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Resident Evil Director Explains Importance Of Diverse Jill And Leon

Capcom | Sony

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

1st Sep 2021 14:54

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We're creaking open the doors to the Spencer Mansion once again, as Johannes Roberts finally gives us a look at the new Resident Evil reboot. While we might be used to Milla Jovovich kicking Umbrella's ass as Project Alice, it's out with the old and back to the roots of Capcom's game series.

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The aptly named Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City is an origin story of sorts, which pits a who's who of franchise favourites against each other in a faithful retelling of the games.

However, while Sony's previous outings (that came to a close with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2016) had a largely white cast, Roberts is going for a more diverse roster this time around.

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Who is in the cast of the new Resident Evil?

Discussing the more diverse Resident Evil, Roberts told IGN that he wanted to show a fresh-faced cast without worrying too much whether they look like their video game counterparts. Well, the likes of Chris, Jill, and Rebecca look a little different in modern games when compared to their 1996 introduction.

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"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", explained Roberts. "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. I think as I said before, one of the traps of falling into game adaptations is to make it feel like a giant cosplay version of the game".

In particular, Roberts noted the casting of Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine and Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy. "Our cast is obviously much more diverse than the original games, but I wanted to resist the trap of just casting because someone just happened to look like their character identically", added Roberts. "We actually had a lot of actors who came in and recreated themselves perfectly visually as the character they were reading - it was uncanny at times ha! - but it was not what I felt this story needed.

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With John-Kamen. Roberts knew her from Ready Player Once and also hyped her performance in Netflix's The Stranger. He said that Leon was much harder and concluded, "It was really quite a tricky role because of the balance of humour and weariness. Then Avan read and I was like he’s the one! He gets it."

What else do we know about Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City?

While Welcome to Racoon City is harking back to the OG Resident Evil, it promises to be so much more. Notably, Leon didn't appear until 1998's Resident Evil 2, and neither did Kaya Scodelario's Claire Redfield. Effectively bridging the gap between games, Welcome to Racoon City also includes the fan-favourite Ada Wong.

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Still, the movie's description confirms this rag-tag group of rogues will be heading to the Spencer Mansion and exploring the "evil beneath". Those who've played the games will know it won't be long before the S.T.A.R.S. agents discover Umbrella's lab and the mad experiments of William Birkin. Adapting both the first and second games will trim down on some of the exposition, but with Welcome to Racoon City galloping toward its November 24 release, there isn't long to wait to find out whether Roberts is trying to do too much in one go. 

 

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Resident Evil Birthday Box Sets Look Incredible - If You're In Japan

Capcom

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

23rd Sep 2021 17:28

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