Canadian actor Robbie Amell is back on the big screen with his latest zombie flick, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Directed by Johannes Roberts, the film is based on the popular video game and is the seventh live-action film. Amell plays one of the game's most iconic protagonists, Chris Redfield.
He told Yahoo Canada, "I think it's a great adaptation of the first and second games. I think anybody who grew up playing the games is going to lose their mind. And if you haven't played the games, it's a super fun '90s zombie movie, which is scarier than most will expect it to be. Johannes really leaned into the horror side, which I think is pretty cool."
The film, which releases in theaters on Nov. 24, also stars Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Karmen, Tom Hopper, Neal McDonough and Avan Jogia.
Amell's early memories of playing 'Resident Evil'
Amell is a fan of video games and grew up playing 'Resident Evil'. One of my earliest childhood video game memories is playing in the dark in the basement and the dogs jumping through the window and just scaring the living hell out of me. I loved them. I think I've played through probably 70% of the Resident Evil games that have come out. I replayed one and remastered number two when I booked the role, and so many things out of the movie are so dead-on from the games. Johannes has actually went to Capcom and asked for the blueprints for the mansion and the the police station because he wanted them to be so accurate."
Johannes, who also wrote the film, always wanted to lean into the horror side of the zombie flick. "I think he was the perfect person to write and direct this movie. Our first meeting, we just geeked out for an hour and talked about the games and talked about his script and some of the Easter eggs and some of the things that weren't even Easter eggs, they were just accurate from the movie. I mean, every day on set, there was something new that was either in the background and and was from the games that wouldn't even be talked about or mentioned, but it was there. And then other days were like walking into the mansion and it was just like being transported to the video game."
"So I think what what Yohannes did so well was take this world that is so beloved, and take these characters that are so beloved, and just create this connective tissue between them and build these relationships between them that makes everything that the fans want to see matter that much more because there's a real story and there's real people behind it."
Home is Toronto
Resident Evil Raccoon City was filmed in Toronto, Amell's hometown. While the actor had been living in L.A., he and his wife recently moved back home along with their new baby.
"I love being home, my wife and I actually moved back here we live in Toronto again. My family's from here, her family's from here. All my buddies I grew up with are still here. So it's always really nice to be home and to see them. Getting to do that and living a childhood dream is just kind of icing on the cake. I mean, it was the perfect job at the perfect time. I had just you know, we had a one year old at the time, and it kept me home rather than potentially going out of town for a shoot. So it was all the all the best things. It was I was very lucky to have to have gotten it."
The Easter eggs in the film
Fans of the video games will appreciate the Easter eggs scattered in the movie. Speaking about the little surprises, Amell shared: "The first one was walking into the mansion. I can't tell you how cool that was. It's straight out of the game. It's just so wicked. There was a day on set where we were in a lab and there were red, green and blue herbs around which are not used in the movie, but were a huge part of the game.
"Somebody saw it on day one of the trailer which is unbelievable where I'm walking through with my gun out and a flashlight, I'm walking through the dining room and there's a picture behind me of a knight and something else fighting. And it's directly from the game. In the game, you can walk up to the picture and press X and it'll it just gives you a description of what the painting is. I barely noticed it when we were shooting and somebody picked it off on day one of the trailer being out. I'm like, 'Yeah, these fans are these fans are diehard.' You know, the attention to detail is really impressive."
The '90s takes away the crutch of technology
Since the film takes place in the '90s, Amell liked the idea of not having to use updated technology. "I love that it takes place in the '90s... it takes some of the technology side of things out of it, which I think is .. it's tough to make certain movies with modern technology just because it answers a lot of questions. So when you don't have that crutch, I just think you rely more on the characters and the characters are in a little more trouble, which is more fun to watch. I also think the music is awesome. Thanks to it being in the 90s."
Resident Evil provides an escape
Whether you're a fan of the franchise and video games, or just a plain 'ol movie-loving geek with a penchant for zombie flicks, you are going to enjoy the film. Amell believes so too. He said: "I think that anyone that played the games is going to lose their mind. I think it's the adaptation they've been waiting for. I think that if you haven't played the games, you still know what Resident Evil is just because of the pop culture side of things. I think the great thing about our movie is it is a horror movie, it feels like a scary zombie movie there's that sci fi element to it. I think it's a nice cross genre blend. I think there's a surprising amount of humor in it. I think the '90s helps with that. It adds another level of charm to the movie. Again, I think the music is fantastic. I think it's beautifully shot, I think just look from just from an optical standpoint, I think I think the movie is beautiful. And I just think it moves fast.
"You know, obviously, there's much more important things going on in the world than our movie. But I think one thing about movies in general right now is just giving people you know, a bit of an outlet to stop, and maybe forget about some things for a little while, and just escape. So I think Resident Evil delivers on a bit of an escape."
Polite Canadians and memorable fan encounters
Amell has traveled around the world and believes that the polite Canadians stereotype is very true. "The stereotype about Canadians are we're polite, which is maybe the nicest stereotype I've ever heard and I think I just think that shows."
Speaking about his fondest fan encounter in Canada, he said: "It's so funny in Toronto, it's the polite Canadians. It's always a very sweet encounter. It's rarely too aggressive, or in my face. It's always very kind and nice. It's almost always from Life with Derek, which is just funny because it's like probably 15 years ago now."
"But I went to Wonderland and my mom and dad were with me, and they hadn't really seen me get too much of a fan encounter and like, Wonderland was kind of my demographic after The Duff. So there was a kind of a fun moment there of them seeing me get a little bit of a swarm and just seeing the look on their faces was was pretty fun to see."
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is in theatres Nov. 24