Cutting-Edge 3-D Drives Latest 'Resident Evil' Adventure
For British-born Paul William Scott Anderson – not to be confused with Studio City native Paul Thomas Anderson, the five-time Oscar nominee behind Boogie Nights and Magnolia – the decision to direct Resident Evil: Afterlife, due Friday, was inspired, at least in part, by a fortuitous encounter with James Cameron.
No stranger to the franchise, which stars wife Milla Jovovich as a gun-toting commando battling an army of genetically engineered zombies, Anderson directed the original Resident Evil (2002) but was content to write the screenplays for two sequels, Apocalypse (2004) and Extinction (2007). Yet an early screening of last year’s 3-D blockbuster Avatar, hosted by Cameron, was enough to get Anderson back in an Evil state of mind.
“Two things were clear to me,” says Anderson, 45, an admitted tech head. “Cameron was making a groundbreaking movie, and the camera system he was using delivered a 3-D experience the likes of which I’d never seen. I hadn’t wanted to make a 3-D movie before because I thought the visual quality was too low.
“From the ground-up level we started making a 3-D movie with his fusion-camera system. What you’re seeing now is a lot of movies being dimensionalized in post-production, jumping on a bandwagon that began around Christmas, when people saw how much money a movie like Avatar could make. Our decision was not money-based – it was a creative decision, to make an exquisite-looking adventure.”
Preferring to avoid the criticism leveled at retrofitted 3-D fantasies like Clash of the Titans – “I think they spent 15 minutes on the conversion,” he says of last spring’s remake – Anderson was determined to keep Afterlife on the cutting edge of the latest 3-D revival. To that end, he took back the reins.
Does Jovovich, his creative partner on camera and off, share her husband’s passion for gadgetry?
“We are definitely a technologically driven family,” says the Ukrainian-born action star. “I’m a Mac girl. I have a Blackberry, but I’m really obsessed with Macs, which is why this 2012 thing – they’re saying we’re going to have a big solar storm that might knock out our power – scares me so much. No Internet? No communication? That’s terrifying.”
Told that Anderson plans to revamp their home theater with 3-D Bravia TVs, Jovovich warily rolls her eyes. (“He’s upgrading again? I don’t even know how to work the setup we have now!”) But that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the significance of the 3-D Resident Evil experience.
“It’s such a powerful medium,” she says. “It’s a format that lends itself to roller-coaster rides like Resident Evil – all the jumping, flying, running, stabbing. I don’t want to sit at home watching 3-D in my living room, getting marks from the glasses on my face. No thank you. But in the theater, it’s amazing. Literally and figuratively, it gives these movies a whole new dimension.”