Director Paul Wes Anderson talks about refreshing the Resident Evil: Afterlife, using the most advanced 3D technology in the world and being married to the franchise’s star Milla Jovovich.
How are you?
I’m very, very good. I was working on the movie until 4 o’clock in the morning so I am a bit tired but otherwise fabulous.
At what point is the movie right now?
One hundred percent, it’s done, done, and done. It needs to be – because we’re doing so many different versions, there is the 3D version, there is the 2D version, there is the IMAX version, there is also subtitled versions.
You’ve directed the first Resident Evil and you’ve written the script for all four of them and you are directing back again, how does it feel to be behind the camera again?
It’s great. I love it. That’s why I decided to come back as the director. I missed the fun of directing the other Resident Evil movies and I missed the fun of directing Milla. So it’s great. I was very excited about doing it in 3D. I wanted the experience of making a 3D movie.
I also felt that if we were going to make another movie in the franchise, we had to kick the franchise up a gear and we had to make the biggest and the best Resident Evil yet. It had to be in 3D and it had to be globe trotting and really amp up the action. I needed to make a conceptual jump in the way that Terminator did between T1 and T2. It’s the same franchise with the same cast but it’s a bigger movie, it’s a bigger experience. I felt I was the right director with the right skill set to do that.
We’ve heard that you’re the first guy to use the same gear that James Cameron did shooting ‘Avatar’. Is that correct?
Yes. Cameron very kindly screened a big a chunk of ‘Avatar’ for us over a year ago. It was still a work in progress. It was clear that he was making an amazing movie, but also the quality of the 3D images that he captured was so much superior to anything I had ever seen before that I was convinced from that moment that this was the technology we should be using for making our movie.
Who did you have to bribe to get the cameras before anyone else?
He was very keen to have the rigs used because he’s a big proponent for 3D as you know. He has really revolutionized 3D in my opinion because he has made these camera rigs that deliver such quality images. James was happy for us to use the cameras. Everything associated with Jim Cameron, it’s very high end. It’s really fantastic technology because he built it all himself.
It’s my belief that as a filmmaker, if you’re asking the audience to pay a premium price to go and see your movie in the cinema because it’s a 3D movie, you have to deliver a premium product. I felt the best possible 3D was delivered by his camera system. We paid the money, took the cameras and we made the movie.
You just mentioned you wanted to direct Milla again, how does that work being married to her?
It works and it’s great. We’re both similar in that we love filmmaking and we love the process. It’s not a job of work for us. It’s a pleasure and privilege to be able to do what we do for a living. So you know, our personal life now and our work life are very intertwined anyway. We talk about movies and we talk about ‘Resident Evil’ in our spare time and in bed together. There is no separation between the two. So for us, it’s a pleasure to work together.
This is the first we’ve made a movie with the baby as well. So for me it’s just a wonderful experience to be able to work with my whole family. ‘Resident Evil’, it’s very much like a family business now. My producing partner who I have been with for almost 20 years now, he’s the producer on this. They’re lovely movies to make. I mean, they’re very difficult films to make and especially the 3D, technically very challenging but it’s the best job in the world and the best movies to make are ‘Resident Evil’ movies.
How different it is to write a film when you know is going to be shot in 3D?
Well when I wrote ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’, I definitely wrote a 3D movie with the action sequences and the horror sequences. I thought about what would emphasize the 3D. For example, what works very well with 3D is particulate matter in the air like rain or smoke.
So you end up writing these things into the script to accentuate the 3D. Also, things that are tight like claustrophobic tunnels, elevator shafts, anything that emphasizes depth and perspective all works very well in 3D. I included a lot of those elements.
‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ releases in India and the world on 10 September. It will also release in Hindi, Tamil & Telugu.