After making a small cameo in Resident Evil: Afterlife, it’s no surprise that Sienna Guillory is back as Jill Valentine in Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Resident Evil: Retribution (which arrives in theaters this September). Also, as one of the main characters in the video games, it makes a lot of sense to have her return to the films.
Last month I got to visit the set of the fifth installment with a few other online reporters and we interviewed Guillory in between setups. During the interview she talked about the fight scenes, what she was filming that day, Jill’s transformation since we last saw her in Apocalypse, if she thinks she’d get to be in a sixth film assuming they make it, and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to what she had to say.
Before going any further, here’s the official synopsis from Retribution and the just released teaser trailer:
The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, ALICE (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.
As usual, I’m offering two ways to get this interview: you can either click here for the audio, or the full transcript is below. Resident Evil: Retribution opens September 14.
Sienna Guillory: Oh, nearly a whole afternoon (laughs). It was fun though- it was one of those where you ride in on set and all your friends are there, you’ve got a great outfit and everything is brilliantly lit and it’s day one of filming. Everyone’s got these great new toys and then you finish filming 30 minutes later (laughs). You’re like ‘where’s the rest of the movie?’ and they’re like ‘oh, you’re not in it.’ Oh yeah, this is the end.
Could you talk more about what we’ve been watching over and over again in the scene that you’re doing?
Guillory: Oh, I don’t know what you’ve been watching. We all live in an Umbrella Submarine and we’ve got a great gang living there. There’s me, Michelle Rodriguez who is brilliant, Li BingBing who is very pretty…like scarily pretty. You could touch noses and she’s flawless. She’s quite terrifyingly beautiful.
You look very serious, staring very icily forward, then staring to the side,
Guillory: That’s the physical aspect of my work (laughs).
Can you talk about that.
Guillory: Staring icily, ahead and then – staring to the side. And then running and falling flat on my face. But this is probably the moment I’ve been the most excited about and most terrified about since I heard we were going to do this and I knew I was going to be involved. I just had twins this year, in February and I would say there is no greater motivator than knowing you’re going to be squaring off against Milla Jovovich in a cat-suit months after giving birth to twins. So this is us, squaring off opposite each other which is quite daunting because she’s quite amazing and I’ve got to be as good, if not better.
I know the fights are more complex for this one, like how much more physicality do you get to do?
Guillory: So much more. This fight sequence is over 200 moves which is like longer than a fight sequence in The Bourne Identity was. It’s immense. It was brilliant and I’ve been working on it every day since we got here and I’m very happily whittling away too. It’s a very beautiful fight and it’s all sorts of- well, they’re trying to incorporate things that have never been done before with weapons that haven’t been done already and using aerial moves- it is quite poetic actually.
The opening move is one of Jill Valentine’s melee moves where she throws herself up in the air and spins around, then lands and kicks guns around, then flips and goes into a beautiful fight that evolves into just a brutal, nasty fist fight which is kind of great.
That’s like a three act fight all on its own.
Guillory: I mean, it’s been massively chopped and squished so that we can get everything else in which I think makes sense. I was really looking forward to it being massive and epic but I’m hoping it’s still going to be really good.
Tell us where Jill has been since Apocalypse because she’s seemed to have undergone a transformation of sorts.
Guillory: Well, in the game she’s been captured by Wesker and he’s put the boob-ament (the spider) on which controls her. There’s actually, for someone who’s completely inept at these things- well, I’m not very good at video games. So you can watch all the movie moments of Jill’s on YouTube and you can really see her, feel her and get a sense of who she is and what her story is. And there are these moments where they finally de-scarab her and she says ‘you know, I was aware of everything I was doing but I couldn’t do anything to stop it.’ So this kind of an indication that she’s in this inner turmoil, which I think is kind of great and I’m glad we’ve got places here where we can play with that. But here we are where Jill is under Umbrella control and she’s the baddie.
Bigger than Wesker or just below?
Guillory: I think he’s a tiny bit taller than me. (laughs)
Can you talk more about the weapons and the guns?
Guillory: I have guns called Scorpions- they are brilliant unless you’re waving them all about, then they become a bit unwieldy. But their brilliant; the fully automatic thing on it has virtually no kick-back so you sort of move with them and you know, the thing that flips out, you can wedge it on your shoulder. My experience with guns goes up to as far as ‘Am I going to shoot that? Am I aiming it properly?’ But I did a lot of gun stuff at school and loved it and I love that generally, women are better shooters than men are and if you talk to the armory guys, they’ll agree.
We heard that the characters in the film have good versions and bad versions- do you have two versions in the film?
Guillory: I’m just hoping I have one version that ends up being quite good so (laughs)- not too bad, hopefully. No, this is definitely bad Jill.
At the end of Afterlife, you give a pretty direct order in terms of killing everyone on the boat. Does that happen? Because if it did, then there wouldn’t be a movie.
Guillory: I think you just answered your own question there.
Well, I’m just curious.
Guillory: Well, you know- plans go awry and movies happen. If things happened the way you’d expect, then there wouldn’t be movies and such. Things become difficult, we have to overcome things and try a bit harder sometimes (laughs). It was only up until two days ago that I was supposed to have guns throughout this fight and when we’re doing the wire work, everyone was like ‘be careful catching the guns’ and I was like ‘well, if I had a gun, wouldn’t I just shoot…’ (trails off). So now we don’t have guns.
But there was this really cool moment where Li BingBing who plays Ada Wong and she’s of course done loads of movies with martial arts and she’s really physical and amazing. She has this scene where she whips out a gun and pretty much mows everyone down. And on take one, she’s just there- she doesn’t blink, she doesn’t move and then bam, bam, bam, bam, bam! Gun’s down here by her waist and I was like ‘now we all have to step up our games because she is good.’ Then when she finished, she goes ‘was that okay? I’ve never shot a gun before.’
When you work with the guns and stuff- when you squeeze the trigger- I sort of think of it as an emotional thing that you’re doing to someone. I imagine it as an emotional kick so I tend to breathe out anyway which stops you from blinking and makes you look less uncool. But I have a ‘man-tourage,’ my brilliant storm troopers that come with me everywhere, that are the Umbrella troopers and sometimes when they bring out their guns I have to try really hard not to flinch and try and be cool which is what it’s all about (laughs).
Paul has said that he came up with the idea for the fifth and the sixth film- have you talked to him or has he mentioned to you the possibility of being in the final installment, the sixth one assuming he gets to make it?
Guillory: I’m hoping so. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this – I really feel like Milla is making history here. Is there any other franchise where there’s a female action heroine who has managed to make five installments of a story where she (trails off)…That’s massive. That’s history. And it’s really cool to be part of that. So I’m hoping that it goes on; I think it’s a good trend to have women being equally violent and terrifying as men.
(Jokes about the Scarab Appliance on Sienna’s Chest)
How is that on there?
Guillory: We tried all sorts of things- when it was glued on to the skin, it would look like it was dragging down and end up buried in- well, ‘The Valentines’- and when it was attached to the costume, it would move around with the costume so now we just have this bit of jelly powder where they swab me with alcohol so it doesn’t move around and then I just lean really hard into it. But it requires constant checking-I think the battery they put inside of it doesn’t actually work because it seems like there’s always someone there checking the thing out. I don’t normally have a lot of boobs so it’s quite exciting actually (laughs).
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