Not to get my hopes up for a live-action video game adaptation, but Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City director Johannes Roberts might have figured out how to reshape the survival horror series to be a perfect fit for cinema. With a theatrical release set for November, the first photos of the cast, as well as several iconic sets, were released through IGN this morning, along with an illuminating interview from the film’s creator.
An adaptation of the first three games, Welcome to Raccoon City marks the start of a new film franchise for the IP. Unrelated to Paul W. S. Anderson’s six-part saga, this year’s reboot serves as the origin story to a new line of spin-off stories made for the silver screen in coming years.
Roberts, whose previous work includes recent horror hits like 47 Meters Down and The Strangers: Prey at Night, describes his desire to revisit what makes the franchise tick. In the aforementioned interview, he says “I wanted to go back to the horror of it all. I wanted scares and atmosphere rather than full-on action.”
He clearly aims to evoke 70s film and low-budget horror, with practical effects and novel camera techniques on full display in the screenshots. Weaving together references and inspirations, Roberts adds: “I wanted Raccoon City to feel a bit like the town in Deer Hunter; a ghost town forgotten by the rest of the world. And the whole structure of the film was definitely very influenced by Assault on Precinct 13.”
Screen Gems has collaborated with Capcom to recreate characters and creatures faithfully, noting that they worked with the developers’ blueprints for Spencer Mansion and the Raccoon police station and turned to the games as a “guiding star” when working on designing iconic monsters. Roberts says the faithful designs were important because “it’s never huge wide shots of faceless hordes – it’s about detail.”
But this isn’t just a copy of the game. “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,” he says. In released cast photos, images of Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario), Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia), Jill Valentine (Hanna John-Kamen), Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), Brad Vickers (Nathan Dales), and Lisa Trevor (Marina Mazepa) provide ample visual proof of exactly that.
Roberts also detailed the audition process and actors’ performances in the upcoming horror flick, though we have yet to see the cast in action. With any luck, all of that and more will be showcased ahead of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City‘s release on November 24th.