It’s only been four years and change since Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich wrapped up their six-film series with The Final Chapter, but 1990s-set reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is coming to theaters on Wednesday, where it’s shaping up to be a completely different beast.
Writer/director Johannes Roberts has stayed true to the source material by creating a gory horror movie, removing almost all of the action and sci-fi elements that characterized the previous spin on the property. Along for the ride are a talented cast of rising stars and veteran character actors, many of whom have been fans of Resident Evil since the very beginning.
Ahead of Raccoon City‘s release, We Got This Covered had the chance to speak to stars Tom Hopper and Avan Jogia about the film, their Resident Evil fandom and those 007 rumors that have started to follow the former around, which you can check out below.
Is it in the back of your mind that the characters you guys play in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City mean so much to so many people, and there’s going to be fans that have been following the series for 20 years examining everything you guys do in detail?
Avan Jogia: Yeah. I mean, yeah, we’re members of that group of fans as well as being in it! We just happen to be in the movie as well. I played like, you know, probably hundreds of hours of Resident Evil. I know, Tom, was on Resident Evil 1. And then of course, we’ve gone on since subsequently, and I’ve gone back and played games that I didn’t grow up with, like Village and some of the later titles and… yeah. I mean, it’s cool to be part of something that everyone is so passionate about, you know?
Tom Hopper: I think the key thing is, well, is that you know because we are fans, we’re very sensitive to what the fans are going to want. And I think also what we wanted to try and do was not just a very basic version of it. Like Johannes, who wrote script and directed the movie is a massive fan of the franchise, the gaming franchise, so it was always something very much in the forefront of our minds. And what we wanted to create was real three-dimensional characters within that world that people love so much.
So as fans of the games, if sequels do happen, are there any moments, storylines, characters or Easter Eggs you’d love to see make their way to the big screen?
Avan Jogia: Oh, there’s so much that’s already on the big screen. I mean, so much that I’m, you know, you’re playing in the basement. I’m in a basement set, and now I’m there with Kaya [Scodelario], who plays Claire Redfield. And, in the back, deep back, no one’s gonna notice this except for me and maybe like some eagle-eyed person, but there’s one of the green herbs that you use to heal yourself in the deep background, and there’s a blue one, and a red one, in different sets all over the movie.
There’s the save points, typewriters, all over the movie. And I was literally like, ‘Oh, I gotta pick up this green herb for later’. And I had that moment of like, ‘No, I don’t need to do that. This is not a video game. This is me doing my job right now’. So yeah, that was very surreal for me, and for somebody who loves the games and loves the franchise and that sort of attention to detail, I felt it really, the props department specifically, were pulling out all of the stops.
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Was it difficult to separate the fan from the actor, just if something catches your eye when you’re on set, and you end up getting distracted because there’s Easter Eggs in pretty much every frame?
Tom Hopper: Yeah, you gotta drop it straight away. Because you’ve got to get it out of your system. You get on the set, and you go, ‘Right, there’s that, there’s that, what? Oh my god, is that? Oh, wow’. Like, I was doing it with the palm pilot. I was like, ‘It’s so cool!’. Like showing everyone you know, and then you’ve got to get it out of your system.
Avan Jogia: You gotta get secret messages from it, you know?
Tom Hooper: Exactly! Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think there’s obviously that element of getting the fanboy out of you before you start shooting. Then go, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a character in the movie. I forgot about that bit. Better go do that now’.
At least you managed it, because it must have been a real thrill for you guys to have grown up with the games, and then gotten to play as the characters you’ve grown up with, and then hopefully doing that across multiple films?
Tom Hopper: Yeah. You know, I think, and especially… we get to do our versions of them, it’s using them as brilliant source material and knowing that you, you grew up with them, it’s all back there, it’s all here when you’re playing it. So to then bring your version of it to life in Johannes’ work, there’s something really exciting about that.
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One final question that isn’t exactly related to Resident Evil, and it’s directed more towards you, Tom, but I’d love to hear Avan’s thoughts on it as well. Did you know that multiple betting sites currently have you installed as the favorite to be the next James Bond.
Tom Hopper: Yeah, I’ve heard that and that’s…. that’s all I’ve heard.
Avan Jogia: Well, I’d put my money on that. I’d watch that! I’d go see that!
Tom Hopper: I mean, any British actor will be lying if they say that James Bond wasn’t up there as a dream role. So, you know, it’s very nice to be in that conversation, you know, among betting websites….
Avan Jogia: I like that it’s betting sites. It’s not just, like, an opinion piece. Like, Vegas odds have you.
That concludes our interview with Tom Hopper and Avan Jogia. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City comes to theaters this Wednesday, November 24, and you can check out our interview with director Johannes Roberts here.