In a world ravaged by a virus that turns its victims into murderous zombies, the beautiful and deadly Alice (Milla Jovovich) continues her search for survivors in Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth riveting installment of the wildly successful Resident Evil film franchise. As her battle with the creators of the global plague reaches new heights, Alice finds herself trapped in a burned-out Los Angeles overrun by thousands of the undead, facing a threat she never anticipated.
Screen Gems, Davis Films/Impact Pictures and Constantin Film present Resident Evil: Afterlife, the first chapter of the saga to be shot and released in 3-D.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is written, directed and produced by Paul W. S. Anderson. Anderson also wrote, produced and directed the original Resident Evil, as well as writing and producing two earlier sequels, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction.
Based on Capcom Entertainment's massively popular "Resident Evil" video game series, the Resident Evil films are part of a global brand that also includes books, merchandising, DVD collections and more.
Resident Evil: Afterlife begins four years after the initial outbreak of the T-virus, designed by the Umbrella Corporation to combat aging and nerve-based diseases. The virus' unfortunate side effect is its ability to reanimate dead cells, transforming its hosts into ravenous zombies. After sweeping the globe, the virus has turned the world into an unrecognizable nightmare where the rapidly evolving undead hunt the few remaining humans.
Picking up where the previous installment left off, Resident Evil: Afterlife finds Alice in Japan, armed with superhuman abilities and leading an army of her own clones against her longtime nemesis, Umbrella Chairman Albert Wesker. After leaving Wesker for dead in a showdown that destroys her army and strips her of her powers, Alice commandeers a two-seater airplane and flies to the frigid Alaskan wilderness. Her goal: to find survivors at the mysterious Arcadia--purportedly the only place on Earth not ravaged by the T-Virus.
But Arcadia, it turns out, is no promised land, and the only sign of life is her old comrade-in-arms Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), now suffering total amnesia. With Claire in tow, Alice's search for answers leads her to the ruined city of Los Angeles, where she meets a handful of other survivors barricaded into a former prison, tenuously holding an army of the undead at bay. There she learns that Arcadia may be closer--but also more deadly--than she thought.
With Claire slowly recovering her memory and martial prowess, Alice leads her band of survivors on a harrowing rescue mission--and discovers something far more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.
CITY ON FIRE:ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
In the first three chapters of the highly successful Resident Evil franchise, Alice, the nearly indestructible zombie fighter played by Milla Jovovich, finds herself in ever more desperate straits as she faces off against the sinister Umbrella Corporation and the murderous army of undead its technology has created. The fourth installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife, takes the series to an entirely new level, with more mindboggling stunts and effects than ever--this time in 3-D. In the words of producer Jeremy Bolt, "The movie has big guns, beautiful women, dogs with heads that explode, awesome landscapes. But most importantly, it has Milla, and Milla is on fire in this movie."
Franchise creator Paul W. S. Anderson is back at the helm of Resident Evil: Afterlife, after taking a two-film hiatus from directing duties. "I missed directing the films," says Anderson. "Resident Evil has always been a rich playground for me. I disappeared for a month playing the first two games and emerged from my hatch with a giant growth of beard."
Anderson has taken a bold approach with the latest film, reinventing the franchise with bigger effects, epic vistas and terrifying new adversaries. "And we shot with the latest in 3-D technology, the cameras used to shoot Avatar," he says. "It is really exciting to be on the cutting edge of a new technology."
The director started his career shooting such futuristic thrillers as Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon, films he says he always envisioned in 3-D. "I wanted to immerse the audience in the action the way simulator rides like Back to the Future: The Ride did," says Anderson. "I feel like a filmmaker who is making the jump from silent pictures to talking pictures. This kind of moment in cinema history, when the technology changes in such a radical way, only comes along every 30 or 40 years."
One of the most popular movies franchises of all times, the Resident Evil films are based on the blockbuster video games of the same name. Eight years after the premiere of the first film, audience demand remains strong. "From a commercial point of view, it made a lot of sense to make another one," says Jeremy Bolt, Anderson's longtime producing partner. "Each of the films has made substantially more money than the previous one. Along the way, the material has evolved in a very interesting way and Paul has matured as a filmmaker. When we began, we thought the movies were all about the special effects and the action. Now, Paul is much more interested in the emotional journey of the characters."
Resident Evil: Afterlife picks up where the third film, Resident Evil: Extinction, left off. "Alice has managed to escape the clutches of the Umbrella Corporation yet again," says producer Don Carmody. "She makes her way to Alaska in search of any possible survivors of the plague. The adventure continues as she is reunited with an old friend and they try to find out what happened to their fellow survivors."
What they discover on their journey is a terrifyingly altered world, overrun by the T-virus. Few humans still survive and the undead have become stronger and much more intelligent. The site of most of the action is a nightmarish simulacrum of present-day Los Angeles. "Paul came up with a great take," Bolt says. "In the last one, we had post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. This time we were working with the idea of Hollywood in a kind of hot nuclear winter."
The setting was inspired by the forest fires that raged on the outskirts of Los Angeles as Anderson began work on the screenplay. "Even with all of our modern technology and thousands of firefighters, it still takes weeks and weeks to get these forest fires under control," he observes. "It started me thinking--what would happen if there were no human beings left to fight these natural occurrences? The fires would sweep down off the hillsides and go straight through L.A., through Beverly Hills, down Sunset Boulevard, past the Hollywood sign and just keep going. That's the Hollywood we portray in this movie. It's a burning city, which I thought was very fresh imagery."
In this unfamiliar setting, Alice must grapple with a new challenge: her own mortality. "Over the series of the first three movies, Alice developed superhuman powers as a result of a mutation caused by the T-Virus," says Anderson. "When she confronted a few zombies, she could just make them explode. If she got bit, she would regenerate. I felt she'd reached the point where we didn't feel scared for her any more. If we were going to make another movie, Alice had to lose her powers. We took her back to the place she was in the very first movie: a skilled warrior, but just a human being."
And just as Alice becomes more vulnerable, the zombies are evolving into ever more dangerous foes. "One of the strengths of the games that we've incorporated into the movie franchise is that the undead do evolve," says Anderson. "They are fresh and more interesting and more exciting each time around, as well as becoming more difficult adversaries. The zombies in this movie are changing faster than humans can evolve.
"You have to wonder if they will eventually out-evolve human beings and become a viable race of their own," he continues. "With the world semi-decimated, who are the real inheritors of the Earth? Is it the last remnants of humanity or is it the creatures who want to eat the last remnants of humanity? You begin to wonder if the undead are the new world order and the human beings who remain are like the last of the dinosaurs."
Finding the hidden pockets of survivors has become increasingly difficult for Alice, who is constantly in the crosshairs of the Umbrella Corporation. "We often joke that if you see her coming, the first thing you should do is run," says Anderson. "Even though she says, 'I'm going to take care of you,' chances are, by the end of the last reel, you're going to be dead. It's like the television show 'Murder She Wrote.' If that character comes to stay at your house for the weekend, you should just run away, because somebody's going to get murdered."
But beyond the thrills and action, Resident Evil: Afterlife tells a compelling story that continues to resonate with audiences, says the director. "It has always encompassed bigger ideas, like the concept of the evil corporation being the true enemy," says Anderson. "That is a slightly larger idea than a traditional horror or action-horror movie. Those bigger ideas are why the movies have thrived as long as they have done, and it's why we're on a fourth one.
"The human spirit burns very, very brightly in the Resident Evil movies," he continues. "That's the beacon of hope and that's why Alice can continue to live and continue to fight. In the last film, we saw her wandering in the desert, very much a loner. She had become very burned-out and cynical. By the end of that movie, there's a relationship building between her and another survivor, Claire Redfield, that is continued in this movie. It's one of the most hopeful things in the franchise."
Resident Evil: Afterlife packs its share of surprises and continues the tradition of including a twist that audiences aren't likely to see coming. "Just when the story is wrapped up nicely, when everything has been resolved, The Umbrella Corporation rears its evil head for one more surprise," says producer Robert Kulzer. "It's a beautifully mounted movie that is going to knock your socks off with amazing action, beautiful people, flawlessly choreographed fight scenes and knockout visual effects. It's going to be amazing."
THE SEARCH FOR SURVIVORS: CASTING RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE
The cast of Resident Evil: Afterlife features some fresh faces as well as several that will be familiar to franchise fans. But no matter how popular a character becomes, warns Anderson, there are no guarantees of survival in the film's brutal, futuristic world. "The Resident Evil franchise has become well known for bringing back popular characters for another outing," Anderson says. "It's also famous for killing them off without warning. We've established that just because you're a big character in the video game and you were in the last movie, that doesn't mean we're not going to kill you in this movie. We did it with several characters in the last film. I think that gives a level of uncertainty in the films that make them truly scary." There is one constant in the franchise, however: Alice, played by Milla Jovovich. "Alice is the ultimate heroine," says producer Don Carmody. "She's a combination of Wonder Woman and Indiana Jane and she's out there kicking ass and taking names." After eight years and four films, Jovovich knows the role better than anyone, Anderson says. "When I first talked to her about Alice, I used references like Clint Eastwood from the Dirty Harry films, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen. They were existential characters, but, damn, they were cool. Plenty of guys have tried to be the new Clint Eastwood or the new Steve McQueen, but there aren't many women who have played those characters and played them as convincingly as Milla has." Read more
ADDING THE NEXT DIMENSION: SHOOTING IN 3-D
From the Umbrella Corporation's high-tech subterranean hideout in Tokyo to the smoldering Los Angeles skyline, Resident Evil: Afterlife is packed with eye-popping stunts, spectacular sets and stunning visual effects that take full advantage of the benefits of 3-D. "When I was writing it, I knew it was going to be a 3-D movie," says Anderson. "I tried to write situations and environments into the screenplay that would play well in 3-D. I firmly believe 3-D is a paradigm shift in cinema right now. Soon, it will become the industry standard, and it's very exciting to be making one of the first real 3-D movies. And I do say 'real' because we shot a three-dimensional film. It's not something that was shot as a 2-D film and then had 3-D layered over the top of it." Read more
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
PAUL W.S. ANDERSON (Producer, Director, Writer) is a British-born director, producer and writer internationally known for his visual and visceral films. With his finger on the pulse of the darker side of popular culture, Anderson's body of work is trademarked by the more hidden and often primal aspects of humanity.
Anderson's first film was 1994's low-budget success Shopping, which Anderson wrote and directed. Starring Sadie Frost and Jude Law (with an appearance by legendary singer Marianne Faithful), this dark film about joyriding and "ram-raiding" British youth was banned in some U.K. theaters but firmly established Anderson's love of cars, dystopian futures and high-impact action.
Shopping paved the way to Hollywood for Anderson, and 1995's Mortal Kombat became his first American No. 1 box-office smash. It was also the first successful movie adaptation of a videogame. The triumph of Mortal Kombat quickly established Anderson as a man who could take the game off the television and make it explode on the big screen.
Sidestepping offers to direct a sequel to Mortal Kombat, Anderson chose instead to turn his attention to science fiction. His next directorial projects included Soldier and Event Horizon. Blade Runner screenwriter David Peoples wrote Soldier as a "sidequel" to the bleakly powerful Blade Runner. The film starred Kurt Russell, Connie Nielsen and Jason Isaacs. Now considered a cult classic, Event Horizon starred Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs and Joely Richardson.
Anderson returned to adapting videogames for the big screen with the survival horror film Resident Evil (2002), starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. Anderson wrote, directed and produced the feature. A resounding commercial success, the movie spawned Anderson's second successful franchise, which includes No. 1 hits Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). Anderson wrote and produced the sequels with Impact Pictures partner Jeremy Bolt.
Anderson confirmed his box-office power when he wrote and directed the highly anticipated AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), starring Lance Henriksen. This kicked off Anderson's third successful franchise, as the movie opened at No. 1 and went on to be the highest-grossing film in both the Alien and Predator series.
In 2008, Anderson's Death Race rolled into theaters. The film, which starred Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson and Ian McShane, was a remake of the 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000 starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Anderson produced the film through Impact Pictures with producing partner Jeremy Bolt and a sequel is presently in production. Death Race marks the fourth successful franchise Anderson has started, continuing a track record that few directors can match.
In 2009, Anderson wrapped the sci-fi horror film Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, for which he took on the role of producer. Anderson and Bolt produced through their Impact Pictures banner.
Born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Anderson graduated from the University of Warwick with a B.A. in film and literature. He continued at Warwick to become the school's youngest student to achieve an M.B.A.
Anderson is currently directing and producing an update of The Three Musketeers in 3D. Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer are also producing.
THE ART OF SEQUELS
RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE
RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION