Ever since Capcom revolutionized the survival horror genre in video games in 1996 with Resident Evil for Sony's PlayStation, the popular franchise not only remained a staple for the next 25 years within the industry and ported over several consoles, but it also spawned a live-action film franchise by Paul W. S. Anderson of the same name starting in 2002. While audiences endeared to the film series' protagonist Alice in Mila Jovovich, the series was a loose adaptation deviating heavily from the games. Now the film reboot will re-explore the events of the first two games in a cinematic form called Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Star Tom Hopper, who plays S.T.A.R.S. police force leader Albert Wesker, spoke to Collider about his involvement and how production recreated the games.
Recreating the Resident Evil Video Game Experience for Film
"I think fans of the game will be happy, but at the same time, I think they should recognize that we want to make these characters as real and as grounded as possible… I feel like the Wesker in the game obviously has that [Agent] Smith from The Matrix type idea," Hopper said. "I wanted him to be a bit more three-dimensional than that and have a moral high ground. It's not just as cut and dry as it is in the game. There's an origin element to Wesker in this, and what he maybe was before he turned into the one we see in a lot of the games. But I think from an aesthetic point of view; I think the games really influence this well. It is an aesthetic that, certainly when we were shooting it, that I was like, 'Man, it feels like the game.' I'm really hoping that fans of the game take something nice away from it, that it's the game plus more. Plus more of a depth to these characters."
Hopper also opened up about how director Johannes Roberts will visit the first game's landmark, the Spencer Mansion. "It was a bit like going into one of those VR things where you go into the VR world," he said. "That's what it was like; it was like playing the game. Especially 'cause we're all geared up with our guns and stuff, it was pretty cool… We all looked at each other and went, 'Oh shit, it's so cool.'" The actor reflected on what Roberts told him in his notes.
"There have been previous films, and I was thinking, 'How's this one going to be different?'" Hopper recalled. "The one thing that I'd been told by my team and everything is like, 'This is like going back, it's a whole new starter, and it's one that's going to try and hopefully please the fans of the game.' When I started reading it, it really felt more like a script from a game, from one of the games. It felt immersive, and it felt dirtier. It felt like Raccoon City was a grim place to be, and I immediately felt like it was a world that I related to more than anything. I've seen towns like this in America. That's what excited me about it that it felt relatable, I think. Even though you've got influence from the game, it felt like a relatable place to live." For more on Hopper's personal experience with the PlayStation game and the upcoming Sony Pictures film, you can read more at Collider.