Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia survive dangerous 'Resident Evil' shoot
UPI News Service, 11/23/2021
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City stars Avan Jogia and Tom Hopper said the horror movie, in theaters Wednesday, put them in real danger from a burning studio set while filming a scene after a helicopter crash.
"I said to the first AD [assistant director], 'Do you think we should open the doors of the studio?'" Hopper, 36, told UPI in a Zoom interview. "It was like, 'Yeah, but it might get cold.' I'm like, 'Yeah, but we might die if we don't.' There was lots of fire in that set."
While Hopper made suggestions for the safety of the cast and crew, Jogia, 29, made a decision without consulting the prop masters. After Jogia fired a rocket launcher at one of the film's monsters, he dropped the rocket launcher off his shoulder.
"I just threw it off my shoulder because that's what cool guys do," Jogia said. "I think the viewfinder snapped immediately off it. Luckily we got the take."
Hopper and Jogia play characters from the Capcom video game series. Jogia plays Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop in Raccoon City, who was expecting simple desk duty when the T-virus turns residents into zombies.
"He's having the worst first day of all time," Jogia said.
Hopper plays Albert Wesker, a villain in the games. Viewers of the film will see hints of his double-cross early on, when Wesker receives instructions from an unknown party that conflict with the police chief's orders to contain the outbreak.
"I was very keen to layer him up and create the origin story of who he was before," Hopper said. "We can see the potential of who he becomes. Ultimately, he should feel like one of the guys to start with."
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Welcome to Raccoon City takes place the night of Sept. 30, 1998. Filming entirely at night required the actors to change their schedules.
Jogia said even interior studio shoots began at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. and it made him feel like a monster.
"We were vampires for three months, basically," Jogia said.
Hopper said working all night contributed to the feeling of horror.
"It was very strange having very little daytime for that long," Hopper said. "Normally, you have a stint of a week or two weeks. This was just so consistently nights for that long."
Both Hopper and Jogia have experience in monster-related projects. Jogia appeared in the movie Zombieland: Double Tap but did not encounter any of the creatures.
"I was in the kumbaya hippie peace loving commune of the world so I didn't see many zombies," Jogia said. "I definitely killed more zombies in Resident Evil than I did in Zombieland."
Hopper was in Game of Thrones and currently stars in Netflix's comic book adaptation The Umbrella Academy. Hopper said actors in zombie makeup made scenes feel real.
"It makes it a lot easier," Hopper said. "You don't have to hesitate about shooting them in the face."
Sometimes, Jogia and Hopper had to work with stand-ins for the creatures, who would wear green suits to be replaced by computer generated monsters. For example, Jogia had to imagine The Licker, a famous creature from the game that results when a zombie mutates further.
"It's funny when you're shooting with the Licker who's just a man in a green sock," Jogia said. "He's just wearing one big green sock on his whole body. And so you're like, 'I think this'll look good.'"
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