Interview: Resident Evil's Ali Larter

By Katey Rich 2010-09-08 11:39:38discussion comments
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Interview: Resident Evil's Ali Larter  image
With Heroes now in the past, Ali Larter is still keeping in touch with her genre and action by returning to the Resident: Evil franchise for Resident Evil: Afterlife. Larter is once again playing Claire, teaming up with Milla Jovovich's Alice to fight against the Umbrella Corporation. This time around the tough Claire also has to get in touch with her emotional side when she meets up with her brother Chris (Wentworth Miller) for the first time in many years.

I caught up with Larter at this year's Comic Con, just before the Resident Evil: Afterlife panel rocked Hall H. None of us in the roundtable interview had seen the movie, of course, so we had to rely on Larter to fill us in on what was there to look forward to. She talked about the challenges of filming in 3D and being a kick-ass heroine, and teased the fight sequence every guy is going to be dying to see-- Alice and Claire duking it out. Resident Evil: Afterlife opens September 10.

You've reinvented yourself throughout your career in a way few actors do. Are you comfortable going into action heroine mode?
I feel really lucky that in my career I've gotten a chance to explore a lot of different genres and kinds of film. WIth Heroes being cancelled it's been interesting to think back on those four years I spent on the show, and how much I loved being a part of that. For me within the sci-fi genre, that really started with Final Destination, when I first started coming down to Comic Con. It introduced me to a whole different world of loyalty within fans and passion. It's something I feel really lucky to have. When we're up shooting Resident Evil and we're cold and we're tired, and you're shooting on a stage and it's wet… but you know it's going to look badass, and these guys are going to go into a theater and be cheering for you, and girls are going to be rooting for you. That part is fun for me in making these movies.

The past Resident Evil movies have had a lot of action, but it seems like there's even more kick-ass action in this one.
There's tons. I think it's really cool, number one, that Paul came back to direct it. Paul knows what you want. If you're a fan of Resident Evil, he knows how to deliver what excites you and turns you on in the Resident Evil franchise. For example, there is so much that's pulled directly from the video game in this movie. Some of our stunts were choreographed beat by beat from what's in the video game. I'm wearing the outfit that I wore in the video game. That's kind of fun stuff that he really brings into it, which makes it really cool.

Did you find different challenges doing 3D?
It takes a lot more patience, honestly. It's a new technology, and you're got to be on the learning curve. These guys are learning as it goes along. It's really about being patient, and if you have to do it again, you do it again. We shot a really cool sequence with the Ax Man that took three days. But that camera, you can only shoot for 23 seconds, and then it will break, and then you wait three hours and start again. But it's great because you know you're on the forefront of something new, and I love anything that's fresh. This movie was written for 3D, and I think it's an amazing fit with the truth about what the Resident Evil franchise is about.

Can you give us a taste of something that might come flying out of the screen at us?
Mila. She dives off the rooftop of this building, and it's incredible. Sensorially, you're so stimulated. That's what you go to in these movies.

Were there stunts you did do that you're excited about?
Yeah, the Ax Man one I can't wait to see. That was a big one. It was pouring rain, so that's an extra dynamic. And there's some flipping over. It looks pretty cool. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I don't know what the real standouts are going to be. Paul introduced this interesting element, that when you meet Claire she's become someone who has to survive at all costs, and she has to overcome some memory loss. But she really is the key to safety. She has to figure out who she can trust. By introducing her brother, you take someone like Claire who is very tough and strong and has a rough edge to her, and is very selfless and has always found a way to survive in all situations but help others, and you watch her crack a little bit when she meets her brother. It's a family reunion Resident Evil style.

I love playing Claire. I think she's really strong, and I love that as a woman I get to come in and play this role where she's not this soft, innocent character. She's the new independent woman. She's the everywoman in this movie too. She's someone who has to rely on her instincts to survive.

Is it true that you and Milla have a fight in this movie?
Not really a fight. It's figuring out who you can trust. She realizes that Claire has gone through a very traumatic experience, and she's found a way to get away, but there's a residual factor about what's happened to her. She's lost some of her memory. Alice is a big part of her trying to figure out her life and who she can trust again. There's definitely a kick-ass fight, but it comes from an interesting place.
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