Paul W.S. Anderson is known for creating the most frenzied upon and successful franchise of Resident Evil movies is in conversation with us. He shares his journey of 15 years of making Resident Evil movies working with wife Milla, and also about his love for Bollywood movies. Watch the latest part of the franchise, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter on March 24 at 9.30 AM on Sony PIX.
You have managed to pull off 6 resident evil movies, what do you think it is about the movie that has resonated with so many people?
I think we make good movies. That is the most important thing as these movies were made with a lot of love, care and attention. People tend to appreciate such movies which were made from heart and there are many reasons the movie resonates with so many people. One of them being that we made 6 different kinds of movies, if you look at the movies the one thing that the franchise didn’t do was stand still at one concept. It constantly evolved and changed and tried to deliver a kind of different experience for each movie within the world of Resident Evil to the people who were watching them. From the first frame to the last frame Milla was on the run from the forces of the Chris Redfield and the Umbrella Corporation. So each movie is kind of being structured, shot and delivered in a different kind of way which has kept the experience fresh which is why we have continued this series for a 15 year period. People felt that each of the experience was different and not rehashed from previous movies.
What is it like to work with your wife on the sets? What are the pros and cons of it?
There are only pros to it. Milla is an amazing committed actress and any director who gets to work with her is a very lucky man or woman. She is a real asset to the production. She has a lot of enthusiasm and passion towards what she does.
When it comes to adapting a movie based on a video game, what challenges did you face?
I think the biggest challenge is to please the displaced audience, there is a group of people who are hardcore fans and know everything about the game Resident Evil and then there is the more mainstream who don’t know anything about the video game so you have to deliver a movie appeals to both these groups of people because if you make it too much for the hardcore fans then the mainstream audience will feel excluded to a point that they would not think that such a movie is not for them. Also, if you don’t put enough efforts for the hardcore fans they feel bad that the adaptation isn’t true enough. So one has to really walk a fine line between the two and it’s difficult to do and that’s why most of the game adaptation don’t really work. As a genre they have more failures than successes.
How has Milla shaped “Alice” over all six movies? How has she evolved as an actress through the sequels?
One thing about Milla consistently is that she has been amazing to work with. We have done so many things together over the years. Every time I ask her to stand in the middle of a freezing cold street in a sub zero temperatures when we make it rain on her and she is freezing and is in great physical discomfort. I always felt terrible and apologised to her and her usual answer is don’t worry you have done much worse to me. One of the nice things is that she has evolved as an actress, as a person over that period of time. She had children which have made her kind of a protective mother lion character and I think it has a fierceness to her which was maybe missing when we started making the movies. For me, she has become a better actress as well and now she is this terrific actress whose depth of the performance has found new ways to deepen over the years. The great thing about her is that she is really committed which is what you need in a movie like this because there a lot of zombies who are not really scary. She makes the movies work and they would work if it wasn’t for her core performance.
What are your thoughts on Indian cinema and Indian actors?
I was exposed to Indian culture very young, although I grew up in North England but my best friend since then and still my best friend is an Indian who moved to England with his parents. Some of my earliest memories like, his mum and dad giving me a lift and always listening to cassette player playing Bollywood music and we also would watch Bollywood movies. So I grew exposed to Bollywood very early and I really liked it because there is a real flamboyant energy to it. I am really led by the visuals, energy and by flamboyance in the movies I watch and I think those three words pretty much describe the Bollywood cinema.