Resident Evil franchise director Paul W.S. Anderson recently spoke about the origins of his series of movies in a new video interview, explaining how Alice came to be. Played by Milla Jovovich, the original character was not featured in any of the video games, yet she serves as the primary protagonist in every installment. During this weekend’s New York Comic-Con event, Anderson revealed the creative process that led to the introduction of Alice and how he had to fight to have her featured as the movie’s main character.
From the interview, here’s how Anderson detailed the creation of Alice.
“I’ve always been drawn to female-led movies. I like them. The films I’ve made, they quite often have strong female leads. When I first came to Hollywood, there was this belief that female-led action movies didn’t work, because there’d been several that hadn’t worked. And I just thought that was bullshit. I didn’t believe it for a second. So I pushed very hard to have a female lead in the role. Resident Evil had been developed for a while by other filmmakers, who had had other screenplays written that never got made. They always had male leads. So I felt like it was time to try something completely different.”
Once Paul W.S. Anderson knew he wanted the story to follow a strong female character, Anderson also revealed why he opted to create a new character rather than putting someone like Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield in the lead.
“If you look at the game, while the Alice character is not in the game, the archetype certainly is. There’s a lot of very strong female characters that you get to play as in the game. By having a completely fresh character and telling a prequel story to the world of the video games, it gave us some more dramatic license that we wouldn’t have had if we had just done a straight adaptation of any one of the games.”
Anderson also notes now his concern was that gamers would not have had quite as rich of a filmgoing experience seeing Resident Evil in the theaters if it was using one of the games as a blueprint. Fans would already know going in what the mystery at the heart of the story would be, along with which characters would die and when. Still, the filmmaker also comments on the staggering number of references and Easter eggs he’d put into the movies to ensure they still had some things for gamers to watch out for.
While some of the game’s biggest fans were hoping for an adaptation more similar to the original titles, you can’t argue with results. The Resident Evil movie series would go on to become one of the most successful franchises ever, grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing movie series based on a video game. After six installments, Anderson said he and Jovovich have told the the story they have to tell, and there doesn’t seem to be any looking back with the pair’s new focus on Monster Hunter.
It has since been announced that Resident Evil is getting rebooted with an all-new story and cast. This time, it will be much closer to the story of the original games, which is likely to satisfy some of the more diehard fans of the franchise. The cast will include Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario as Chris and Claire Redfield, along with Harris Dickinson as Leon S. Kennedy. An upcoming live-action series on Netflix is also in the works, which will follow Albert Wesker’s kids living in a world ravaged by the T-virus. You can watch the full interview with Anderson below, courtesy of New York Comic-Con on YouTube.