The cast of Columbia Pictures' new, 3D sci-fi action-thriller “Resident Evil: Retribution” includes many faces that will be familiar to fans of the franchise. The filmmakers devised an ingenious way to bring back characters who have met with brutal fates in earlier films, including Michelle Rodriguez’s Rain from the first “Resident Evil,” Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine from “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” Oded Fehr’s Carlos from “Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Extinction” as well as Boris Kodjoe’s Luther West and Shawn Roberts’ Albert Wesker from “Afterlife.”
|Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures|
“It’s exciting for us and, we hope, for the fans to have these actors and their characters back,” says writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson. “It was a unique opportunity to work with everyone again. For instance, I’ve always wanted to work with Michelle Rodriguez again, but we shot her in the head in the first movie, which seemed to preclude bringing her back.”
But anything can and often does happen in the Resident Evil universe. “The world of the Umbrella Corporation is constantly evolving,” says producer Don Carmody, “Just as you think you’ve stopped them, another tentacle emerges.”
Anderson kicked off “Resident Evil: Afterlife” with an army of Alice clones, which provided him with the inspiration he needed to bring back favorite characters. “Once we introduced cloning, it really kick-started the idea of characters returning,” Anderson says.
But the cloning concept also adds a new layer of intrigue to the storyline. “The audience will wonder, ‘is that person really Carlos? Is that person really Rain?’ It’s very much in keeping with the world of gaming, where everything can change in a heartbeat.”
Milla Jovovich relished the idea of her character reuniting with so many of her friends and foes from the previous films. “People really became invested in these characters,” she says. “When Paul figured out how to bring everyone back, we all got really excited. There’s a lot of illusion versus reality in this movie and it will take people by surprise. It was amazing to have everyone back together again.”
In the original “Resident Evil,” Rain Ocampo, played by Michelle Rodriguez, was a member of the Umbrella special commando unit. A skilled marksman, Rain and her team were dispatched to contain the infection after the outbreak by any means possible. But after Rain was infected with the deadly T-virus and transformed into a zombie, she was killed.
Rodriquez was thrilled when Anderson called to say they had found a way to bring her character back to life. “I’m really happy to be back,” she says. “I didn’t think there’d ever be a possibility of bringing back my character. But there’s always an open window when you’re dealing with science fiction. The possibilities are endless. I’m really happy we have a director who is so creative.”
Also returning is the character of Jill Valentine, played once again by British actress Sienna Guillory. A former police officer who aligned with Alice against the Umbrella Corporation in “Apocalypse,” Guillory was last seen ordering the killing of all remaining survivors—including Alice—at the end of “Afterlife.” “Jill is being controlled by Umbrella now,” explains Guillory. “She’s a good girl trapped in a bad body. And she’s a real baddie in this film.”
Guillory was delighted to return to the world of Resident Evil, as well as to work with Jovovich and Anderson once again. “On these films, you’re part of a team and the support is incredible,” she says. “Milla is the most giving actress to work with and Paul has a limitless imagination. I felt like I had come home.”
Oded Fehr, familiar to audiences as Carlos Olivera, a member of the Umbrella forces special commando unit in “Apocalypse” and “Extinction,” also plays dual roles in the film. Fehr says that his return to the franchise makes perfect sense. “If you can have a hundred Alices, why not have more Carloses, Ones and Rains?” he asks. “There are so many twists and turns that it’s going to be a blast. And it was great to be reunited with the ‘family’ from the films I did earlier.”
Boris Kodjoe is also back as Luther West, a strong, confident ex-pro athlete discovered barricaded inside a prison with a small group of survivors in “Afterlife.” Luther and Alice shared an immediate connection, forging an allegiance based on mutual respect. During their escape from the prison, Luther was attacked by zombies and is presumed dead by Alice and the others. “They had an amazing partnership in the last movie,” the actor says. “But she believes that he’s gone and it’s a nice surprise for her to find out he’s not. When they meet again, there’s obvious relief on both sides, as well as excitement that they are going to embark on a new adventure.”
Returning as the film’s larger-than-life villain, Umbrella Corporation chairman Albert Wesker, is Shawn Roberts. Virtually indestructible as a result of being infected with the T-virus, Wesker seems to be evil incarnate. “Wesker is probably the biggest villain from the games and definitely a fan favorite,” says Anderson. “We blew him up with an atom bomb in the last movie, but even that was not enough to keep him down.”
Playing an unrepentant scoundrel is an actor’s dream, according to Roberts. “Albert Wesker will not to stay in the background. He’s decided to take top position. I rule the world and it feels pretty good to be sitting at the top.”