You might have noticed that just a few hours ago, the Resident Evil: Retribution trailer made its big debut, but for some lucky fans in New York City, the experience entailed much more than an Internet viewing. ScreenCrush.com’s Jordan Hoffman moderated an event that featured a showing of the new trailer on the big screen as well as a clip from the film and a Q&A session with none other than Alice herself, Milla Jovovich.
When you’ve got a franchise rocking five installments, it’s undoubtedly a monumental success. While directors Paul W.S. Anderson, Alexander Witt and Russell Mulcahy have all effectively maintained the world created by Anderson in the first film back in 2002, inspired by the Capcom video games, now it’s time to push the envelope more so than ever. Alice is turning her battle against the Umbrella Corporation into an international effort, traveling from Tokyo to New York to Washington D.C. and Moscow during which she’ll uncover information that sheds new light on her expansive endeavor. Hit the jump to read all about the exclusive footage and Jovovich’s experience working on the film.
After a brief introduction, the event rolled right into a viewing of a never before seen 3D clip from the film showing Alice taking down zombie after zombie in what Jovovich called “The Corridor of Light,” a hallway entirely comprised of white walls. As in the Resident Evil: Retribution posters, Alice is rocking her skintight black suit adorned with silver buckles down her boots, back and on her arms with her gun and a more elegant morning star-type weapon in hand. At the onset, Alice appears to be more than equipped to take on the sole female Japanese zombie standing before her, but after taking her down, another comes and they don’t stop until she’s standing in the middle of a room full of bodies.
A great deal of the action is clearly designed for the third dimension, bullets flying directly into the lens, Alice’s chain weapon whipping out into the audience and, the most striking visual of them all, a splatter effect during which zombie blood is sprayed all over the lens. Anderson captures ever bit of action from multiple angles, something that’s quite effective in giving the audience a multidimensional view of the contained space. The scene is also packed with slow motion, allowing for detailed views of zombie carnage and time to take in the rather picturesque imagery of the action and gore popping off the white walls.
For an additional sense of what the Corridor of Light looks like in this film, check out the snippets included in the film’s trailer.
After the showing of relentless action, Jovovich took the stage to the tune of a room full of cheering fans. For nearly 40 minutes Jovovich fielded questions from Hoffman, fans in the audience and from around the world and we’ve got all the highlights from the conversation for you right here.
The Trailer is Only the Beginning: Isn’t it a drag when a trailer entices you to catch a movie only to find out that all the best material was what was in the trailer? Jovovich thinks so, too! “One thing I don’t like is when you see a trailer and all the best stuff is there and then you go see the movie and then it’s like, ‘Oh, okay, might as well have just watched the trailer again.’” Well, while you might want to watch the RE:R trailer again and again, when the full feature finally hits theaters, Jovovich made a point to assure everyone, “There’s so much crazy stuff in the movie but it’s not in the trailer.” And it’s not just because the RE team doesn’t want to spoil everything; the movie is still being finished.
Borrowing Glass from a Skyscraper: When discussing what could be one of the most iconic scenes in the fifth film, Jovovich recalled a production challenge in putting together that Corridor of Light scene. “Literally we built about 15 feet of corridor and we actually stopped them building a skyscraper in Toronto because we needed glass and we needed it like, yesterday.”
Hot Sets: However, it’s not just about getting the materials necessary to build the scene. The team needed 14 generators to actually power it! Cool right? Perhaps for the viewer, but that’s literally a hot set for the actors working on it. “If you were a zombie that got killed in the beginning of the scene, you really hated life.” Jovovich noted. The set was so hot, it burned. “When I slide under the guy’s legs,” Jovovich recalled, “I put my hand down and it was burning so hard, but that poor chick was likely totally lying on the ground stoic and I’m like, ‘No! I must be honorable! I must also put my skin on the glass!’” Jovovich laughed, “And then like after two seconds I’m like, ‘Eh, I’m just gonna wrap the chain over here.’”
Going Global: “The really amazing thing in this movie I think is how global it really is.” Jovovich continued, “We are annihilating many major cities around the world, including New York!” Naturally the New York-based audience cheered because who wouldn’t want to see their hometown destroyed Resident Evil-style? When the noise subsided, Jovovich added, “I think what’s really gonna stand out in this movie is the epic scope of it.”
A Special Treat for New York: While discussing the global expanse of the fifth installment, Jovovich noted how incredible it will be to see cities like Moscow overrun with zombies, but before saying the same about New York, Jovovich slipped in, “You see New York overrun by creatures that will not be named.”
Jovovich the Costume Designer: Interesting fact, Jovovich actually had a hand in designing Alice’s costume. “Me and my friend designed it and we think this is kind of the epitome of Alice for the moment. I can’t even imagine, if we did do another one, what I could possibly dream up.” Jovovich joked, “Maybe a bikini, Hawaii, zombies on the beach!”
Opening in Reverse: While there was absolutely no chance of convincing Jovovich to spill where RE:R kicks off, Jovovich was generous enough to drop an incredibly intriguing bit of information about the opening sequence, “It’s all played backwards.” She continued, “It’s actually one of the first ever opening sequences, action sequences, full on explosions, full on combat, but all played backwards.” How could something like that possibly work in a forward moving narrative? According to Jovovich, “You’ll see when you watch the movie why it is and how we do it.”
Resident Evil is a Family Movie: No, not in the sense that it’s appropriate for little ones, but this franchise is very much a part of Jovovich’s personal life. Her husband, Anderson, directed the first film, where they first met, as well as the fourth and the fifth and her daughter now plays with zombies on set. Jovovich joked, “She’s actually more scared of My Little Ponies.” Of working with her husband, Jovovich explained, “We actually have fun together. We make fun movies. It’s not serious, super dramatic roles that suck the life out of you.” Having done some of those more dramatic roles before, Jovovich jokingly admitted, “If I was going home with those directors I’d probably kill them.”
Michelle Rodriguez, An Intense Gamer: While remembering how having played Resident Evil 3 with her little brother made her so eager to audition for Alice in the first film, Jovovich noted that her Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Retribution co-star, Michelle Rodriguez, is still a very intense gamer. “I think she actually almost missed a day of work on this shoot because she had some Belgium Call of Duty online gaming contest.”
Alice’s Sense of Humor: Jovovich remembered back to the franchise’s first film when Alice is basically experiencing everything from the audience’s perspective. “She doesn’t know what’s going on. We don’t know what’s going on and you’re watching it through her eyes.” But, of course, Alice eventually remembers her former employer and that leads to a great deal of resentment and bitterness. However, one of Jovovich’s favorite parts about Alice in the fifth film is that she realizes, “We’re living in this post-apocalyptic society for a couple of years now, in the movie time, and she’s used to it. This is life. You’ve gotta kind of laugh sometimes.” Then again, don’t expect Resident Evil: The Comedy. When asked about the humor in the film, Jovovich noted, “I smile a couple of times. That’s about as funny as it gets.”
The Challenge of 3D for Action Actors: “I was trained in the 2D world,” Jovovich began. “3D has kind of created lots of problems for action actors because it’s really hard to fake a punch.” Up until now, Jovovich had always been told to fake land her punches. However, on RE:R she was required to actually hit the stunt performers. She recalled someone actually telling her, “Just kick him in the head!” She continued, “There’s an incredible action sequence at the end with Alice and Jill Valentine and pretty much she’s killing me.” Some of the material in that sequence is so brutal, it requires special effects, so Jovovich explained that at one point, they had five cameras around her in attempt to cover all of her facial expressions from various angles in case they need to replace a face in post. “The 1st AD would be calling out, ‘All right, now she’s got you in a headlock! Now she’s kneeing you in the face!’” After demonstrating a few reactions of being kneed in the face and head-butted, Jovovich remembered that, all of a sudden, after an hour of this reaction work, the AD called out, “Knee to the womb!” How do you react to that? Luckily Jovovich was onto his joke. “At that point I just stop and realize, you’re F-ing with me man.”
Jovovich vs. Zombie Dreams: Well, after making five Resident Evil movies it’d make sense for Jovovich to suffer from zombie nightmares, right? On the bright side, these dreams actually wound up inspiring one of Jovovich’s favorite scenes in the franchise, the clone sequence during which Alice jumps through the glass in Resident Evil: Afterlife. “The needle dive was based on a dream that I had.” She went on, “I had a dream that I dove off this building and so Paul just put it into the movie.”
More RE to Come?: When you’ve got a franchise, the question of whether or not it’ll continue is inevitable. When it came up in this Q&A, Jovovich responded, “The great thing about Resident Evil is it’s not something that comes out every year. It’s not a machine made franchise.” She went on to note, “It really always depends on if Paul is inspired.” So, at this point, is Anderson inspired? She revealed, “We were taking our week break last year after this one and I said, “What happens next?” She said that Anderson told her, “You know, I do have an idea for a sixth one. I haven’t written it or anything like that, but this is, in a way, how I would want it to end.” Should Resident Evil: Retribution be a hit, Jovovich said, “We would love to make another one, which would be the end of this iteration of the franchise.” The keyword there is iteration. Referring to herself and Anderson, Jovovich added, “Saying that, Resident Evil will go on without me, you know, maybe without us.”