Believe it or not, the undead in Resident Evil: Retribution can shoot guns and ride motorcycles now, which — if you haven't been following the games — is a big step forward in the evolution of zombies for this franchise. We spoke with Retribution director and Resident Evil head honcho Paul W.S. Anderson about his new breed of undead and asked him to truthfully answer, "How is each movie different?"
So there are smart zombies in this movie. Sorry, T-Virus things…
Paul W.S. Anderson: They're as smart as they can get, they're not that intelligent. In the games there's this thing called the Las Plagas virus. The Las Plagas parasite, which when you're infected you kind of look like an undead, but you still have a level of intelligence and motor skills. And what that allowed the game-makers (and now us, the filmmakers) to do is allow your zombies to shoot machine guns and ride motorcycles. And that's a good thing because it kind of ups the ante as far as our survivors are concerned.
This movie has a whole range of the undead. When we started making Resident Evil films, we started making them with the kind of undead that were in the games. And in the first couple of Resident Evil games, they were these slow, shambling zombies. They moved very much like the George Romero zombies. Then the zombies sped up — they started running and moving a little like the 28 Days Later infected. And in Resident Evil 5 (the game), suddenly they started to be able to use weapons. That puts Milla and Michelle and the rest of them under even more of a threat.
What have you learned looking back on five years of making these movies?
Working with the undead is fun. It's fun. I've always had the believe that if you're going to make a successful franchise each movie in the franchise has to develop in some way. It has to evolve, it has to be different. You can't ever go backwards. You can't remake the same movie over and over again, otherwise you're dooming your franchise to a lesser and lesser audience and diminishing returns. So I had this belief that we should try and make different movies. For me, the first movie is a haunted house movie, very contained in the one mansion. The second movie was more of an expansive action movie. The third movie I kind of fashioned as a road movie almost, with that convoy moving around all the time. And the fourth movie I wanted to make a siege movie, where the characters become trapped in the prison. In a narrative way, at its heart, each of the movies are very, very different. And that seems to have paid off, because the audiences have reacted to that. This movie, the intention is to make a truly epic, global movie — kind of like the epic movies that I kind of grew up watching as a kid. To make the first truly epic, post-apocalyptic movie.
We saw a new kind of White House in the trailer. Who is running the White House now?
It's a surprise. Let me tell you he's not an elected official though.
Was fake-marrying Oded and Milla for the fans?
Listen, I think the opening of the last trailer we released where you see Milla and Oded as a married couple with a child, it's awesome. I love that trailer because it felt like we made a Fox Searchlight comedy thing. And then suddenly it goes horribly wrong, which is sort of what happens in the movie. They only have a happy life for a little while.