With Heroes being canceled, it’s been interesting to take a moment to think back on those four years that I spent on the show, and how much I loved being a part of that. For me, within the sci-fi genre, that really started with Final Destination and when I first started coming down to Comic-Con, and it introduced me to a whole different world of loyalty and passion with fans. It’s something that I feel really lucky to have, in my career and in my life. When we were shooting Resident Evil, and we were cold and tired, and we were shooting on a stage that was wet, but you know it’s going to look bad-ass and these guys are going to go into the theater and be cheering for you, and the girls are going to be rooting for you, that’s what makes it fun for me. I also loved doing Legally Blonde. It was so much fun to do a comedy. I look forward to being able to explore some new things after my baby arrives.
The past Resident Evil movies have had a lot of action in them. Is there more action in this one, or is it about the same?
LARTER: There is tons. What’s really cool is that Paul [W.S. Anderson] came back to direct it. Paul knows what you want. If you’re a fan of Resident Evil, he knows how to deliver what really excites you and turns you on, within the Resident Evil franchise. There is so much that’s pulled directly from the video game, in this movie. Some of our stunts were choreographed, beat by beat, from exactly what’s in the video game. I’m wearing the outfit that I wore in the video game. That’s fun stuff that he brings into it, which makes it really cool.
Were there any different challenges this time, making it in 3D?
LARTER: It just takes a lot more patience, honestly. It’s a new technology and, with that, you’ve got to be on the learning curve. We were the second movie to get the cameras from James Cameron’s Avatar, and we got some of the tech guys, but these guys are learning as it goes along, so it’s really about being patient. If you have to do it again, you do it again. We shot a really cool sequence with the Axe Man that took three days with the Phantom camera because you can only shoot for 23 seconds and then it will break and you have to wait three hours, and then you start again. But, it’s great because you know you’re on the forefront of something new. I love anything that’s fresh and, by using these cameras, it really brings a new element to the Resident Evil franchise, and it’s a really incredible fit. You hear about all these movies that are turned into 3D and it doesn’t work. This movie was written for 3D and it’s an amazing fit with what the Resident Evil franchise is about.
Can you give any examples about what might fly out of the screen at the audience?
LARTER: Milla [Jovovich]. She dives off the rooftop of this building, and it’s just incredible. There’s really fun stuff. Sensorially, you’re just so stimulated. It’s fun, and that’s what you want to see in these movies.
What do you have to do physically to prepare for these movies?
LARTER: I’ve been athletic my whole life. I’ve played sports. So, it’s just fun to get in there with the stunt coordinator to choreograph the scenes. We’re on harnesses doing flips. But, I also like to give credit where credit is due. We have incredible stunt doubles that come in and do stuff that we’re not allowed to do. Me and Milla are never people that would be like, “Oh, we don’t want to do that.” No, we both love to do our own stunts, but we also have people that come in there and really make us look good when we’re not allowed to do them.
Is there a particular action sequence that you got to do, that you were really excited about?
LARTER: Yeah, the Axe Man sequence is one I’m really excited to see. It was a big one. It was pouring rain, so that adds an extra dynamic. And, there’s some flipping over. It looks pretty cool. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know what the real stand-outs are going to be and how it all works. Paul introduced this interesting element where, when you meet Claire, she’s become someone who has to survive at all costs, and she has to overcome some memory loss, but you realize that she really is the key to safety. She has to figure out who she can trust. There’s a lot of that going on in this movie. By introducing her brother, you take someone like Claire, who’s tough, strong, has a really rough edge to her, is very selfless and has always found a way to survive in all situations, but still help others, and you watch her have to crack a little bit when she meets him. It’s not a family reunion where it’s like, “Oh, it’s so good to see you!” It’s like, “I’m going to fucking kick your ass, if you say you’re my brother and you’re not.” It’s a family reunion done Resident Evil style.
What kind of background did you have to have in the video game to do this?
LARTER: Paul knows it all so well and he knows the mythology of it, and that’s the greatest part about working with him. You take that leap of faith because he’s like, “Trust me.” When he edits it, he knows the movie he’s going to make. It’s all in his head. And, as an actor, you have to go with it and trust him. We wear the outfits in a lot of the sequences. We have a Wesker (Shawn Roberts), Chris (Wentworth Miller) and Claire fight that’s incredible, that’s exactly like the video game.
What was the difference in working with Russell Mulcahy on Resident Evil: Extinction?
LARTER: I enjoyed working with Russell also. We shot down in Mexico and it was brutally hot, and it was just a very different thing. But, it was my first experience with it, so I loved working on that too. I love playing Claire. I think that she’s really strong. I love that, as a woman, I get to come in and play this role, where she’s not this soft, innocent character who has a man take care of her. She’s the new independent woman, and she’s the everywoman in this movie too. She doesn’t have superhuman strength. She’s someone who has to rely on her instincts to survive, and that’s fun for me.
Playing such strong female characters, what’s it like being a role model for women?
LARTER: It’s so much fun. My dream is to do something like the female Bourne, and do something in that world. To mix that high level of drama with the covert operation, conspiracy theory spy world fascinates me and it’s so interesting. It’s fun to do it. I love that there’s two of us in this movie too. The boys just need to move on over. The girls are coming.
Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to do in these films that you’d like to see Claire do in the next one?
LARTER: I just always want to do more stunts. For me, just give me more cool things to do. That’s fun. This movie was Paul’s baby. Whatever he wants is what he gets.
How much of this film do you spend dirty and covered in zombie parts?
LARTER: A lot of it. I think Paul just wanted to watch me and Milla as dirty as humanly possible, crawling in tiny-ass caves with flashlights, covered in schmutz. We were just dirty, messy and gooey, and probably just how the boys want us.
What can you say about the fight between you and Milla in this film?
LARTER: It’s not really a fight. It’s figuring out who you can trust. Alice realizes that Claire has gone through a very traumatic experience and she’s found a way to get away, but there’s a residual issue about what’s happened to her. She’s lost some of her memory. So, Alice is a big part of her trying to figure out her life and who she can trust again. There’s definitely a bit of a kick-ass fight, but it comes from an interesting place.
Do you think they’ll ever do a movie to wrap up Heroes?
LARTER: That show is done.