At the end of writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2010 sequel Resident Evil: Afterlife, many fans were surprised to see Boris Kodjoe’s character Luther West survive after testifying about “star power, bitches!” to a couple of evolved zombies chasing him out of the prison sewers.
During Dread Central’s recent set visit in Toronto for Screen Gems’ upcoming Resident Evil: Retribution, we sat down with the ever-charismatic Kodjoe to talk more about the return of Luther in the latest installment, his thoughts on working with Anderson and the gang once again and his case for giving Luther his own 3D spin-off movie as well.
Kodjoe also briefly chatted about another 3D project that will be arriving in theaters later this year, Nurse 3D, which you can read about here.
Check out all the highlights from Kodjoe’s interview below, and make sure to check back soon for more from two newcomers to the Resident Evil franchise- Johann Urb, who is coming on to play fan favorite Leon Kennedy, as well as Li BingBing, who will be portraying another fan favorite, Ada Wong.
Q: When did you first find out that you were going to be back in the fifth one?
A: I guess two years ago when I read the script and found out that I didn’t die. That was pretty clear then.
Q: This movie seems to be playing with a lot of duality. There are characters that aren’t who they say they are, there are characters who come back from the grave –
A: – clones.
Q: Yeah clones. Now your character disappeared for a little bit of time at the end of the last one, so are you who you say you are in this one?
A: 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.
Actually this movie is going to be much more action oriented than the last one. There’s a lot of great fight sequences that we’ve shot so far. The next 8 or 9 days we’re just going to be fighting. We got Nick Powell onboard who is probably the best stunt coordinator on the planet. He’s done everything from The Last Samurai to Gladiator to Braveheart and he’s incredible; having him and Paul together is like a lethal combination- I’m so sore I can hardly move.
Q: Can you talk about who’s being chased in the big chase scene everyone’s been mentioning?
A: We’re being chased. Me and Milla and Johann and Kevin. We’re all in the car together. We spent like 5 days in the car together.
Q: Is it the Rolls-Royce thing?
A: Exactly. And that is just unbelievable; they’re all coming after us, this whole army of undead. You know they’re motorized now and lethal with like these creatures. It’s amazing. And Paul, you know, he literally shot the movie. He animated it and finished it. So every frame of the movie has already been produced so we can actually watch what we’re doing before we’re doing; it’s incredible. You could really release that as an animated movie and it looks fantastic.
Q: As the grosses go up and you’re bringing new audience members in for each film, what about this film do you think will be the most attractive to someone who hasn’t seen any of the prior films?
A: They’ve done an amazing job prepping the audience. Even in cases where they haven’t seen the first 16 movies (laughs). 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. 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; Paul is a master of that.
Q: A lot of the characters have a good version and a bad version. A dual thing. Do you have a bad version?
A: 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 knows! I don’t know. We’ll see. (laughs)
Q: Have you talked to Paul about the sixth one? Does this seem intrinsically connected with that film?
A: Yeah, it is. It’s also connected just from an economic standpoint because Sony is very excited about this franchise. So there were actually talks about shooting both of them at the same time, back to back which they abandoned at the last minute.
Q: So the script for the next one actually exists?
A: I don’t think he’s written it, but I think it’s very prominent in his head. He’s told me about it, so I think he already knows in broad strokes what the 6th one is going to look like.
Q: Why do you think the Resident Evil movies have done so well whereas other video game adaptations from Hollywood have failed?
A: Good question. I don’t think there’s a formula; I think it’s just a roll of the dice. But I also think that Paul is a great storyteller and I think sometimes other people rely too much on the video game as a content that will stand alone. There are certain elements that have to fit for it to come alive because people want to root for somebody; people want to be invested in somebody and I think Milla is the perfect hero to carry this franchise. She brings everything to the table. She brings hardcore ‘kickassness’, Clint Eastwood-ness to the character.
Q: Meaning what?
A: Meaning (imitates deep Eastwood voice) ‘she talks like this’ which is cool. She’s the anchor and she pulls it all together. Also this post-apocalyptic thing that people always sort of romanticize in a way also has a lot to do with it and I think now that we’ve sort of got into a nice rhythm, starting with number four, where the awareness has changed from just sort of provincial video game fans to the actual general public are interested too.
Q: Which is weird because it’s usually diminishing returns by the time people get to five.
A: Yeah, I think the video game audience was huge in the beginning, but now it’s caught on to general audiences so I think it’s still going to grow. And then there’s going to be a movie that’s called Luther West 3D. (Laughs)
Written and directed by Paul Anderson, Re5ident Evil: Retribution stars Milla Jovovich, Boris Kodjoe, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand, Shawn Roberts, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Johann Urb, and Colin Salmon. Look for Re5ident Evil: Retribution in theatres on September 14, 2012 from Screen Gems.
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