Though you’re no doubt aware of the Resident Evil film series’ existence, what you may not know is that the franchise—which takes place in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and follows Milla Jovovich’s Alice as she takes on the shady Umbrella organization—is actually one of the most successful video game adaptations ever made. After the release of the first film in 2002, the following three sequels each grossed more than their predecessor, topping out at nearly $300 million for Resident Evil: Afterlife. Though the last installment, Residence Evil: Retribution, fell about $50 million short of Afterlife, it still raked in an impressive $240 million worldwide. Fans have been eager for information regarding the next film—including whether it might be the last—and now we have some revealing updates about Resident Evil 6 to share straight from director/franchise godfather Paul W.S. Anderson.
Steve recently landed an exclusive interview with Anderson, who revealed that he’s currently in the midst of writing the first draft for Resident Evil 6, which is tentatively titled Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Yes, it appears that the series is indeed coming to a close. Hit the jump for much more.
Though there were previously rumors that Resident Evil 6 would be in theaters as soon as September 2014, that is obviously not the case as production hasn’t even begun yet. Anderson told us that he’s currently in the middle of writing the script, and revealed the tentative titled for what’s shaping up to be the concluding chapter of the series:
“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the working title. It may end up being the final title, but that’s what’s written on the front page of my script… I’m right in the middle of [the first draft].”
Though the film is certainly a “go”, Anderson said they haven’t yet set a production start-date:
“There are no set dates for shooting yet. I think we’re waiting until we have a first draft screenplay and then go from there.”
As for the release date, that’s apparently dependent upon when the script is finished as well:
“I don’t know [when it will be in theaters], depends how fast I write, I guess. There’s no set date yet but hopefully we’ll have an announcement for that soon.”
The title of the film would seem to imply that this the end for Resident Evil as a film series, and Steve asked Anderson if the filmmaker is writing the script as if it’s the concluding chapter:
“That’s what’s on the title page, it’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, so absolutely.”
Anderson was mum on plot details, but he did confirm that he’s writing the script with 3D in mind:
“I firmly believe that you have to start thinking about the 3D even in the writing process. You cannot make a great 3D movie by just—it’s not some special sauce that you can sprinkle on. You make the dish and then you make hot sauce on top—it doesn’t work well like that. Yes, you can do a last minute conversion. You can not shoot the movie thinking about 3D and do a last minute conversion and it can be a 3D movie, it’s just not gonna be a great 3D movie. I approach my films right from the inception, I kind of write action scenes and pick out locations that I think and know—because I’ve done so much of it—will translate very well into 3D. Then when we build the sets, we build sets that I know will shoot well in 3D. It’s really, even from this point, 3D is something I’m definitely thinking about.”
We’ll have more from Steve’s interview with Anderson on Collider soon, but for now you can read the full portion of the conversation pertaining to Resident Evil below.
Collider: From what I understand, you’re calling it Resident Evil: Rising?
PAUL W.S. ANDERSON: No. It’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the working title. It may be the final title, but that’s what’s written on the front page of my script.
Where are you in the writing process? Have you finished the first draft?
ANDERSON: No. I’m right in the middle of it.
Do you have a start date or are you still figuring that out?
ANDERSON: No, there are no set dates for shooting yet. I think we’re waiting until we have a first draft screenplay and then go from there.
The few times we’ve spoken about Resident Evil, you mentioned that this one would most likely be the final installment. Is that still the case, are you writing with the knowledge that this is probably the last installment?
ANDERSON: That’s what’s on the title page, it’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, so absolutely.
Well, you never know. It’s a very successful franchise, things can change.
ANDERSON: As Christopher Lambert famously said, “There can be only one.” And then there were five of them (laughs).
When you started with Resident Evil and this franchise began, when did you realize you were sitting on something that really resonated with so many people around the world?
ANDERSON: I think it was an organic thing. As you probably know, when we set up the first movie, we didn’t even have an American deal for the first film until half way through principal photography. It was a movie that was entirely financed internationally and Sony only kind of distributed it in North America. And then of course I became much more involved in the movie afterwards, but I always referred to it as “the little movie that could.” Because at the time, it as a movie that no one really wanted, that no one was excited about, it was based on a video game and for a while there, since Mortal Kombat, there hadn’t been any successful video game adaptations. Although, me returning to that genre obviously gave it a better chance than most.
There was still skepticism about whether that was the kind of valid thing to do to that video games to movies. It was quite soon after Columbine, so it was a video game that was known to be very violent and there was a big backlash against that, and I wanted to make it an R-rated movie and that was very unfashionable at the time. There was lots of things against it and we poured a lot of love and energy into making the best movie we could. And then, I think the movie over performed, it did better than everyone thought it was going to. So, that’s why I kind of referred it to as “the little movie that could,” it’s like the little engine that slowly, it managed to get up the hill, it kept pushing and pushing and pushing. And kind of that’s what the franchise has done, it’s continued to grow and grow and grow a fanbase.
Obviously when I returned to the director, we made a big jump with Afterlife, in terms of the kind of audience that we managed to reach. I don’t think there was any one moment where we suddenly went, “Ah! This thing is huge!” We just continued to make the movies on a kind of one by one basis and try to do as well as we could. And then the thing kind of grew organically, it grew an audience with it, I think.
I know you’re a huge proponent of 3D, and you’ve had some fun with your recent movies, especially Resident Evil. As you’re writing this final installment, are you already envisioning certain things in 3D?
ANDERSON: My approach is very much kind of, I firmly believe that you have to start thinking about the 3D even in the writing process. You cannot make a great 3D movie by just—it’s not some special sauce that you can sprinkle on. You make the dish and then you make hot sauce on top—it doesn’t work well like that. Yes, you can do a last minute conversion. You can not shoot the movie thinking about 3D and do a last minute conversion and it can be a 3D movie, it’s just not gonna be a great 3D movie.
I approach my films right from the inception, I kind of write action scenes and pick out locations that I think and know—because I’ve done so much of it—will translate very well into 3D. Then when we build the sets, we build sets that I know will shoot well in 3D. It’s really, even from this point, 3D is something I’m definitely thinking about. And I think it’s one of the things that people really appreciate about the movies that I’m involved with. Even if you don’t like any other aspect of them, I think the one thing that most people do agree on is the 3D looks fantastic and that’s really good news. We take a lot of care over it and it is right from the outset, when you start scouting for locations I’ve got the 3D in mind. When I’m writing action scenes, I’ve got 3D in mind as to how it will be blocked and how the 3D will work.
Have you noticed anything in the last year or two in terms of 3D technology, that has really pushed the boundaries of what you can accomplish?
ANDERSON: I’ve been very closely tied to these new ways of 3D. We were shooting Resident Evil: Afterlife before Avatar came out and we were using the equipment Cameron had built for Avatar. But since then, I’ve used a big variety of other rigs and we built a lot of technology, and I think pushed the technology along a lot. Again, this is commercial-based but I did a commercial with Christoph Waltz, the Deutsche Telekom, which was a day in the life of a city and I chose L.A., because I just love L.A. It was all time-lapsed photography, and that had never really been done in 3D before. We had to build all these motion control time lapse rigs, which were built especially for the commercial. It only showed in theaters in Europe but it’s beautiful. We built a lot of rigs for 3D and also on the last couple of movies, Glen MacPherson and Vern Nobles who I worked with on first and second unit, they’ve got a lot of rigs for me. I’ve noticed the technology’s come along in leaps and bounds, considering I shot Afterlife in 2009, it’s really only five years. The equipment is like been liberated from being attached to computer powers, it’s become smaller, more flexible, you can accommodate wider angle lenses. It changes dramatically every year. I wouldn’t say this year more than any other, every year I feel like there’s been major changes in the kind of technology that you can use.
We put up an article this morning that Michael Bay used these new IMAX 3D 4K digital cameras for the new Transformers movie. Is that something you’d want to use for the next Resident Evil?
ANDERSON: The last movie I did we shot 5K and it’s a fantastic—obviously, the more resolution you can get as the filmmaker the better, because it just makes for a better image and it makes for more flexibility as well. Because you can kind of over-frame an image, you can shoot more than you actually need and then move around within that frame during postproduction. I don’t know. Like I said, I work from the script upwards. I mean, if there’s something that I think would be enhanced by shooting with IMAX cameras, I would definitely consider it.
For a long time you were so passionate about Pompeii and you were able to make the movie. Is there another film in your back pocket or another script that you’ve been sitting on that you really want to do? Or are you going to take a look at other scripts after Resident Evil?
ANDERSON: No, I’m developing stuff right now. There’s a couple of properties that I’m in the middle of auctioning that I don’t want to talk about. I absolutely will as soon as I’ve crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s but I’m definitely kind of looking at what to do next.
Have you had other video game properties or people coming at you saying, “I think this could be the next Resident Evil” or “I think you’d be perfect for this video game franchise?”
ANDERSON: I have been offered other video games themselves. I think because I’m probably so associated with Resident Evil, I think there’s probably a reluctance to make another video game movie and I will also kind of feel that reluctance as well. That’s the video game franchise I’m associated with right now and that’s really what I want to do and put all of my energy into. And I’m very happy with the way I’ve managed to alternate between doing video game-based movie and then a historical-based movie or a a piece of literature. I wouldn’t want to do video game movie after video game movie.
The comic book genre right now is the most popular one on the planet. Have you thought at all about doing a comic book movie? Is that something that interests you?
ANDERSON: Yeah, I definitely looked at comic books that I enjoy and I don’t have plans to adapt one right now. But my house is packed full of comic books, which you can probably see from the movies I make—the comic book kind of imagery and framing. Graphic novels in particular have had a huge influence on my visual style. In fact, when they weren’t quite so popular, they’ve always been popular in my house.
Do you think Resident Evil could be in theaters in 2015 or do you think it’s gonna be 2016 when it finally gets released?
ANDERSON: I don’t know, depends how fast I write, I guess. There’s no set date yet but hopefully we’ll have an announcement for that soon.