As we've seen in recent photos, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City reimagines some of the characters from the original video games with a more diverse cast, and Johannes Roberts is explaining the casting process in a new interview. This week, a peek at some major characters was revealed in some first look photos. Their outfits are rather similar to what the characters wear in the video games, though certain S.T.A.R.S. members differ physically from how they appear in the video game universe.
Recently speaking with IGN, Roberts detailed exactly what went into casting these iconic Resident Evil characters. From the director's view, he was looking more so to capture the "spirit and energy" of these characters as opposed to simply finding someone who looked the part without much more to offer. This is something he feels other video game adaptations have failed with and he's looking to do better with Welcome to Raccoon City. From the interview:
"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. 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."
The director goes on to detail casting Leon and Jill, both of whom were approached differently. With Jill, Roberts already had Hannah John-Kamen in mind based on her work in Ready Player One. When it comes to Leon S. Kennedy, Roberts says Avan Jogia's performance just felt more like Leon personified than anyone else auditioned, even if he's not physically a carbon copy of the video game version. As Roberts explains:
"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. 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. With Jill, I knew Hannah from Ready Player One and this show she was in at the time called The Stranger and I just knew she'd be perfect. Leon was much harder. We must have seen so many people - it was really quite a tricky role because of the balance of humor and weariness. Then Avan read and I was like he's the one! He gets it."
Along with John-Kamen as Jill and Jogia as Leon, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City also stars Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield, Robbie Amell as Chris Redfield, Tom Hopper as Albert Wesker, Lily Gao as Ada Wong, Neal McDonough as William Birkin, Donal Logue as Chief Brian Irons, Chad Rook as Richard Aiken, and Marina Mazepa as Lisa Trevor. After taking a look at that cast list, some longtime fans of the series may have one particular question in mind: "Barry, where's Barry?"
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City will be released by Sony Pictures Releasing on Nov. 24, 2021. This is not to be confused with a separate Resident Evil series in the works at Netflix with Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker. A new anime movie set in the video game universe, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, was released on Netflix in July. This news comes to us from IGN.