The Look Of The Film
"In order to be respectful to the Resident Evil game, I thought the movie should use
a similar colour palette," says director Paul W.S. Anderson. "So greens and blues are very much in evidence to promote the vibe and the broad overall feel, although I designed the look to change as the movie progresses. The Hive is seen pre and post disaster and then when the emergency lighting is turned off. Those three different atmospheres were carefully designed to become consistently stronger and scarier as the protagonists become more fractured by the Undead."
To help him conceive the unique look of Resident Evil, Anderson turned to director of photography David Johnson. Anderson explains, "David lit the Impact Pictures-produced television pilot The Sight and I loved what he achieved in that science-fiction drama on a tight schedule. Because the
Resident Evil cast were young, hungry and excited about doing it, I felt the crew should reflect the same ethos. David couldn't wait to take on the challenge and explore the terror terrain with his fresh eyes and ideas."
David Johnson, whose credits include An Ideal Husband and Hilary & Jackie, says, "Paul is a visually inspired director and that makes my job so much easier. I'd describe the overall look as 'Grim Light Industrial' while Paul likes to use the term 'Creamy' for the lighting style. But primarily, the feeling I got from playing the game was the chilling loneliness of it all, and that's what I've tried hard to work into the look by lighting really dark corridors without having any shadows in evidence to
maximize the feelings of absolute isolation."
Johnson worked in conjunction with production designer Richard Bridgland to achieve many of the lighting effects. He explains: "One of my first jobs in the film industry was working on Alien and all the sets on that Ridley Scott classic were 'live,' meaning the lighting rigs were built into the constructions. I figured the same choice would be best for
Resident Evil as, apart from a few exterior locations, everything was going to be shot on sets built at Studio Adlershof and it would make our lives so much easier. So in pre-production Richard and I had to figure out where we were going to put the lights while cleverly incorporating them into his overall production design. It was a difficult task actually because the lights all had to be in the right place for story purposes at exactly the right time."
He adds, "The one scene I'm most proud of, and where everyone's ideas on the lighting and design side comes brilliantly together, is when One is cubed by lasers in the Red Queen computer corridor. It was the one sequence I couldn't wait to tackle because it was so clear in my imagination from the moment I read the script. A long corridor of mirror-refracted white lights contrasted by a blue laser beam: it looks fantastic and is my homage to 200l: A Space Odyssey."
Like David Johnson, production designer Richard Bridgland also worked on The Sight. The designer, Academy Award® nominated for Richard III, says,
"Resident Evil gave me the opportunity to do something on film that has never been seen before. I took my inspiration from a number of Japanese architects who design entirely with concrete slabs to create incredibly beautiful spaces. Combined with glass and steel, the design becomes textured, organic and aesthetically strong. Then, when we found our location for the underground train station from Looking Glass House into the Hive, it fitted into the design ethic perfectly. The U-bahn station at the Reichstag is an empty concrete shell that won't be opened to the public until 2004. When we walked in, it was a like a $5 million set had already been purpose built for us to use.
"One of the key aspects that's cruci
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