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Before their panel at WonderCon in Anaheim, director Paul W.S. Anderson and his wife, actress Milla Jovovich, met with reporters to discuss Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth film in the franchise based on the hit survival-horror video game series.
Asked how the making of Retribution differed from that of the previous installment, Jovovich cited Anderson’s unique marriage of visual effects and stunt work. “It was absolute insanity because what Paul did in this movie, and is continuing to do, has literally never been done before,” she said.
“It was on a more epic scale than the last movie,” the director added. “That was one of the things I wanted to do. I felt that if we were going to make another one, we were really going to have to step up our game and kind of raise the bar and make a truly epic, global, post-apocalyptic film.”
Describing the film as having a grand scale that previously hasn’t been seen in the franchise, Anderson explained how he was able to achieve that sense of globalization. “It involved lots of trekking around the world. We had location shoots in Moscow, in Tokyo, Times Square, Washington, D.C., you know, we’re out in snow and ice in northern Russia,” he said. “I mean, it was a global shoot. The poster says, ‘Evil Goes Global,’ and it’s not kidding.”
Anderson confirmed that Retribution employed 3D cameras using new rigs designed and built by his director of photography. “In pre-production he came to me and he said, ‘Paul, I’m tired of hearing you complain about things you can’t do with these 3D rigs, so what I’m going to do is, I’m going to build you a 3D rig that can do what you want.’”
“We have these cameras strapped to the side of vehicles that are going at 70, 80 miles an hour going into crash scenes,” he said. “Things that have never, ever been done with 3D rigs before because it just wasn’t possible.”
Because everything was designed and built specifically to meet the needs of the film, Anderson also made a bold prediction. “I really believe Afterlife had spectacular 3D, but this movie’s going to have the best 3D you’re going to see this year,” he said. “I just know it is because we went to such lengths to really push the envelope with 3D.”
The pair was asked what fans would see at the WonderCon panel. “We’re going to show a four-minute clip, which is an action scene, which is a clip – it’s a chunk straight out of the movie — because I didn’t want to just show another trailer,” he said. “I wanted to show like a piece of the film.”
“And the set is so amazing!” Jovovich added. “This is all coming out of Paul’s brain — like these sets — and when you see it, you’ll understand. It was a hot set – like burning-hot set.”
“It looks unbelievably gorgeous, but it was very difficult to work in, as Milla said, the heat, and also it’s made out of glass,” Anderson explained. “So, when these people have to take a tumble and, like, hit — they’re, like, slamming into a mixture of glass and metal. There’s no rubber or anything because the whole thing is illuminated.”
That particular sequence took a week and a half to shoot, and the director was pleased to be working with a revered stunt team from Japan. “We flew them in from Tokyo and they’re just awesome,” he said. “These men and women are the toughest stunt people I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s unbelievable what they would do.”
Resident Evil: Retribution opens Sept. 14.