SDCC Interview: Wentworth Miller Gets Schooled in Resident Evil

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Preparation for the upcoming Afterlife

Wentworth Miller had never played the Resident Evil games or even watched the Resident Evil movies until he was cast to play Chris Redfield in the upcoming Resident Evil: Afterlife film, opening in theaters on September 10.

However, Miller told Shock at an Afterlife press event at Comic-Con 2010 that he caught up pretty quickly, especially after he learned just how important Chris Redfield is to the franchise as a whole.

“I wanted to do my research and what the fan expectation might be and respect what was already out there in terms of the mythology,” Miller said. “So there was a lot of research online and going to fan sites, so I had to educate myself. [The character] has to make sense as a whole and not as a standalone part. This thing is far down the track and the job I have is to jump on and become a seamless part of this larger whole.”

His education also included getting a montage from the producers of the significant events in Redfield’s life in the video games that related to the character’s personal history and where he came from.

“I was struck by watching how in the early games Chris was bright eyed and bushy tailed he seemed to a degree,” Miller said. “Definitely someone that was at the start of a horrific journey. When you meet him in the movie, he is many miles down that road. He is a different person with a different vibe to him. I think there is a lot more edge, a lot more darkness. It is nice to see the balance with the sibling dynamic because Clare’s presence brings out a bit more tender and vulnerable that otherwise might be rock hard as the character of Alice.”

The Redfield reunion is something that Miller says will bring something new to the table in the franchise, something that will be easily identifiable with the audience.

“The movie has zombies and special effects up the whazzo, it is an amazing fireworks display, but at the same time if you don’t care about the characters it doesn’t really resonate,” he said. “So it was important to flesh out the story and the characters and relationships between the characters to give extra weight to the special effects smorgasbord.”

That relationship and the smorgasbord of special effects collide in the tango between Chris, Clare and Wesker toward the end of the movie, which is a scene straight out of one of the Resident Evil video games.

“It was difficult and complex to choreograph because you have three people going at it at the same time but really satisfying to shoot and I hope one of the highlights of the movie,” Miller said.

As far as learning about what happened to Chris up until this point in the movie, we may not see much of the background – something many fans have been wondering about given Redfield’s important role he plays in the games. “We tell you what we need to know. But most of these characters it is about the present tense and what is around the next corner as opposed to constantly looking over your shoulder. It isn’t about long dramatic monologues and characters showing their inner most thoughts. But you do want to layer in a degree of that so when these characters are in jeopardy it actually registers with the audience from the neck down opposed to the neck up.”

Source: Peter Brown