SDCC Exclusive: Wentworth Miller Talks Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D

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On joining the franchise as Chris Redfield

Though the character of Chris Redfield may be familiar to fans of the original Resident Evil video game series, Wentworth Miller brings him to the big screen for the very first time in Paul W.S. Anderson’s fourth entry in the film series, Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D

Miller, best known for his role as Michael Scofield on Fox’s series Prison Break, will appear alongside Milla Jovovich’s Alice and Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield (his character’s sister) when the film hits theaters on September 10th. This latest entries continues straight from the ending of Resident Evil: Extinction, seeing Alice travel across the world in the hopes of curing the T-virus.

Shock Till You Drop caught up with Miller backstage at San Diego Comic-Con, just prior to the film’s big Hall H presentation where he chatted exclusively about his role, acting for 3D and joining the Resident Evil family.

Shock: Have you gotten a chance to go out onto the floor at all?

Wentworth Miller: I haven’t gotten out there onto the floor yet. I’m anxious to get there. I hear there’s kind of buzz out there that you have to feel to believe. But what I also like is that this is the one place where the actors are the only ones not in costume. That’s kind of cool.

Shock: Do you have a disguise planned?

Miller: I guess one might be necessary, yeah. I hadn’t thought about it but yeah, it’s probably a good idea.

ShocK: Tell me how Afterlife came your way.

Miller: Well, I was aware of the “Resident Evil” movies. I hadn’t seen one before, but they were kind of hard to miss. Especially that trailer for the third [film] and that sweeping shot with the beginning and Vegas buried in the sand. It was kind of eye-catching and certainly found its way into my memory banks. When I was asked to be a part of it, I did my research and found out that it has this international fanbase that is not to be believed. I’ve been lucky enough to accumulate fans from all over the world on from previous gigs. I thought this would be a really smart way to stay in touch with those people and also be a part of a narrative that’s just as much about story and character as it is about special effects.

Shock: Tell me a little about where your character comes into this one.

Miller: I play Chris Redfield. He’s someone that you see a lot of in the videogames but hasn’t been introduced in the film franchise until now. He’s Claire’s brother. What I like to say is that Paul Anderson built the car and that Milla is driving it. The rest of us are riding shotgun and that’s a really exciting place to be. It wasn’t hard at all to kind of fit in to this particular universe because the train is already so far down the tracks. Milla’s already done such a fantastic job in her presentation of Alice. It was fairly simple to figure out what was required of me and I was happy to get to play on that level.

Shock: Was it a very different experience having to act for 3D cameras?

Miller: There are a lot of actors that geek out on the technical. I’m not one of them. I never have been. It’s always been more about the story than the gadgets and the gizmos used to tell the story. That said, it was exciting to be a part of the 3D process because that is where the industry’s going in a large way and you want to keep yourself educated and stay abreast of these currents. When I come onset, I concetrate on the story and the characters and trust that there’s a team of people who are going to tell me when I’m doing something that’s not lining up with the new technology. I will say that it kind of upped the stakes in terms of the stuntwork. It’s almost as if the new cameras can see around corners. If you’re aiming your fist at someone’s face, you don’t intend to make contact, of course, because you don’t want to hit your costar. The cameras can see that. They can see that it’s a miss. So you really have to bust your hump and sell the special effects and the stunt sequences in new and convincing ways.

Shock: So you got to really beat up your co-stars.

Miller: Exactly. I got to smack people around.

Shock: I imagine there was a lot of physicality. Was special training involved?

Miller: I had done a lot of stuntwork. “Prison Break”, for four years, was a very rough and tumble show. I had that background and I just made sure I stayed in good enough physical shape so that I could pull off whatever stunts were required. A lot required a certain degree of stamina. For nearly all the sequences, we made sure there was an intensive prep process where all the actors get together and choreograph. There’s a certain language that is established when you’re actually shooting these sequences where, if someone forgets what is happening next, or feels that they’re spinning out, they yell stop and everyone stops and it becomes a very safe, thoughtful process.

Shock: Do still find yourself recognized specifically from “Prison Break”?

Miller: It was a very successful show, overseas in particular. It was very indicative of where the business is now. We’re not just making a product for the domestic market. We’ve also got our fan base in foreign places in mind. IN many ways, I think the movie speaks to that. It takes place in many places other than the US. The cast is also international as well, which I think reflects the new flavor of where music and TV are headed. But I think there are several things about Prison Break that, despite the specifics of story, have universal appeal. It was about family, loyalty and sacrifice. And everybody loves good old government conspiracy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Australia or China. I think that had a lot to do with explaining our international appeal and why we were able to go four seasons.

You’re acting for and against a man and wife, respectively. Did you find the whole production to be a family affair?

Miller:I got to witness it firsthand. The are the bedrock of this universe. Paul and Milla have been there since the very start. For someone like myself coming in on the fourth installment, it was very helpful to have someone who knew the world back and forth. Then I can rely on them for information about the character. Where the story has been and where it’s going to. It’s like walking around with the zombie encyclopedia.

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D hits theaters September 10th.

Source: Silas Lesnick