IGN got the first look at official Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City photos from which Screen Gems, who pitches the film as an origin story of the original Capcom games rather than a reboot or remake of their feature film franchise.
Check out the three exclusive photographs from IGN below to see the new big-screen versions of Claire and Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Albert Wesker, Richard Aiken, and Lisa Trevor.
The planned film is based on the first two Resident Evil games and is written and directed by Johannes Roberts. The film follows Raccoon Powerhouse’s transformation from an industrial city to a dying Midwestern hamlet that has become the epicenter of the t-Virus outbreak.
In a recent exclusive interview with IGN, Roberts discussed the differences between his Resident Evil film and the other films starring Milla Jovovich, as well as how his filmmaking approach here borrows not only from Capcom games but also from old school genre filmmaking.
Johannes Roberts: “This movie really had nothing to do with the previous franchise. This was all about returning to the games and creating a movie that was much more a horror movie than the sort of sci-fi action of the previous films. I was hugely influenced in particular by the remake of the second game and I really wanted to capture the atmosphere-drenched tone that it had. It was so cinematic. The previous movies were very bright and shiny whereas this movie was dark and grimy, entirely shot at night. It’s constantly raining and the town is shrouded in mist. … I was hugely influenced by movies like The Exorcist (and Exorcist 3!), Don’t Look Now, and The Shining. You can really feel the texture in this movie. Nothing in this town feels hi-tech. It feels dilapidated. I wanted Raccoon City to feel a bit like the town in Deer Hunter; a ghost town forgotten by the rest of the world. And the whole structure of the film was definitely very influenced by Assault on Precinct 13.”
Johannes Roberts: “The difference with this film as opposed to the previous movies is that it is an ensemble where each of the main characters carries huge importance to the narrative. They are not just cosplay characters who have the exact hair and costume of the characters,” Roberts said. “It was hugely important with the whole casting process to find people who embodied the spirit and energy of the characters I wanted to portray. I think often in game adaptations one of the big flaws can be just casting someone to look visually like the characters – giving them the identical haircut and clothes but not really trying to give the audience the thing that a movie does better than a game – which is to create a three dimensional character that you can really connect with and believe in.”
Roberts also recalls how difficult it was to find the appropriate person to represent Leon S. Kennedy: “We must have seen so many people – it was really quite a tricky role because of the balance of humor and weariness. Then Avan read and I was like he’s the one! He gets it.”
Johannes Roberts: “I wanted to go back to the horror of it all. I wanted scares and atmosphere rather than full-on action,” Roberts told IGN when comparing what differentiates Welcome to Raccoon City from the earlier Resident Evil films. “I think fans of the game felt the same. They wanted to see the iconic characters and locations and feel that the movie was more in line with the Resident Evil game world so that’s really why we chose to go in that direction. We worked hand in hand with Capcom on this movie to the point that we actually got blueprints from them on the designs of the Spencer Mansion and Raccoon police station in order to recreate them as perfectly as we could. We even have the exact artwork up on the mansion walls. Capcom saw it for the first time the other day and was so happy and excited.”
Johannes Roberts: “Lisa Trevor is actually quite a pivotal role in the movie. I was always fascinated by her when playing the remake of the first game. I found her character both disturbing and at the same time strangely haunting,” Roberts told IGN. “When we were discussing how to bring this story to life it was one of the elements that I really wanted to feature strongly as she has never been in any of the filmed versions of Resident Evil. I wanted her to be a three-dimensional character, not just some creepy specter. We cast Marina Mazepa, who had just done Malignant for James Wan and really worked hard in bringing this character to life in a way I think the fans are going to love so much. She’s terrifying but also tragic. In the movie, we really connect her to Claire Redfield’s story, starting with the orphanage where Claire grew up.”
We worked very closely with Capcom. Every character and creature is from the game and as such, I wanted to be as faithful as possible. I wanted to create a truly immersive feeling for the fansJohannes Roberts
Fans of the games should also be aware that Capcom was engaged in the conception and design of the film:
Johannes Roberts: “We worked very closely with Capcom. Every character and creature is from the game and as such, I wanted to be as faithful as possible. I wanted to create a truly immersive feeling for the fans, but that also became the trickiest part of adapting a piece of IP like this because I didn’t just want to put the game on screen – it had to be its own thing with living breathing characters and creatures (and, of course, zombies!) that felt true to the world.”
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City will be released in theaters on November 24, 2021 in the United States, December 3, in the United Kingdom, and November 25, in Australia.