Resident Evil: Afterlife Director Paul W.S. Anderson Is Hooked on 3D
Resident Evil: Afterlife has earned over $210 million worldwide and is still opening in new territories, paving the way for a fifth film in the videogame franchise. Writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson has parlayed his love of videogames into a successful film career. His low-budget Resident Evil video game adaptation launched a film franchise that has no end in sight. The director, who also brought the AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Mortal Kombat game franchises to the big screen, has had success infusing films like Event Horizon and Death Race with action and horror elements from games.
With Resident Evil: Afterlife, Anderson, who has written and produced all four films, returned to the director’s chair for the first 3D video game adaptation. Anderson, who used the same Fusion camera system that James Cameron pioneered for Avatar, added some new bells and whistles to the technology, including a NASA Phantom camera system that introduces slow-motion 3D action.
Anderson was so sold on 3D filmmaking with Resident Evil: Afterlife that he’s now filming exclusively in 3D. The director, who is currently filming Summit Entertainment’s Three Musketeers in Germany, talks about the impact 3D has had on him as a filmmaker and explains why his Three Musketeers adaptation could be compared to Superbad in this exclusive interview from Comic-Con.
With so many video game adaptations failures at the box office, what do you think the secret to success is?
As a filmmaker, I'm definitely immersed in the world of Resident Evil, so even though we're choosing to tell slightly different stories and introduce some different characters, the movies are very much immersed in the video game world. You can see it from the way they're shot to what the production design looks like, to what the costumes look like. This is clearly a franchise made by people who know the intellectual property that it's based upon very, very well. I think it infuses the whole movie with the feeling of Resident Evil that I think the fans know is authentic.
Do you think Hollywood still doesn’t take videogames seriously?
Well, it always surprises me when sometimes people who direct video game adaptations say that they never played the video game. I'm like, “No wonder you didn't manage to capture what the fans like about the video game.” It didn't surprise me when Prince of Persia -- I haven't seen it yet, but people say it's very disappointing -- didn’t do the business they were hoping. The director (Mike Newell) was very vocal about the fact he never played the video game. And for me, that's like adapting a book without reading the book or adapting a stage play and never seeing the stage play. I think it's disrespectful to the medium, and it's disrespectful to the original source material, and ultimately, it doesn't make the best movie.
Following the success of Avatar, how are you pushing 3D filmmaking in new directions with this film?
We were the first people to slave two Phantom slow motion cameras together for 3D. These cameras allowed us to do uber-slow motion. They were developed by NASA as a scientific tool to detect minute cracks and stress fractures in the heat resistant tiles on the space shuttle. To give you an idea, your average high speed film camera will go up to 120 frames per second. This will shoot 1,000 frames per second, which is unbelievable for rainfall and explosions. We really captured a lot of stuff in 3D that looks truly stunning. The opening of the movie is in Shibuya and it's all in the rain and it looks so beautiful. And the fight scene between the executioner and Claire Redfield (Ali Later) and Alice (Jovovich) is done in a mix of slow motion and real-time and I think it's just fantastic.
What will you be bringing to the table with your new Three Musketeers adaptation?
Even though this is the latest re-telling of the Three Musketeers, I think it's in some ways going to be the most truthful tone to what Dumas originally wrote in serialized form. For example, Logan Lerman is going to be the first teenager who's ever been cast as D'Artagnan, who is 18 in the book. The king is 17 years old and he doesn't know anything about sex, and he doesn't know anything about women, and he's intimidated by his wife. So it's a tiny step between that and Superbad.