Last month I was on the set of Sony Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Retribution in Toronto.
There I was able to chat with the cast and crew about what appears to be the biggest installment in the franchise yet. Globetrotting adventures? Check. Shifting alliances? Check. More action? Check. Chats with Milla Jovovich, Paul W.S. Anderson, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr and Boris Kodjoe? Check.
Want a few more boxes to check off? How about talk of a sixth installment and talk of a prequel. Those – along with the lowdown on the scenes saw being filmed – are all inside.
In the film, “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, 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.”
Hit the jump to check out the report! ARRIVAL
Our van winds its way to a non-descript, vaguely industrial, portion of Toronto about 15 minutes from our hotel. We pull up outside what looks like a giant warehouse. From the outside, the only clue that a film is shooting there is the abundance of star wagon trailers cluttering the parking lot.
Inside the warehouse is, of course, another story entirely. Almost as cold inside as it is outside, it is nothing if not vast and immense. Two giant sets, surrounded by hallways and corridors housing different wardrobe, makeup and creature departments. I get only quick glimpses of giant plaster creatures before I’m shuttled along to the main set.
As we enter the soundstage we walk past a partially dismantled set that just a few days ago was used as some sort of Umbrella command center. Gleaming, white, smooth and immense, even in its deconstructed state it’s fairly impressive to behold. Its contrast to the set we’re about to enter speaks volumes about the eclectic look of this current – globetrotting – installment.
Disembarking from that defunct set, we arrive at the day’s shooting set. An impressive, icy snowscape. Snow machines drop vast amounts of flakes upon the cracked ice below. A portion of a submarine’s hull protrudes from the ice. A few yards away – a snowcat is flipped on its side.
We are seated in video village just off side to the set. Since this installment is being shot in 3D, we can get a look a rough approximation of the rendered in real time. A large 3D flatscreen is placed before us and we are issued 3D glasses and headphones so we can watch the scene. Glancing back and forth between the action happening onset and the two-camera feed we’re getting on our monitor, I quickly settle on the monitor as my primary source for the action unfolding.
Sienna Guillory emerges from the sub in a skintight catsuit as Jill Valentine. An evil looking silver scarab with a glowing red perimeter situated in her cleavage, apparently controlling her actions. Behind her, Michelle Rodriguez emerges as “the Bad version” of Rain Ocampo (we later learn that this film plays with the duality of many of its main characters, resulting in “good” and “bad” versions of each). Their captive – Ada Wong as played by Li Bingbing in a striking red dress, is struggling to get free.
Rodriguez, in typical badass fashion, injects herself in the neck with what we later learn is the performance enhancing Las Plagas parasite. Sh*t’s about to get real – but for now they’ve got the shot they need. The action will have to wait until later. It’s time to speak with some of the cast.
We talk for a moment with Oded Fehr, who is reprising his role as Carlos Oliveira. But how? Isn’t his character dead? “Yeah!”
How did that come about? “ Now I hear you’re shooting 5 without me? What the heck’s going on? And she was so cute. She was like, ‘Blah, dah, bah, bah, blah.’ You know? ‘We’ve got to call Paul [W. S. Anderson] right now.’ She didn’t want to say anything because she knew already that they were bringing me back in. So we met up with Paul that night, I think. And we had dinner that night. And he was like, ‘Yeah. We’re bringing you back in.’ So, I came back from the dead.”
Inspired by seeing Michelle Rodriguez as “Bad” Rain, is the topic of duality arises. Is his character working evil and now working for Umbrella? “Well, the interesting thing is that in a way I do, and in a way I don’t. See, because I kind of come back twice on this one. I think you had a hundred Millas on the last one. So obviously, you can have more Carloses and more Ones and more Rains. The interesting thing is, I come back as two different guys on this one. There’s a dynamic to the relationship with Milla’s character, and then there’s the other side. He’s working for the Umbrella again. So the answer is both. It’s great. I get to play two different characters. It’s fun. Two opposing sides.”
After a few more minutes of milling about onset – and devouring delicious candy canes and tea from craft service, we’re brought over to meet Boris Kodjoe who is reprising his role as Luther West.
How does he figure into this installment? What are the “good” and “bad” versions of each character about? “Clones”.
Is Luther is who he says he is in this one? “I have no idea. I really don’t know. Paul’s imagination is amazing. He’s like a kid in a candy store. Every script is like a new adventure and it shows on the screen. So as an actor being invited on his playground, so to speak, is an honor. This is really one of the franchises, one of the movies that is most fun to shoot. Not only is the cast amazing and fun to work with, Paul’s energy sort of transcends and it translates down to everyone on set so it’s not really work. It’s playing. It’s a lot of fun.”
Does Luther have a “good’ and “bad” version? “In terms of mutants or cloning, my character hasn’t been subjected to that yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next movie I don’t grow some horns and start eating people or something. Who know? I don’t know. We’ll see.”
This is a big globe-trotting film and there’s a big car chases scene in Red Square. Is Luther a part of that? “ Yes. It was cool. It was great. They pay so much attention to detail. They literally paved the whole, I mean I don’t know how big – the size of a football field, with cobblestone just to duplicate that. And the whole storefront of this Moscow department store. it looks incredible. It looks really amazing. We shot there for a couple of days.”
The Resident Evil franchise keeps getting more and more popular. What about this film will be most attractive to someone who hasn’t seen the prior entries? “ They’ve done an amazing job prepping the audience. Even in cases where they haven’t seen the first 16 movies. So it’s sort of a standalone movie as well. So I think the action aspect is going to be a huge selling point. He’s just been doing stuff that he hasn’t done before. Like stuff that blew me away. It’s like, “wow!” It’s going to be incredible. And Paul is a master of using 3D technology to elevate content rather than replace it. A lot of filmmakers who are not as used to using 3D, 3D becomes [their] sort of story point and I think that’s missing the point. If you use 3D to elevate a story and to give the movie a certain look that will make it better that’s how you’re supposed to use 3D. And Paul is a master of that. So this time around I think he’s just going to take it to the next level. It’s just going to be exponentially better. And bigger.”
Where would he like to see the franchise go next? “LUTHER WEST 3D”
After Boris we’re escorted outside and across the parking lot to one of the biggest trailers I’ve ever seen. That of Milla Jovovich. Once inside we are welcomed to join her by the fireplace – yes her trailer has a fireplace. It might have been awkward for her to have a dozen or so journalists sitting cross-legged on the floor next to her – as if it were some kind of slumber party with one hot girl and twelve creepy dudes – but she handled it gracefully.
What was shooting the subway sequence in Red Square like? “We had a splinter unit go to Moscow and they pretty much cleared Red Square for a day, which is quite a big deal. Then they cleared the Russian subway for about five hours, for as much as they could, to get plate shots of everything. So, we have all the background and then we built pretty much the Moscow street. I don’t know if you guys got a tour yet of the sets, but up front, there’s a street in Moscow where we did the Rolls Royce chase sequence. It’s exciting for me because obviously, I’m Russian. To be able to show my people what we’ve created in Toronto and how we’re really trying to bring the Russian people into the Resident Evil universe… I think it’s going to be really fun for everybody.”
Are the stakes upped in this one? “ The whole point is that we want to make every film better than the last one. So, we definitely have more creatures and monsters and action. And the action sequences for the actors are really difficult. It’s one of the most trying physical undertakings that I’ve ever done in an action movie. I think the Jill and Alice fight has over 200 moves in it, which is more than Nick Powell did for ‘The Bourne Identity’. It’s pretty crazy.”
What’s it like having Michelle Rodriguez back? “ We’ve been racking our brains on how to bring Michelle back for years because she’s just such an amazing actress and just such a cool girl and such a well-loved character in the first movie. When Paul got the idea of how to start bringing people back, it was really amazing. The script is just so different from any other ‘Resident Evil’ movie. It’s going to take people by surprise. Every sequence and how everything comes together is just quite mind-boggling! It’s really cool. And it always keeps you on your feet. It always keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next. What’s happening? Who are these people? Then there’s something also that, you know, I was watching an assembly of it, and I’m sure you read about it on Twitter, but I started crying watching it, because having the history of Alice and me and Rain and Jill and all these people who have been going through this hell for the last 10 years, and again Umbrella is torturing them. It was almost heartrending to watch them again having to go through all of this. And the way the script is written, the way Paul has written the script, there is so much more character involved and so much more subtext. The storylines are so intertwined and in such a strange and beautiful way that there’s something very nostalgic and sad about it too, which is different. Listen, it’s going to be a really fun movie. We’re not expecting anybody to start weeping in the audience, but just on a personal level, going through it for 10 years of my life and watching these people coming together again, it was quite emotional.”
Does she have input into the stories at this point? “ Paul and I definitely have a back and forth dialogue because we live together and ‘Resident Evil’ is such a huge part of our lives. We’re always talking about where it can go and what can happen, who’s coming back and who’s not. What is Alice going to be in this movie? Definitely, I have a lot of input into the stunt sequences. It’s really funny because I’ll read the script, Paul’s original script for it, and I could never write a script. I could never direct a film. I’d kill myself if I was Paul. I don’t know how he does it. But I do have good isolated ideas which kind of go like, ‘Well, there’s kind of a lull here and it would be great if something happened that was super cool. Fill in the blanks! Maybe make me jump off of something and something explodes.’”
We’re hearing whispers of a sixth movie. “This is the first time Paul had an idea for number 6, where there’s a story that we talked about, a year ago now, that was 5 and 6. We were just talking about it. He does have sort of a rough basis for a sixth movie.”
We’ve mentioned Moscow and we’re watching a scene what looks like the Arctic. What other cities, or places, does the fifth film visit? “New York. We go back to Tokyo. Washington D.C.”
Does she see herself playing Alice forever? “ Well, listen. I mean, there’s only so much longer I can play Alice as she is today. At some point, I’m going to have to be the mentor to the younger generation. I love to make these movies. I have to say, it’s hard to imagine this world ending for us. We work with the same people, we shot here [Toronto] actually for three films and it always feels like coming home. It definitely makes me sad when we start getting to the end. This one has been extra hard because we were doing promotion for Three Musketeers and traveling to Tokyo and England. I had to do some work in Italy, so all my weekends kind of got ruined. And there’s [still] the depression of ‘Oh, it’s coming to an end and I don’t want it to end, but at the same time, I do want a week off.’”
PRODUCERS JEREMY BOLT, DON CARMODY, AND ROBERT KULZER
Once back on the set we see another portion of the scene play out. Bingbing Li is thrown to the ice in her skimpy red dress as Rodriguez charges an as yet unknown adversary. Sienna Guillory just smiles a sly, slightly evil smile. The whole thing – the snow, the color of the outfits, the sub – is colorful and almost cartoonish. It gives me hope that this installment will feature even more eye candy than previous outings.
We’re introduced to producers Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody and Robert Kulzer.
How does this film differentiate itself from the others? “It’s more science-fiction-y. This is more tricks-y, turn-y, plays respectfully with the audience.”
Don Carmody jumps in, “ But, at the same time, it has probably the biggest action.”
Jeremy Bolt tackles the idea of character duality, “The idea is no one is who you think they are. The only thing you are certain of is that the Umbrella Corporation is all-powerful, is always one step ahead, and Alice is the only one that’s really getting close. We wanted to create an atmosphere where the audience goes, ‘Is that person really Carlos? Is that person really Rain?’ There’s good Carlos and bad Carlos, and it’s very much taken from the world of gaming, where everything can change. We are definitely, as I think Paul has done with the previous movies, taking narrative structure out of the video game world.”
Robert Kulzer adds, “We felt the last movie was really quite linear, pure action-survival. We felt that we definitely had to try something narratively, from a structural point of view, that would make it more of a mind-bender for the audience. With Alice, you go through the movie and you kind of question everything. As it becomes this ongoing battle for survival of humanity, you might even find humanity in the least likely places, even in your enemies. To a certain degree, they may have things you need for survival. There might be alliances in the story, that Alice wouldn’t have trusted, but, for her survival, she might have to make a bargain and see how it goes.”
What are some of the coolest new zombies in the film? Bolt answers immediately, “Well, the Russian motorbike undeads are phenomenal. They’re in their Communist uniforms, on their motorbikes, great makeup from Paul Jones, they’re just terrific. Obviously, it’s more enjoyable for us, having done it for so long now, that the undead are getting a bit more intelligent. After awhile, you feel sorry for them.”
It’s been mentioned this one has more of a sci-fi edge to it. What other films inspired this? “I think ‘Inception’ had a huge impact on everyone. I think ‘Westworld’ is an important film to Paul. Everybody knows, because he talks about it enough, the ‘Alien’ trilogy, ‘Blade Runner’, all these things are inspirations. As a filmmaker, I think he just keeps trying to push himself to do better than the last one, and to make it as entertaining as possible. Just taking up on Robert’s point, there are sequences in Moscow, there are sequences in Tokyo. We really tried to make it global.”, says Bolt.
In light of hearing Milla’s hint that the 6th film might be the last in this storyline, Bolt is asked if a prequel is envisioned. “ Yeah. I could see a prequel to ‘Resident Evil 1’, definitely. And, possibly, spinning out another character, yeah. The really exciting thing for us as producers, and Paul as a director, it’s so expensive to release a movie these days, that it gives everyone confidence, so you can get creative under the umbrella of the franchise. This is something studios are doing all the time. If, as Robert said, the box office deserves it, we’ll keep exploring it.”
As they’re setting up the next shot onset, we notice that Michelle Rodriguez is now missing while Sienna Guillory and Bingbing Li are still on deck. Turns out she’s in motion capture suit undergoing CG scanning in an adjacent room.
Soon after, Rodriguez is brought to us straight from scanning, still in her mocap suit. Never having interviewed her, I was nervous that this would be a sullen, confrontational, affair. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Rodriguez easily proves to be the friendliest, bubbliest and more energetic interview of the day. I was definitely pleasantly surprised.
How does it feel to be back for this installment after so much time? “I know! It’s pretty damn cool- you’ve got to love sci-fi, man. For a long time I was kind of pissed off they kept on killing me off. I was like, ‘what am I doing wrong? Just because I’m not ripping off my clothes, how long do I have to endure this before people start appreciating me?’ (laughs) And then they started bringing me back so I was like ‘cool’.”
What are some of the challenges of oscillating back and forth between “Good Rain” and “Bad Rain”? “You know, I find it kind of fun because I’ve played the same character for so long that it’s kind of like I am always an exaggerated version of my angry side. I’m so comfortable with her that it was kind of cool and fun to play something awkward and different- someone who is quirky and doesn’t know how to handle a gun and someone who is curious. I kind of feel like an audience member while playing that character because I’m like “what the hell is going on here? Why are you dressed like a superhero? How come there are dead people walking around on the streets?”
So the comedy is played up in that portion? “A little bit. But I think it’s more about how it plays up on the audience’s perspective of what the character represents.”
So we’re essentially seeing the Raccoon Outbreak through Rain’s eyes in some respects? “In some respects, yes. For sure.”
We get the idea that Alice is jumping around the globe a bit on this movie. Without getting into too much detail, what is the throughline for “Bad Rain” here? “I think for the most part she’s pretty much being controlled completely by the Umbrella Corporation and I feel like the epitome of her existence is to protect and serve. She’s very mechanical, very straight-forward and very matter-of-fact. There really isn’t any human kind of sensibility behind “Bad Rain.” She’s just a machine.”
Does she face off with Alice? “Yeah, she just wants to take her down; that’s the order she was given.”
We just saw you inject something into your neck onset. “Yes! Las Plagas! That makes me super-human. Bullets? What are those? I eat bullets!”
Eating bullets? “Eating bullets! I have always wanted to eat bullets. I always had this really cool idea ever since I was a kid of a human being that was able to control all the elements they’re made up of. For instance, we have minerals and stuff in our system and I always thought it would be cool to go into this deep state of meditation and be able to consolidate all the metal in your body and shoot through your fingers.”
Back onset – we now see who Rodriguez and Guillory are facing off against. Milla Jovovich (now in full makeup and wardrobe as Alice), Boris Kodjoe and Johann Urb (as Leon Kennedy) stand in front of an overturned Hummer – guns drawn and at the ready. It’s Alice that Bad Rain is charging after injecting herself with the Las Plagas parasite.
PAUL W.S. ANDERSON
Right as that shot is wrapped up, we head over to talk to writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson. An affable, mild-mannered presence, who is alternately guarded and forthcoming about his work.
Part Four ended on a cliff-hanger of sorts. Where does this one pick up? “ This one starts basically with the payoff from the last one. So we are starting on the deck of the Arcadia. It’s kind of like a direct continuation of that.”
We’ve heard that it was originally planned to shoot the 5th and 6th films back-to-back. “There was an earlier discussion about that, but then we just decided to focus on this movie. But if it is that we make another one, I do know where it would go. It would obviously be great to kind of make two full trilogies and then just bring everything to an end.”
With his significant other mentioning that she can only play the character for so long. Would the 6th film be the finale? “Definitely. Unless, of course, no one goes to see this one. Then this one would be the finale, just maybe not a very satisfying one.”
The stuff we’re seeing shot onset today is very vibrant and bright. What’s the overall look and color scheme? Is there a certain unique palette to the film? “ It is an epic undead movie. It really is a globe crossing thing. We have physically shot in Washington D.C., Red Square, and Shibuya in Tokyo. We’re obviously recreating snow and ice sequences, but we have actually gone out in the snow and ice as well. So it really has a globe crossing feel to it and each one of these different places we have tried to kind of invest with a different feel. So I am excited about the snow and ice obviously because as you can probably see with Ada laying in the red dress against the crisp white snow and the black umbrella – it is very, very [much like a] graphic novel. So that is very stark. But then the Red Square sequence is completely different. It’s all at night and very gritty. So the idea was to kind of make the movie like a kind of nightmare where you tumble from one bad dream to another but can’t quite wake up. So each part of the dream feels very different , but also very unpleasant. We have really tried to…it is almost like the visual look of three or four different films packed into one movie.”
With all of the different looks, globetrotting, and the non linear narrative is there a unifying theme that specifically brings it all together? “ It’s hard for me to explain what that is without giving away the plot twists and the movie, but yes. I think it really has some cool twists in it. They are kind of inspired by the video game, but I think it should be a very surprising narrative. I’m excited to put the whole thing together. And I’m super excited to be working with returning actors from the franchise as well. That has been one of the really fun things – to bring back Michelle [Rodriguez]. Colin [Salmon], and Oded [Fehr] back. Not just to work with them as people because they are nice people, but to also have those familiar faces in the franchise I think is really exciting.”
Back on the soundstage we see Ada Wong unconscious in the snow. Her red dress like blood on a white canvas. Johann Urb’s Leon rushes over to grab her as the wind picks up and the snow flurries. He whispers to her reassuringly and lifts her up and whisks her away to safety. The shot goes for about 5 takes until they get it right.
Around about this time, a few journalists spot Paul Jones – the special makeup effects designer for the film – milling about the back of the set. He’s immediately cornered by tape recorders.
How are the zombies different in this installment? “ This has been a different kind of deal because the last movie was very stylized and this one is going for more realism. The zombies on motorcycles, the action dictates what they’ll look like because you’ve zombies doing stuff you normally wouldn’t see a zombie do. I’m not even calling them zombies anymore, I’m calling them “infected.” When you say zombie, you’re talking about someone who has been brought back from the dead. With these Russian zombies, it’s not the case. They’ve been infected, so they’ve mutated. They’ve been affected by the T-virus, it’s the Las Plagas virus, actually, which is why they’re different. So, again, everything is enhanced with them, we still aesthetically made them look dead. We’ve actually made a couple of them look really dead. But they’re actions are almost super-human.”
So, it’s a scaled-back look? “No, we took it further. I’m a huge fan of Romero’s ‘Day of the Dead’. I think those make-ups look realistic but also extremely stylized. I really wanted to do my own version of that.”
What are some of the creatures we can expect to see? “Thankfully, the Lickers are all CGI on this, so I built some practical stand-ins. There’s [a picture of] a hand floating around the Internet. We built some other pieces to help the CG guys. One of the biggest builds I’ve had besides the zombies have been the cocoons which are a new invention of Paul’s that fit along the game. It helped the story elements. We trapped the little girl in the film and Milla has to rescue her and so we had to create these cocoons which are like egg pods – we’re not really sure why they’re there, but they help move the story along and from an aesthetic point of view it was really fun. They had to look egg-ish and like a Licker because they come from the Licker, but they’re their own entity.”
We saw something that looked like a heart with tentacles… “Big claws, yeah. Those are the Licker pods. Some people call them pods, I call them cocoons and we had to rig that with a whole ripping action so Milla can rip it open and reach in. The girl is trapped inside and, because she knows sign language, she’s signing through the cocoon which is a nice story point.”
We interviewed Michelle Rodriguez while she was wearing a cyber-scanning suit. What did you have to do on her? “We actually did a make-up for Michelle on this one. I don’t want to give it away.”
When she injects the parasite into her bloodstream? “Not quite. I’m not saying anything. But I did get to work with her, which was cool especially for two of my make-up guys because they’re huge fans. They were like, ‘why is she here, she died in the first film?’ Yeah, but it’s kind of a cool story, bringing back some old faces. The first day she flew in, she needed teeth casting and face cast and a whole bunch of stuff. I picked the one guy in the shop who is the biggest squid and I said, You have to go to set today, you need to do some work on an actress. He said, ‘Okay’. He was crapping his pants, but I was in the background grinning. It was great to see Oded again, it’s a nice reunion.”
At that point we’re escorted back into the cafeteria to Sienna Guillory for one of the briefest interviews of the day. It’s getting late and shooting has to keep going lest the crew run into overtime. However, she was able to clue us in slightly on the scene we’d been watching all day, “We all live in an Umbrella Submarine and we’ve got a great gang living there. There’s me, Michelle Rodriguez who is brilliant, BingBing Li who is very pretty- like scarily pretty. You could touch noses and she’s flawless. She’s quite terrifyingly beautiful.”
She jokes about the Scarab appliance on her chest, “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!”
What’s happened to Jill since the last installment? “Well, in the game she’s been captured by Wesker and he’s put the boob-ament [chest scarab] 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.”
Almost as quickly as we can say goodbye to Sienna, we’re introduced to Li Bingbing and her translator. Bingbing’s English was actually surprisingly good for someone who travels with a translator, and she fielded most of the questions herself.
“In this movie, I worked with Milla very much, all of my scenes. So we’re very close. I’m so touched from her. She treat me very, very nice. Very good, and very considerate. You know, because when we shoot outside it’s very cold. And every time she’d make sure the wardrobe, they ask me to put my warm jacket on first, and then hers. So everyone treat me very good. And the other actors like Michelle, like Sienna, Colin, Oded, Johann. You know what, at the beginning, I feel shy to open my mouth to speak in English. I just thought, ‘If I don’t open my mouth, I won’t make any mistakes with anyone.’ So I just keep silent, and just use my eyes to [communicate]. But you know, over time, we getting closer and we know each other, we get familiar each other, and everyone kidding or playing together, we communicate like experience stories. We getting closer, we know each other more and more. And then I dare to open my mouth to speak more English. And nobody laughed at my English. They said, ‘oh, your English is amazing!’ I know everyone just encourage me, but everyone treat me very nice. Like make me feel I was in a very cozy family. Everyone very good here.”
Does she know how much the game’s fans love Ada Wong? “Yes. I know ‘Resident Evil’ is a very famous game. A lot of game fans follow this ‘Resident Evil’. And I know Ada Wong is a very famous character in the game. So there’s a lot of fan for Ada Wong in China, so when I got this news from Paul, they invited me to play Ada Wong, everyone feels so excited. And I feel so excited like I’m going to be Ada Wong.”
Once again, we’re back in the snowscape of the main set. Paul W.S. Anderson is busy composing a shot of Milla emerging from the overturned Snowcat. The 3-D camera crane setup is hard to navigate properly on moving shots – the depth of field changing constantly – but everything looks fairly smooth. A hand holding a gun emerges from the upended vehicle’s window. Then another. Finally, Milla hoists herself out of the vehicle – stands aloft it – and jumps down into the snow. Ready for action.
Just as the guns are being loaded with blanks and things are about to get LOUD – it’s time to leave. We chat briefly with Johann Urb right before hitting the van.
How does that big snowcat get turned over? “Am I allowed to talk about that? OK, (in an ominous voice) so we were driving in this snow storm, and you can’t see anything except the snow, and then, suddenly, a submarine comes. There we go.”
How Leon get involved in Alice’s storyline at this point? Where did he come from? “As far as I can tell, I’ve just been fending for myself, taking care of business, and banding with some people. Then, apparently what’s happened is Alice is in a bit of trouble. Wesker needs somebody who is smart enough and strong enough to go in and save Alice. Leon is the first thought that comes to mind, obviously.”
Ada and Leon have a history. “You know, the way that I imagine it, is that we sort of had this romance that never really happened. It’s kind of like Mulder and Scully in X-Files. You’re waiting for it to happen, but it never does. Maybe in the next one, I’m hoping.”
And with that, our day has ended.
Once in the van on the way back to the hotel, I think about the day’s shoot. The Resident Evil movies have never exactly been my cup of tea, but now I have sort of an informed hope that this one will be different. While I don’t suspect Resident Evil 5: Retribution will suddenly become my cup of tea when it’s released in September, I have a feeling I’ll like it more than the other entries. I also have a hard time imagining that fans of the franchise will be let down, its scope is way, way, way too big for that. Everyone involved seems to legitimately feel like this is the biggest and best installment thus far.
Resident Evil: Retribution hits theaters September 14th, 2012.