Hot on the heels of our interview with Ali Larter, who played Claire Redfield in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (review) (and two previous entries), we’re now bringing to you our interview with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, the man who kickstarted this franchise back in the early 00’s and has been pushing it forward ever since!
In our interview, we hear Anderson’s thoughts about the future of the Resident Evil franchise that he built, if he’d come back to the series to tell stories from perspectives different from Alice’s, and what’s next on his plate! Hint: it’s another game franchise from Capcom! Also, he shares five rules to live by if you want to live through the post-apocalyptic world of Resident Evil. Head on down to give it all a read!
Dread Central: How are you doing?
Paul W.S. Anderson: I’m bloody marvelous, thank you for asking.
DC: The first Resident Evil came out 15 years ago. Talk to me a bit about the journey from then to now.
PA: Well fifteen years for you, we started shooting the first movie in 2001 and wrote it in 2000 so it’s been seventeen years. It’s been a marvelous journey, it’s been an epic journey in every sense. We’ve made six movies, we travelled around the world, we started in Berlin, then we went to Toronto, then we went to Mexico, then we went back to Canada, then we went to Africa, with little stops in Moscow and Tokyo so it’s really a franchise that has circumnavigated the whole globe, which has been thrilling in itself and then getting to know a wonderful family of people. I do see our movies as kind of a family affair, this one more than most because I got to work not just with Milla but with our daughter Ever who is the Red Queen and also there’s returning characters like Iain Glen, like Ali Larter and I work with a lot of the same crew, Glen MacPherson has shot the last five of my films. You know, every time we come back together to make one of these Resident Evil movies, it’s a wonderful adventure that a team of like fifty people have been on, so it’s been an epic journey and one that never ceases to put a smile on my face.
DC: While the latest entry is called The Final Chapter, the ending does lend itself to a sequel. Do you think there’s more stories about Alice or have we reached the end of her journey?
PA: Yeah, this is the end, this movie is designed to bring the franchise full circle, to kind of take the audience back to where everything began, back to the Hive and back to the very first movie and I would hope what this movie does, is because it plays with the circle, it encourages and gives the truths about Alice, about the Red Queen. You know, what I would really like is for people to kind of re-watch the first film but with fresh eyes.
DC: The games jumped between several characters over the various entries. If you were approached to do a Resident Evil film that didn’t include Alice but rather a different main character, would that be something you’d have interest in pursuing?
PA: You know, these movies we’ve worked exceptionally hard on and I think it’s one of the reasons why the franchise has been that successful. A lot of love and labor has been put into these films, by the people in front of and behind the camera and after six movies I’ve told all the post-apocalyptic stories I want to and that I feel like telling. You know, we’ve always said the only reason we make another Resident Evil movie is because we’re excited about and that’s how you deliver it to fans, so I would not be into re-visiting the world, I think this movie brings it to a close in the most satisfying way I could imagine and there are very few filmmakers fortunate enough to work on such a broad canvas and to make six movies over seventeen years, that’s quite a run and also to end on such a high, the biggest box office that any of the films, I think I’ve done everything I intended to in the franchise and that I wanted to and I’m excited to move on and find fresh horizons, new monsters and new stories.
DC: In The Final Chapter, there are only, if I’m correct, a few thousand humans left alive worldwide. If you had to come up with 5 rules to live by during the zombie apocalypse in order to make it as one of those survivors, what would those rules be?
PA: 1) Stand behind Milla Jovovich whenever possible.
2) Stand in the middle of the streets, not in the shadows by the walls.
3) Be a very attractive human being because, having re-watched the franchise, it’s funny because the zombies don’t want to eat really attractive people.
4) Carry a very big gun.
5) Make sure you have a lot of ammunition.
DC: Well, by those rules, I think I could make it to the third movie at best. I’m good at standing in the middle of the street but I wouldn’t call myself the most attractive person!
PA: [laughs] You know it’s really funny, looking at the cast of this movie, I’m going, “God damn you guys, you’re an attractive bunch!” They’re all standing there, there’s Ruby Rose, there’s Milla, there’s Ali, I mean they’re an attractive bunch of survivors, I’ve got to say.
DC: What’s next for you?
PA: Well a couple of things, obviously I’m looking for something for Milla and I to collaborate on again because I’ve made seven movies with her and I definitely see her as my muse, we have such a good working relationship and it would be great to find something else to do with her. Also, more specifically, I’m working on an adaptation of this video game called Monster Hunter, which again is created by Capcom who created Resident Evil and Monster Hunter right now outsells Resident Evil and, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, it’s a beautiful game, amazing landscapes and epic looking creatures and it’s very, very cinematic and it’s something I’m very excited about putting on the big screen.
I mean, these creatures [from Monster Hunter] are just fantastic and scary and epic, so I’m not moving a million miles away from the Resident Evil wheelhouse, I’m not engaged in a romantic musical comedy or anything like that, still creatures and monsters and fun.