While it may be a little surprising to some, the Resident Evil franchise has broadened its fanbase with each entry. Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the first film debuted in 2002 and each subsequent film in franchise has grossed more than its predecessor, with 2007’s Resident Evil: Afterlife taking in over $230 million in foreign box office alone. Steve got the chance to speak with director Paul W.S. Anderson in London today about his upcoming adaptation of The Three Musketeers, and the director spoke at length about the next installment in the undead franchise Resident Evil: Retribution.
Anderson talked about bringing in the Las Plagas parasite, lifting action set pieces straight from the video games, deciding which new characters to include from the games based on fan’s comments, transitioning the films from straight horror to more action-oriented, filming in Tokyo, Moscow, and North America, and working closely with Capcom to ensure a line of continuity between the movie and game franchises. Hit the jump to see what all Anderson had to say, including the 10 things you need to know about Resident Evil: Retribution.
- RE:5 starts filming in Toronto in a week.
- Anderson lent heavily on the video games for inspiration for Retribution, just as they did with the previous films.
- They’re bringing in the Las Plagas parasite from the games for Retribution. It will allow the undead to “run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns.”
- They’re recreating an action set-piece from the fifth video game where the characters are driving in a Hummer while being chased by zombies. Anderson changed the vehicle to a Rolls Royce Phantom.
- They had to tear apart and rebuild the Phantom with roll-bars and such in order to shoot the chase scene.
- Responding to criticisms that the film franchise has become too action-heavy while sidelining the horror, Anderson said the games have followed the same trajectory, leading to some phenomenal action sequences. He praises the franchise for consistently changing things up.
- When decided which new characters to include in Retribution, Anderson and Milla Jovovich listened to the fanbase. They settled on adding Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong, and Barry Burton, who they felt where the three fan-favorites that the film franchise has yet to touch on.
- When casting for the new characters, they tried their best to get people that looked as much like the game characters as possible.
- Retribution takes place in Tokyo, Moscow, and North America. They’re filming in all three locations.
- When Anderson signed on for the first film, he flew to Osaka and spent three days at Capcom explaining his vision and having a dialogue with the game creators.
- Anderson says the relationship between the films and Capcom is symbiotic. They look at the scripts and give notes, and sometimes the Anderson and the people working on the film franchise will change things because of the comments.
Anderson confirmed that they would once again be relying heavily on the video games for some of the action sequences. In fact, Anderson lifted an action sequence straight from the fifth game that makes great use of the benefits of the Las Plagas parasite:
“We’re bringing in the Las Plagas parasite, which I love because it allows the undead to basically run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns, which no one’s done before. There’s a great action sequence which we’ve been inspired by from the fifth game, which is where the characters are driving in a Hummer through the desert and they’re being chased by zombies shooting machine guns on motorbikes. We’ve taken that and we’ve kind of run with it. We’re not gonna use a Hummer this time we’re gonna use a Rolls Royce Phantom, cause no one’s ever done a car chase with a Rolls Royce Phantom before. And I’ve discovered why, because it’s really, really expensive.”
In deciding which new characters to include in Retribution, Anderson and star Milla Jovovich listened to the fans and chose three characters who they saw as fan-favorites that hadn’t been used in the films yet:
“[The new characters] is something that’s kind of come out of Mila and I talking to fans, feeling the characters that people wanted to come in. [We chose] three of those that seem to be the fan-favorites that we’d never touched on: Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong, and Barry Burton. We really went out of our way to get people who looked as much like their characters as possible from the game…This actor Johann Urb, who I’m very excited to be working with, not only is he a really good actor but he looks like Leon Kennedy. I mean you put photographs of them side-by-side, it’s almost like he was manufactured by Capcom.”
Anderson also touched on complaints that the franchise has become more action-oriented and has moved away from the horror genre. Anderson defends this decision, citing the shift in the video games and ability to include exciting new action sequences:
“One of the strengths of the Resident Evil game franchise is that they keep changing it up. Some people complain about that, and it’s a complaint I hear sometimes about the movies as well, ‘Resident Evil is horror, why do you keep doing action?’ Well, that’s one of the things that the games have done as well, they’ve always kept an element of horror but they’ve become increasingly action-driven games with these phenomenal action sequences. That’s something that I think has kept the game alive, and also it’s one of the reasons why I think the movies have kind of broadened out in terms of audience as well. If you make just hardcore horror, there’s a limited audience for that. Whereas if it’s horror mixed with action, I think you kinda broaden your potential fanbase.”
“The first thing I did when I signed to do the first Resident Evil film, literally my signature was drying on the contract, is I got on a plane and I went to Osaka and I met with everyone from Capcom, and I spent three days there kind of talking to them about the movie, and what my idea was, and what did they think of that idea, and that’s been the way our relationship has been since then. There’s a very open dialogue between me and Capcom. They know what the stories are, they get the script, they make comments, sometimes we change things because of those comments. I certainly don’t wanna kill a character that they want to continue, or I don’t want characters to do things that they feel would be wrong within the world of the video games. The world of the video game and the world of the movies, they exist within the same universe, but they’re running on slightly separate tracks.”
Here’s the part of Steve’s interview with Anderson on Resident Evil: Retribution. And if you missed Jovovich’s recent comments on Resident Evil: Retribution (including which characters will and won’t be returning) be sure to click here. The film opens in 3D on September 14th, 2012.
Paul Anderson Time Index
- Says he starts to film the 5th installment in one week
- What’s the secret of Resident Evil and why it’s so popular around the world
- 2:20 – What kind of action can fans look forward to in the 5th installment. Says they’re bringing in the Las Plagas parasite from the games for Retribution. It will allow the undead to “run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns.” Also, they shooting a big action scene with a Rolls Royce Phantom.
- 4:25 – What have the fans requested that have made it into the movie
- 6:00 – What characters are coming back
- 7:05 – How long was the shoot for the 4th film and how long is the 5th films shoot. (55 Days)
- 7:35 – Where does the 5th film take place and where do they shoot
- 8:00 – With the success of the movies, does he have creative freedom with the characters and world or does he have to answer to certain people
- 9:50 – How is it for him when he goes to Japan and what’s the interaction with the fans as the franchise is very popular there. Mentions how it’s called Biohazard and not Resident Evil in Japan.
- 12:15 – Where are they shooting the 5th movie in Tokyo