Exclusive: Paul W.S. Anderson Discusses Resident Evil: Retribution, Future Franchise Plans and More

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It’s hard to believe that it has been over 10 years since writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson first collaborated with his now wife Milla Jovovich on the surprise hit indie video game adaptation Resident Evil.

The film earned more than $100 million in box office receipts, more than triple the flick’s budget.

This Friday, September 14th, the fourth sequel in the series – Resident Evil: Retribution – is set to invade theaters everywhere in 3D and reunites Alice (Jovovich) with many familiar franchise faces, including Michelle Rodriguez, Boris Kodjoe, Oded Fehr and Sienna Guillory, as well as introducing a handful of newcomers including Johann Urb, Kevin Durand, Li BingBing and Aryana Engineer.

During a recent press day for the film, Dread Central had the opportunity to chat exclusively with Anderson about Resident Evil: Retribution, why he feels like this one has some of the “scariest franchise moments ever” and whether or not he’d want to return for a sixth and final Resident Evil.

Check out our interview with Anderson below, and look for more on Resident Evil: Retribution all this week!

Exclusive: Paul W.S. Anderson Discusses Resident Evil: Retribution, Future Franchise Plans and More

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Dread Central: First of all, it was great to initially meet you back in December on set; seeing that world on the sound stage and now seeing how you brought it to life- I have to say that it really looked fantastic. Congrats on pulling that off!

Paul W.S. Anderson: Oh thank you very much! The crew hated me – HATED ME – because of all that shit flying around in the air (laughs). It was tough, though; plus the actors were freezing because there was real snow on the ground and we always kept it cold there (on the sound stage). It’s nice to know all that paid off (laughs).

Dread Central: So what was the deciding factor in returning to direct Resident Evil: Retribution and what was different for you this time around, considering your involvement in this franchise since the very beginning?

Paul W.S. Anderson: I think part of it was because we had ended Afterlife with such a cool cliffhanger that I almost felt obliged to come back and pay off that build-up. Plus, when you end something with that kind of imagery, you’d be cheating fans if you didn’t deliver on the epic battle that it suggests, and I wanted to be part of that. So Retribution was always going to be a direct continuation from the last film. So in some ways directing was a linear decision.

What I do think IS unexpected in this movie is the returning characters from earlier in the franchise, all of whom died of course. So Michelle Rodriguez is back, Oded Fehr is back, a whole bunch of other characters… they’re back, too, but this time they’re not only playing their normal characters, they’re playing other versions of them as well. So for me that was one of the most interesting things about Retribution.

That, plus Milla playing two very different versions of her Alice character, really made this appealing to me as a director. There’s ‘Battle Alice’ who has the black suit on and is ready, right there beside you to fight, and then there’s ‘Suburban Alice’ who has no weapons, no training and has a small child to take care of. Seeing ‘Suburban Alice’ sort of deal with this global outbreak is one of the strongest moments in the movie. I’m quite proud of this movie because I think it has the best jumps and scares of the whole franchise, and I think that comes partly from robbing Alice of all her powers and training that makes her very relatable to audiences.

Hands down, the ‘Suburban Alice’ section of Retribution has some of the scariest moments we’ve ever done in this series.

Dread Central: What I enjoyed about those scenes is that tonally they felt like a bit of a departure for the franchise; was that a conscientious decision on your part considering those were the moments where we’re seeing Alice in an entirely new world?

Paul W.S. Anderson: Yeah, Resident Evil – at its heart – is science fiction/action horror so I do feel like there has always been horror in there. But yes, that section was a bit different because it was terrifying on an entirely different level than these movies have been before.

Dread Central: I know you never want to put the cart before the horse or anything, but if everything goes well with Resident Evil: Retribution, do you see there being potential for one more movie that would tie up Alice’s story and this world?

Paul W.S. Anderson: I think we’ve always approached the Resident Evil movies with the idea that you can never take a sequel for granted because if this movie doesn’t work, then there won’t be a sequel so we always try to tell stories that have a satisfying ending. And I think that Retribution has a very good story conclusion to it, but of course there’s that little epigram at the end- THAT does suggest that there might be another movie. I mean, I would certainly like to make one because I feel like I would want to tie up this whole Resident Evil universe.

Dread Central: So has ‘evil’ really gone global then?

Paul W.S. Anderson: Evil really HAS gone global (laughs), and that’s what I wanted to do with this movie: to make a truly epic post-apocalyptic movie that we could make on a grand global scale. We now have apocalypses spread around the globe in Retribution so now is definitely the time for mankind to fight back big time, or otherwise it could mean the end.

Written and directed by Paul Anderson, Resident Evil: Retribution stars Milla Jovovich, Boris Kodjoe, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand, Shawn Roberts, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Johann Urb, and Colin Salmon. Look for Resident Evil: Retribution in theatres on September 14, 2012, from Screen Gems.

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.

Exclusive: Paul W.S. Anderson Discusses Resident Evil: Retribution, Future Franchise Plans and More

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  • MonsterMash

    Don’t pick on Heather. Trying to interview this man must be hard. Try thinking of a question to ask him besides “why do your movies suck?” In under four minutes. Not only that, the question has to be polite and professional. She didn’t do a bad job.

  • thehorrorchick

    Wow…so now my professionalism is under criticism? Awesome.

    I personally enjoy a lot of Anderson’s flicks (not all of them) and think he’s an interesting filmmaker so those are my feelings on that.

    For those of you who are unaware of how junkets go, I basically walk into a room and have four minutes to talk to any given talent so I have to go in there, know what I want to ask and find a way to make it interesting for me and them as well as make it so they’re not being asked the same question for the thousandth time (or at least ask it in a more interesting way) during an insanely brief amount of time.

    Before the interview we were joking about the poster and tagline (Evil Goes Global) so that’s why I made that reference at the end…and no one has ever given me a single question to ask during an interview- hell, not even Steve. I’ve been doing my own thing for over five years now in the horror community and I’m fucking proud of my work ethic and my ability to conduct interviews that aren’t the same thing over and over again.

    Just seems to me that there’s a lot of people who don’t like this franchise complaining here which again, makes no sense to me. Why read an interview with a filmmaker you don’t like? I’ve probably written hundreds by now with filmmakers you do like so go read those (I did a great two-parter with Friedkin recently). Or is it easier to just shit all over these interviews because you hate the series?

    • Vanvance1

      I’m pretty sure a lot of people just hate this series.

      As for Anderson, I fondly remember Soldier and I loved Event Horizon but I don’t think he’ll make another good film.

    • Lino

      By that same token, why give the oxygen of publicity to a hack director selling yet another episode in a soulless franchise that appeals to mouth breathing idiots?

      • Uncle Creepy

        Sorry Lino, the site isn’t written specifically for people who don’t like Paul Anderson movies.

        • Lino

          OK, I’ll hold my hands up, you get an invite to a junket you go, you guys aren’t stupid, but surely there can’t be THAT many people who visit this site who ARE Anderson fans are there?

          I do love everyone though. Except, for, you know, certain director/producers..

          • Uncle Creepy

            You’d be surprised, dude. Someone keeps making these flicks number one at the box office every year.

          • Terminal

            The RE movies are so broadly written and explody it doesn’t surprise me. Shit the Transformers movies were humongous moneymakers.

  • Uncle Creepy

    Guys, I mean what the fuck? I’m no Paul Anderson fan either, but when you go into a junket to interview someone you have to put your feelings aside and do the work. It’s called professionalism. There are fans of these flicks and we have to keep that in mind when doing our jobs. No one is feeding questions or kissing up. It’s work. For fuck’s sake. You wanna direct your displeasure, direct it at the subject.

    • Terminal

      Odd, I thought I did. I mocked the press agent and the movie in general.

  • LSD Zombie

    Will somebody please stop this man’s madness? The fucker is probably going to keep doing these until he reaches number 10.

    • Terminal

      The audience for the RE movies respond to them like simians mesmerized by a jingling set of keys before they’re fed bananas. It’s shiny and loud and it’s hard to resist. Plot? Acting? Writing? Who gives a shit when you have sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooow mooooooooooooooooooootion!

  • Terminal

    “So has ‘evil’ really gone global then?”

    Oh come on! Who made you ask that question for their press kits? That’s junky sound byte fluff. Geez. I can almost hear the press agent leaning over and saying “Be sure to ask him if “evil” has really gone global. We need something for the magazines.”

    Another interview solely intended as a commercial for what’s sure to be another god awful entry in Jovovich porn from Anderson.

  • Lino

    Must of been pretty hard conducting that interview with your heads so far up Anderson’s arse..

  • Shambling_in_Bandages

    “…so we always try to tell stories that have a satisfying ending.”

    He’s kidding, right? They all end on massive fucking unresolved cliffhangers!

  • Rottenjesus

    Then at the end of the interview Joel Schumacher bursts out of his chest and everything explodes into flame and we never ever have to see another shitty W.S. Anderson movie ever again.