IGN brings you the exclusive first look at Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which Screen Gems does not view as a reboot or remake of its franchise, but rather as the origin story of Capcom games. Check out the three exclusive images below to see the new big-screen versions of Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Albert Wesker and many more characters that players will recognize.
The upcoming film is written and directed by Johannes Roberts (best known for directing 47 Meters Down and The Strangers: Prey at Night), and is based on the first two Resident Evil games. The film tells of how Raccoon Town transformed from an industrial city into a moribund city in the Midwest after it became ground zero for the t-Virus outbreak.
In an exclusive new interview with IGN, Roberts explains the differences between his Resident Evil and previous films starring Milla Jovovich, and how his directing style here derives not only from Capcom games, but also from old-school movie directing.
He said, “This movie has nothing to do with the previous series, it’s about going back to games and making a horror movie and not the kind of sci-fi that the previous movies were like. Remick’s second game in particular has had a huge impact on me, and I wanted to capture that saturated vibe that he enjoyed. It was very cinematic. Previous films were too bright when this one would be dark and gloomy, and it was shot entirely at night. It was constantly raining and the city was foggy. … Movies like The Exorcist (and Exorcist 3!), and Don’t Look Now and The Shining made a huge impact on me.You can really feel the feel and details of this movie.Nothing in this town looks so high tech, it just looks dilapidated.I wanted to give Raccoon City a feeling a bit like a town in a movie. Deer Hunter, a ghost town forgotten by the rest of the world. The film’s overall structure was certainly very influenced by Assault on Precinct 13.”
Our first exclusive photo from the movie reveals a first look at Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield, and Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy. You’ll notice that Leon is wearing his police uniform, in keeping with his job at the time of the Raccoon City destruction.
In Resident Evil 2, Leon and Claire Redfield, sister of STARS Officer Chris Redfield (played by Robbie Amell from the Arrowverse) were among the few people who ventured into Raccoon City after the outbreak. They eventually encounter Raccoon City Police Chief Brian Irons, played in this film by Donal Logue of Gotham.
Roberts said, “The difference between this film compared to previous films is that it stars a group of characters where each of the main characters bears great importance to the story. It is not just cosplay characters who have exactly the same hair and costumes as the characters. It was very important with the casting process to find on people who embody the spirit and energy of the characters I wanted to portray.I often think that one of the big drawbacks when making game-based works is choosing actors who visually resemble the characters, giving them matching hairstyles and clothes but without trying to give the audience the one thing that movies do best From games, it’s about creating a deeply dimensional character that makes you feel connected to and believe in.”
Roberts in particular noted the difficulty they had in finding the right actor to play Leon S. Kennedy: “We’ve seen so many people, it was a very difficult role to choose because there was a balance between humor and exhaustion. Then Avan read the script, and I immediately said that What is desired! He understands what is required.”
IGN’s second exclusive photo from Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City features, from left to right, Albert Wesker (Tom Hooper), Brad Vickers (Nathan Dills), Jill Valentine (Hannah John Kamen), and Chris Redfield (Ruby Amell) in Spencer Palace, which Roberts previously described to us as “quite scary” in his movie.