Resident Evil: Extinction – Oded Fehr Interview

Resident Evil: Extinction – Oded Fehr Interview
from the set in Mexico City
Updated: 09-15-2007


by Staci Layne Wilson


The Army truck is a full-sized, working prop. It drives, I'm told. But right now we're on a soundstage in Mexico City that's supposed to be the Las Vegas desert (blue screen will later be replaced by sandy stretches). Resident Evil: Extinction, the third and final installment in the videogame-based horror actioners, is being shot and it's not serious business.


Actor (and returnee from Resident Evil: Apocalypse)  Oded Fehr is sitting behind the wheel pretending to drive. He breaks something getting inside and says, "I ate my Wheaties this morning, and see what happens?" His cozy costars — seated up front in the cab with him — Milla Jovovich and Spencer Locke, laugh.


Overall, it's a jovial atmosphere on the set, led by gung-ho director Russell Mulcahy. Later on, after the broken piece of truck was fixed and the scene shot, Fehr sat down to talk with the press about working with his new director, and to explain how this version of the Resident Evil story has evolved.



Q: What is like working with Russell? How is he telling the story, as opposed to Alexander Witt in the second one?


Oded Fehr: Russell has been a great experience. He’s very, very experienced and has obviously done a lot of work. I found he was a wonderful with actors in the sense he really wants to get the performance out. He really gives good notes. It has been a pleasure. Alexander was a great experience. I think Russell is very different in the sense Russell visually has a very great vision in that he sets up the style of what he wants and allows the DP to do a lot of staying true to the vision yet he works a lot with the performers which I really like. He gives you a lot of notes which I find as an actor is wonderful. But visually, when he feels something is missing, he will operate the camera, he’ll put it on his shoulder, or whatever needs be. Very positive experience.


Q: Were you a fan of his work before? Had you seen Highlander?


Oded Fehr: Yep. Highlander was a breakthrough movie at the time. Highlander kind of changed cinema with the whole flying camera and moving shots and all the rest of it. He is very good. He has a great vision. Again, when I first arrived in the desert, I spoke to our DP and he shared with me how hard they’ve been working about the vision on what they want it to look like while setting up all the shots they know long beforehand what they wanted to film and what they wanted to get. It has been very good.



Q: So are we going to see a new Carlos this time around? This is quite a few years later, right?


Oded Fehr: I think what evolved mainly is the circumstances in which they find themselves now. The last movie was this new infection taking over the city and there was a war against the bad guys. In this movie, it is more of an attempt to survive in a post apocalyptic world. The group of people is very much an ensemble of a few characters that are all just trying to survive and support each other. I think life is very very different from what it was. I think Carlos is…. I try to see him as somebody who has been through a lot, who has kind of experienced it almost from the beginning of when it happened. And he is trying to keep a good spirit with everybody else but when he sees Alice with whom he shares the same history, he kind of feels more freer to show his real emotions.


Q: Oh. Has the chemistry picked up a little more this time?


Oded Fehr: Yeah.


Q: Are you after Claire this time or just after Alice? …Or both?


Oded Fehr: [laughter] Hey, wait a minute! Carlos is not a player! No. No. No 


Q: What is Carlos’ role in this convoy? Is he the leader?


Oded Fehr: No, Claire is the leader. She put the convoy together. I  kind of… my opinion of the back story is a little bit more that he kind of ..eight years have passed, he’s experienced probably a few convoys and this is the one that he’s in now. There are very very few people left on this Earth. He is part of the convoy and definitely part of the experienced fighter part. I think he feels responsible in the sense of the protection of the convoy and all that. Claire is the one who put the convoy together and he’s definitely the one who joined. There’s a part where he is also an outsider a little bit.


Q: What's his mindset?


Oded Fehr: Again, I think deep down, probably inside, Carlos feels like this is the end. We are surviving but he’s not very optimistic even though he shows to everyone else in the convoy he attempts to be very optimistic but to himself, he’s disattached himself a little bit. All his friends have died, all the people he knew are gone. Alice is not around. He’s by himself with this other convoy. He’s very helpful, he’s very part of the convoy on the  one hand but he kind of stands back and lets Claire be the one who runs it. He had no interest in becoming the leader of this convoy. He almost doesn’t want to become too attached to anybody.


Q: Has he taken on a father figure for K-Mart?


Oded Fehr: Yeah, he feels ...he is trying to protect her and her innocence being a child and all. That was new to him.


Q: What made you decide to come back for a third?


Oded Fehr: I got the script like everybody else and said ‘Okay, so what is going to be the story this time around?’ Then I sat down with Paul [Anderson] and we would talk about what Carlos has gone through and so on. I think what happened is they were probably together for a while, and they fought for a while, and Alice separated because she felt there was something wrong with her. This is what she says in this movie, that there is something wrong with her, that she is being controlled by the Umbrella Corporation and we see that at the end of the last movie. They are actually seeing what she is seeing. She kind of senses that, that something is wrong, so she separates from that. They kind of each go their separate way but Carlos and LJ ended up joining this convoy.


Q: In this film, there are some new and enhanced zombies. What is your character’s challenges against these new super zombies… Are they harder to kill?


Oded Fehr: They are much faster and much stronger. They are smart. They are not the same zombies that are acting on instinct. These guys actually think. They know they need to open the door to get into the car. They need to do this, they need to do that. So it is a totally different enemy, a much faster, stronger enemy which he is surprised by because he’s never experienced them before. So he’s as surprised as everybody else, probably as much as the audience is going to be. The reaction is shock and fear and trying to survive.


Q: Do the zombies still die the same way?


Oded Fehr: They don’t slow down at all unless you kind of shoot them in the head or break their necks. They do not stop at all. When we shot it in the first scene, it was kind of frightening because all of a sudden, these stunt guys run out full boar/blown at you and you’re like ‘Whoa!’ You are just trying to survive as an actor.


Q: When you were shooting the last movie, I remember the Descender was the thing that  was your nemesis. Anything really scary on this for you personally?


Oded Fehr: The Descender is definitely still the scariest thing that I have done in my life that I chose to do. These movies, the conditions in which we shot were the hardest conditions I’ve ever experienced. The heat was just crazy, absolutely crazy. I have never worked in this kind of heat.


Q: Even more so than The Mummy?


Oded Fehr: Even more so than The Mummy. You know The Mummy we shot in May in Morocco and when we first arrived here, we arrived in the last week in May and somehow it was okay. Then the minute we hit June, it was just unbearable. It was unbelievably hot. Everything breaks down. Cameras. Everything was breaking down. Cars were sinking. Everything. The air conditioners weren’t working, the generators were breaking down. Everything was breaking down.


Q: Are you able to use that in acting or does it kind of get in the way?


Oded Fehr: No, that is one of the things that I think is going to make this movie so great. These characters are barely surviving in a world that is so harsh and everything is against them. It is wonderful when you are an actor and you are supposed to be hot and sweaty and you are actually hot and sweaty. This is what is so hard about shooting on the blue screen because you feel comfortable, you’re in the city, and it is nice and cool. There, it was so hard and hot so when you are standing in the heat….. I was standing.. I was holding the machine guy that is black and holding it gets so hot that I was burning my hands. It definitely helps and I think this movie is going to look amazing. I am very excited about this movie because it is mostly day time, it is in the dessert, it is these wonderful earthy colors. Nothing I think is sexier and more adventuresome like the heroes sweating, walking the sand, and seeing the dunes behind you. It has this look and gives a very fresh feel to this movie. It is going to be very different.


Q: How hard has it been doing a day time zombie movie? It is not what fans are expecting. Resident Evil has the night time feel to it so with this change, was it a challenge  to keep that horror feel in the daytime?


Oded Fehr: I know. It is hard. There are interior scenes. We do have the zombies inside but those super zombies are great out in the dessert. They are really great. I think it really gives that feeling of a post apocalyptic world. Everything is dusty and destroyed and there is very little food left and these zombies are scary as heck. There is no getting away from them. Survival is much much harder. I think it is gonna look great. I think it is going to be very exciting and still very very scary.


Q: The scene you guys are shooting today is kind of the preface to the crow sequence. Have you already shot the crow sequence?


Oded Fehr: It is actually a post crow sequence though it has reference to the fact that the crows have gone through the city.


Q: Did you guys already shoot that sequence? Did they actually use real crows?


Oded Fehr: They use real crows, plastic crows and they are going to use CG crows. It was a combination of all three.


Q: And that sequence is one of the centre pieces because it is this big caravan coming through and all the crews descend on it?


Oded Fehr: It was great. We have a bus full of kids we are trying to rescue. It is very exciting because there is a lot of screaming and people running, the kids running from one bus to the other. There is a lot of gunfire and the rest of it. Somehow it really works well even though we didn’t have many crows.


Q: I hear that scene is very gory, too.


Oded Fehr: Yeah. There is definitely goriness there; crows pecking people’s faces.



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