Resident Evil director talks Retribution

Paul Anderson on casting Leon Kennedy for film franchise, taking plot points from Resident Evil 4 and 5, and motorcycle-riding, machine-gun-toting zombies.

While recently promoting his second 3D movie, Summit Entertainment's October 21 release The Three Musketeers, director Paul Anderson opened up about the next Resident Evil movie for Sony Pictures. Resident Evil: Retribution will be the second straight 3D film in the franchise and the fifth film in the franchise, but Anderson is aiming to make something new with more than a few familiar elements.

Retribution is intended to be an epic, globe-trotting affair that features a cast of characters from all of the previous films, including some characters who were killed off early on in the franchise. The September 14, 2012, release has begun filming, and Anderson spilled some of the beans about the film in the interview below, including the introduction of Leon S. Kennedy and the direct tie-in to the Resident Evil 4 and 5 games.

Paul Anderson, at the Three Musketeers premiere.

GameSpot: Did you go back and play any of the Resident Evil games for the new movie?

Paul Anderson: In my office I've got Resident Evil 4 and 5 because we're leaning quite heavily on those in terms of some of the action sequences and the story strands and the creatures as well. But that doesn't count as video game playing because it's work. It may look like I'm in my office playing on the PS3, but I'm not really. I'm working.

GS: What are the challenges of taking someone who is so well known by gamers like Leon S. Kennedy and putting him up on the big screen for Resident Evil: Retribution?

PA: Well, it's obviously a lot of pressure because of that and especially Leon because he has such an extreme look. Firstly, he's a major action hero. But also he has the floppy hair, and you have no idea how hard it is to find someone who looks like that. They're usually mutually exclusive. It's like the guys with floppy hair are all kind of doing British period movies, like Brideshead Revisited, and the guys who are top action heroes usually have buzz cuts. But I think after a long and very exhaustive search, we've finally found the right guy in Johann Urb (2012, The Hottie & The Nottie).

GS: With Resident Evil: Retribution coming out September 14, 2012, will there be any potential crossover going on with Capcom on the gaming side?

Anderson said it's tough to find hair like this on an action hero actor.

PA: We do cross-promotion when we can, but it's very difficult because with movies you set a date and you hit that date. That rarely happens with video games. So Capcom can say they're releasing on certain dates, but before you know it, that day gets pushed back or they abandon the game completely and start again. That's just the process of making a really good video game. They don't release it until they're ready. A good video game takes years and years to make, whereas you can make a good movie in 12 months. So it's hard to plan converging and cross-promoting, but the fact is the movies and the video games, just in a broader sense, do have a synergy and a symbiotic relationship because they are all pushing the same title and the same brand and the same name.

GS: Has DLC content and mobile and tablet growth opened up the ability to create smaller game experiences that can tie in to a film?

PA: It's starting to happen, but the kind of logistics of mounting film promotion and video game promotion at the same time is complicated. Even within a company like Sony, where you would think that there would be close cooperation between different parts of the big corporation like that, it's still really difficult. Let me give you a perfect example of that. There's a scene in the new Resident Evil where we need a whole bunch of plasma screens in the background, and you would think they'd be Sony players on the screen, but guess what, they're not. So go figure.

GS: Being a gamer yourself, what do you think gamers should be most excited about when it comes to Retribution and how you're putting this together?

PA: We're using the Las Plagas parasite, which was introduced in Resident Evil 4. I love this because it gives me the opportunity to have undead star creatures who can basically do cool new things. And we also looked at how that was followed up with Resident Evil 5. It gives me the opportunity to use undead creatures that can ride motorbikes and shoot machine guns at the same time, which is definitely a first. In the world of the undead there ain't nobody doing that, just me.

GS: How will the new Resident Evil movie differentiate itself from the others?

Ever wonder what comes after the Afterlife? Turns out it's Retribution.

PA: One of the things we've tried to do with the films is to progress the franchise and make each movie exciting and fresh again. I really feel like these creatures that are taken straight from the game give us the opportunity to do that. In Resident Evil 5 there's an awesome sequence, one of my favorites, where you're driving a Hummer across the desert while engaging in a machine gun battle with a bunch of creatures that are chasing you while they're riding motor bikes and shooting machine guns. That's intrinsically Resident Evil because it's straight out of one of the games, but it's something totally fresh that you've never seen before. I think everyone can get excited about that, whether they're a game player or not.

GS: How has your work on the Three Musketeers movie opened up things for you as you head into this new Resident Evil movie 3D-wise?

PA: Musketeers was primarily a location movie, and again it was a good experience on location, so that involvement will help me push 3D even more with Resident Evil. I've made this movie really a globe-trotting adventure. We go to Moscow. We go to Tokyo. We're going to some snowy wastes in the North of Russia. We're going to Times Square to shoot. It's a globe-crossing film, and it's taking 3D cameras out there into the real world more than ever before.

GS: I saw Rain Ocampo is back in this film.

PA: Yeah. Michelle (Rodriguez) is back.

GS: How does that work, since she died in the first film?

PA: I can't tell you. It's one of the fun things about the movie I think. But she's back. Colin Salmon, who was the leader of the Umbrella team in the first Resident Evil, is back as well. Oded Fehr, who died in the third Resident Evil: Extinction is back. We just had the table reading in Toronto with all the actors, and it was so much fun to have all these familiar faces and voices in the movie. I think it's going to be a real trip, and I think it's going to be really exciting.

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207 comments
eddieham13
eddieham13

They should not have killed off the planet. They should have stuck with how it happened in the game. I don't mind the stories being a little different here and there and some more characters but when they destroyed the earth pretty much they gave themselves no room to develop or even go back to how the game story is.

drewj34
drewj34

these movies give the resident evil series a bad name

playtaion999
playtaion999

I'll allow you to make that movie including Leon. JUST DON'T TRY TO MESS WITH HIS FLOPPY HAIR !

Vambran
Vambran

RE Movie #3 kinda jumped the shark. They killed off 99% of the planet. ( Off screen which sucked even more) The new RE movies have almost no room to develop now.

Rovelius
Rovelius

@tigerlegend76 What's wrong with that

Barighm
Barighm

@wwlettsome His movies bring in a lot of money. Not summer blockbuster big, but way more than his budget. That's where he gets his funding. I hear the movies are huge in Japan. Personally, I think this guy is messed up-nobody has ever done motocycles with guns before? Is this guy for real?-but I'd take his semi-decent, lore shattering, mildly entertaining movies over Uwe Boll's 10 grades of barf any day. I recently saw one of his non-videogame movies. It still sucked hard. I really wish I could do a Resident Evil movie. Get back into the horror side of things. How the police escaped from the station in RE2 would make a great movie.

Albaficas
Albaficas

the ONLY thing i liked about these crapy wannabe movies was JILL dam that chick was hot

Albaficas
Albaficas

NaryuKick go watch some uwe boll C-movies then.....

thelostkin
thelostkin

how does he keep getting money for his so-called-movies? i'm getting tired of alice and basing each and every movie around her... i just don't understand why he couldn't make the movies exactly like the games?

hickabickabooya
hickabickabooya

hey, he does a better job than Uwe Boll, kinda (well, his wife helps)

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

1 was okay but Michelle Rodriguez ruined it, 2 sucked, 3 was the only one that was pretty decent. 4/Afterlife was okay, but it was plagued with too many tie-ins to Resident Evil 5. Now RE5 the movie is going to have possessed Jill Valentine, but who is possessing her if Wesker is already dead? They need to end the series, but Paul Anderson is just going to keep making sequels so he and his wife Milla can remain to be employed.

NaryuKick
NaryuKick

I've said it before and i will say it again. I take the movies for what they are, and don't hold them up to the games. A movie with the same plot and story of the games would be trash. One does not translate well into the other. That said, I enjoy the RE movies. They are all better than 98% of every other video game movie ever made. They are the only game movies worth anything. Besides Silent Hill. That movie was the best IMO. So I am looking forward to this new RE movie.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

How does he keep getting the funding to make another Resident Evil movie?

UrbanMessiah
UrbanMessiah

Like I've said before, the only way to stop Paul Anderson from doing crappy Resident Evil (and apparently now The Musketeers as well) movies, which are just thinly veiled fan fiction for his wife to star in, any more is simple; Get Milla Jovovich to stop boning him.

dr_champloo
dr_champloo

The biggest problems with these films is the over the top action nonsnese. They'd be better if they were tight creepy suspense movies with regular people. I don't mind them moving away from the cast from the games because honestly the RE heroes and plot are bare bones and stupid. Something that's become more apparent with each sequel (though 5 did have the best VAing and Chris actually had emotions moreso than any previous RE lead)

dr_champloo
dr_champloo

@tigerlegend People probably want a story that's more like the games in general. RE1 did a good job of utilizing the mansion and the Umbrella corps while adding new stuff like the Red Queen A.I. but then part 2 comes along and screws it up and 3 makes the films all apocalyptic

tigerlegend76
tigerlegend76

How does anyone expect the movies to follow the games plot exactly? Unless,of course,you want 2 hours of one person walking around shooting zombies,solving the occasional puzzle and revealing most of the story by reading letters found scattered around the place...

the_sorrow_MGS_
the_sorrow_MGS_

In that video Paul wxpsv4 Anderson says with pride "Im the writer and director of the resident evil movies"...I'm confused, why is he proud of this fact?

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

I enjoy watching the movies on TV when they come on. There nice time killers

Tribesmaster
Tribesmaster

Sorry, but the resident evil movies suck. I'll stick with the games.

kidnatural
kidnatural

Now if only they'll get on the ball with the 2nd Silent Hill movie..

kidnatural
kidnatural

I used to despise Paul W.S. Anderson for some of the things he seemed to do in these movies. I've learned since then that he doesn't get complete control. Some of his ideas (that would have made them much more like the games back in the day) were scrapped by the higher ups, and budgets cut.. Overall, I've been a fan of Resident Evil since the first one, a bigger fan back then than I am today because it induced fear, it required more thinking, and had a fun story. Resident Evil 5 didn't have any of that, it was essentially straight action adventure where you couldn't move and shoot. Anyways, I'll see this movie like I've seen all the others (the last one... ugh... Wasn't fond of it for a list of reasons), and I'm more excited this time, because of the news of Michelle Rodriguez. That is all.

jrjcobra
jrjcobra

Damn it just stop screwing with our games already!

nparks
nparks

There really needs to be a constitutional amendment banning Paul WS Anderson from ever writing another screenplay. He's a decent enough director, but might just be the worst writer in Hollywood, and that's a pretty low bar.

chrisangelo2k7
chrisangelo2k7

@demonkillerx Rain, Carlos, and all characters that previously died in the early movie don't have to be necessarely "revived". I think Paul Anderson is referring to having the entire cast from all the movies back in the same movie as "new flashbacks", that could work as puzzle pieces and answers to many unanswered questions.

chrisangelo2k7
chrisangelo2k7

@AvatarMan96 And can't you just ignore it instead of bashing it? The RE movies has its own sets of fans you know...

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

Can't they just stop making these? Haven't they learned anything?

AzatiS
AzatiS

RE movies becoming like RE games.. The more releasing the more upseting they get. Gaming lost its magic , so the movies. Period... Game is now a SCI-FI action shooter and movies from a zombie horror movie are like SCI-FI action BS.... I PASS!!

NDegree
NDegree

Also Resident Evil: Damnation is going to be way better then this movie, I'm for sure.

NDegree
NDegree

Resident Evil 1 & 2 was OK but after Alice got super powers & million clones, it's just turned into $%#t. The biggest problem with Resident Evil movies are the cast. Not a single character resemble with actual game character.

Santesyu
Santesyu

So he got Johann Urb, someone I never even herd before he says that people with that hair is almost exclusive but tom cruise is like right there waiting for jobs since he aint getting any.. heck I would get Leonardo DiCaprio personally. But cmon.. Only characters Paul got right was in Mortal Kombat, the force has aged with him.

Albaficas
Albaficas

this director could do a MEGA HIT BOX OFFICE movie ONLY if it is a uwe boll biography hahahahahahahahahaha!!!

demonkillerx
demonkillerx

What the f***!? Rain was turned into a zombie and shot in the center of her forehead. She's dead! No question, but no Anderson thinks that she can come back to life after being shot in the head. Carlos was in a f*****ng explosion with zombies nearly biting him! Anderson truly doesn't remember that once a character dies, they are dead!

Specter2k5
Specter2k5

This director is such a tool and he has his wife (Milla Jovovich) in almost all his movies, ditch the tool and get a real director so they can get something better out of such a great franchise.

alvarokike
alvarokike

why cant they kill alice?! and do a Resident evil 4 movie with LEON only arrrgghh

badman11226
badman11226

Why people keep watching this crap, they dont even stick the video game plot. Its a bunch of dog $hyt pile upon more dog $hyt.

emeraldhillzone
emeraldhillzone

well lets have a look at the facts, you ask why they keep on making movies, the last entry was the most successful, costing $60 million to make and returning just under $300 million (296 million to be precise) is there any real wonder why we are being treated to a fifth movie, you know how we can stop them making more poor resi evil movies? stop going to watch them at the cinema!!!!

psycho325
psycho325

3D movies are terrible! Resident movies (excluding the first) are also terrible! combine the 2 you get a steaming pile of crap!!!

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Are they STILL making these god awful things? Seriously? The only one worth watching was the very First R.E. movie. Everyone after that sucked IMO, but then again maybe that's just me. Oh, I also thought the one that had Nemesis in it wasn't bad. Aside from those though these movies are a waste of film.

edubb85
edubb85

Oh geez no wonder Paul Anderson and Milla are married! Didnt know that. This guy directed Aliens Vs Predator, Produced Dead or Alive. So he definetly contributed in ruining some good franchises. But Event Horizon was great! And i also thought the first Mortal Combat was good fun(at the time). Lets hope the reboot isnt as cheesy.

edubb85
edubb85

This director really has a thing for Milla Jovovich or as i call her Leeloo Dallas....multipass. =D

JudgementEden
JudgementEden

I'm totally watching this! I've gotta see how they bring the dead characters back. I also cant wait to see Leon Kennedy.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

Do people really spend enough on the RE movies for any of the sequels to be warranted?

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

Am I the only one who thinks Resident Evil (the movie) should never had Resident Evil (game) characters?

starduke
starduke

I quote Agent Smith in saying "Mr. Anderson, you disappoint me."

parkurtommo
parkurtommo

I'm yet to see a good resident evil movie.

BelmontWolf
BelmontWolf

@sukirtha dont worry they will ruin his character too like all the others

sukirtha
sukirtha

yes ! leon my fav character hope they dont f up his hair or i aint watching it

TigerRifle1
TigerRifle1

@suprsolider In his mind the inclusion of video game characters, out of context set pieces like the pistol surrender-catch-while you drop and shoot a canister scene, and using the T virus/ Las Plagas is enough to make it based on the games. He refuses to see that RE was never intended to be a global apocalypse. In the games you were trying to prevent that, with that standard you've already lost. Additionally the purpose of Resident Evil, with an diabolical corporation engaging in biological egineering literally living amongst a town is rendered mute if the product of those experiments has swept the globe. You're living amongst it as opposed to it living amongst you. The latter is the dynamic you need for it to be truly Resident Evil. Anderson will never understand or appreciate that.