Resident Evil 2: Oded Fehr

Resident Evil 2: Oded Fehr
Resident Evil 2's Carlos Olivera talks about the sequel, The Mummy, and working with Milla.
Updated: 06-01-2004

On a sunny day in May, Oded Fehr was in downtown Los Angeles at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel to introduce the brand new trailer of Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse to the press. The short, still-rough trailer depicted some of the things we already know and love from the first film in this video-game-turned-horror-flick franchise: zombies, zombie dogs, and Milla Jovovich kicking zombie butt. We're also introduced to a giant behemoth-like creature called Nemesis, and his creepy cohorts.

Picking up where the first film left off, General Cain (Thomas Kretschmann) orders The Hive to be reopened, and in so doing contaminates all of Raccoon City -- now a city of the dead -- leaving Alice (Jovovich) no way out. Now, along with other survivors -- Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Carlos Oliviera (Fehr) and his Captain, Nicholai (Zack Ward) -- she must fight just to survive. And there's another problem: Matt Addison (Matthew G. Taylor) has fully mutated into a seemingly unstoppable creature (code named Nemesis) who will stop at nothing until everything and everyone is under his control.

Looking dressy but casual in a lavender shirt, faded jeans, and a spiky hair-do, Fehr took questions after we all viewed the trailer.

Question: Which character do you play?

Answer: I play a character called Carlos Olivera and basically, he worked for the Umbrella Corporation (who are responsible for what happened). He worked for them as a hired gun. There's an outbreak in the city, and he was sent in to actually take out the Umbrella personnel. To evacuate them. He decides to save a woman that he sees that's about to be killed by the undead, therefore he was left to die by the Umbrella Corporation. He realizes that they kind of double-crossed him. They didn't really 'double-cross' him but they left him to die. And he joins with Alice and Jill, who fight the Umbrella Corporation, and tries to save their lives and bring the truth out.

Who had more training – you, or Milla?

Answer: Milla. No comparison, whatsoever. Milla does some pretty amazing things in this movie. I think the idea that Milla is part of the experiment and therefore Milla herself is a little more than human. And because of that, she has abilities that are a little more than human. As an actress to portray that, you have to work very, very, very hard. She really does amazing things. I can tell you that I do martial arts and she, as a person who is not a martial artist, does amazing things in this movie. It was amazing to watch, while filming this.

What's the concept in Resident Evil 2? That they've closed off the whole city and everyone is trapped?

Answer: The idea is that they've closed off the whole city. It's one of the main bridges that lead into the city and they're basically trying to shut off the city so that the disease doesn't spread.

What was it like for you to work with more modern guns in this movie, as opposed to the antiques in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns?

Answer: It was nice. Less jamming! (laughs) It's a ridiculous thing to say, but truthfully I don't really like guns. But I end up playing a lot of characters who use a lot of guns. Yeah, it's a modern movie and it allows you to do a lot of new things with helicopters and high-tech things, lasers, and things like that. It was a lot of fun.

Is your character in the games?

Answer: Yes. Carlos Olivera is in Resident Evil 3, The Apocalypse game.

Had you played it?

Answer: You know what? I wasn't a big game person. I'm from the Atari generation, you know. I can play the Pac-Man and all that, but I kind of grew out of it at a certain point. I think, more out of fear that I'll get so hooked that I'll never be able to do anything else, so that's why I try to avoid playing games. When we were shooting the movie, I – you know, for research reasons – I had to spend hours and hours completing Resident Evil 2, which I am very proud of. High score, yeah.

How does the movie compare with the game?

Answer: We tried to bring the game alive, because the story of the movie and story of the games have similarities but they're not parallel.  They're not the exact same story line, especially with the characters. The character of Alice is not really featured in the games. Jill Valentine is very much so, but Alice is not. So we tried to give a feeling of the games, keeping that alive a little bit more with the little things. Sienna was great, for instance. You'll see in the movie she stands there and she's tapping her gun exactly like she does in the game, like the character does in the game, and things like that. But what I think is great about this movie is that is does, for people who enjoy the game, the whole situation of being in a city where you have all the undead and all the rest of it, it really brings it to life. The game is still always the game, and it's never 100% real, but the movie does make it feel very real. It puts you through that experience.

In an action movie like this how do you find the balance in acting fearless, yet showing a little fear?

Answer: I think it's essential. If you play a character that is fearless, then it's boring. If you go (makes hand-gestures) then people lose the human aspect of it. That's what I think was so incredible about Harrison Ford, is that he always seems like he's never going to survive it, he's always scared, and he does survive somehow. It's scary. Listen, they dropped me from a something called a descender, 45-feet over a cement parking lot. That was scary; I don't think I needed to do a lot to bring that out. In fact I tried to avoid showing a little too much [fear]!

Did you do most of your own stunts?

Answer: I tried to, yes. Definitely. All the fighting, kicking, things like that. I always try to, as much I can. I think it gives the director an opportunity to really cover the scene a lot better; you don't have to hide the face, or the physical movements.

Now that Dawn of the Dead has come out, how will Resident Evil 2 keep the zombies "fresh"?

Answer: You could ask the same thing, I suppose, about the games. How do you keep the games fresh? I think people just, uh – it's a scary thought, you know, dead people coming back to life. People enjoy seeing it. I think it's not the actual zombies that would make this film special, it's the more the story that's being told and the way it's shot. If you remember the first Resident Evil – now, I admit, this is not my kind of movie, I don't necessarily like scary movies. I get scared of them (laughs). I don't like scaring myself, but when I watched Resident Evil, the first one, what I really enjoyed was a movie that didn't try to be something too big. It's ridiculous to say this, but it's very realistic in the situation that the characters were put in. It was very gritty, kind of a real feel to the action, to – to everything, the urgency of getting out of the structure that they in, and so on. This is the same way. I mean, it's a very big movie, it's a very exciting movie, it's a lot of action, but I think still you'll find it's very realistic (as realistic can be). It's difficult to explain, because how do you do a movie about dead people and make it realistic, but it is.

How did you end up in all these monster movies, if horror isn't your favorite genre?

Answer: I ask myself that everyday (laughs). I don't know what to say about that one, I really don't.

What would your ideal project be?

Answer: I'm working on something right now that is more (chuckles) an adventure movie. I enjoy these movies, I mean, they're a lot of fun to film. You can't really complain when you're dressed up as a hero and you run around and you kick butt and do all that. It's sometimes a little bit too much, you know what I mean? I come up against five stunt guys and I kick their ass, and you know, you start thinking that you can actually do these kinds of things. It's not bad, it's not bad. Shooting them, I love; but watching them, I can't really do.

Is there any once scene in the movie that you can't wait to see finished and on the big screen? Anything with CGI you're wondering about?

Answer: [There is CGI] but a lot of it is real. Real in the sense that it's makeup or it's action that's being filmed there, explosions that are being done there. There's definitely CGI work, but it's not… I don't want to give too many things away. You know, there's a lot of CGI to cover wires and things like that, but a lot of it is real. There's a scene that, uh the final scene, there's a huge, huge battle scene. It's mostly the Alice character coming up against the Nemesis and it was a huge scene to film. There's a lot of elements involved and I'm very excited about seeing how that will come together. As far as CGI for that scene, there's not that much CGI; there are no added creatures as far as I remember, or things like that. That's what I think is going to be special about this movie, again going back to your question with regards to how is this movie different.

Have the zombies evolved?

Answer: No, I think the zombies are quite the same. They walk around, and they're biting, and they're dangerous (laughs). Listen, there's a whole… I'm coming on set [and I see] two people who are  in charge of the movement of the zombies. Literally, they would go through zombie school. The actors who did this would have to go to a zombie school of a weeks' training to get… to know how to do, the zombies. It's very well thought out. I'm like, "Ok, it's a walking dead person. What's the big deal?" But no. It seems that there is a bit of a big deal about it, and I think you'll feel that quality in the movie.

Why are zombies so angry?

Answer: If they weren't, they wouldn't be dramatic, you know? I don't know. I suggested that we could be walking down the street eating ice cream cones and they could pass by us [waves] but, no. That wouldn't have been dramatic enough, I think.

Have you heard anything about plans for a third Mummy film?

Answer: No. I haven't. I think Stephen Sommers just this weekend released Van Helsing and I think he's going to take a little breather after that. I'm sure Universal will want him involved in that [promotion].

Would you want to play Ardeth Bay again?

Answer: (sighs) Yeah. I mean, um, it's one of those things. Yeah, I'd love to do a third one. Am I waiting anxiously to do a third one? No. If there will be a third one and I would be involved, I would love to do it. I had a great time doing it, The Mummy is what gave me a career, and I love the character of Ardeth Bay. Again, I'm not sure what they're going to do. Going back to that movie, I don’t know how you'd top that and keep it there. I think they'd have to kind of change it around and do something new with it.

Was doing The Mummy movies good practice for Resident Evil 2?

Answer: I suppose, yeah. I think the similarities with regards to filming many of the actions on how to bring the action to life, how make a punch sell on film, and to make a kick, how to shoot guns, and all that, and definitely the acting against something that's not there [green screen] is very helpful.

Are you filming your new adventure project now?

Answer: I'm not filming.  I'm working on something now, which is more of a… uh, my wife is a producer and we're kind of putting this movie together.

What was it like working with the new Resident Evil 2 director, Alexander Witt?

Answer: Great. I have to that with Alexander, it's always a very scary thing working with a first-time director in the sense that he's worked a lot but not as a director on a movie. He was great. Great to work with, I think he has a great eye, [and is a] very, very nice man.

Interview by Staci Layne Wilson for

Latest User Comments:
I would like to see Resident Evil2! I think, that it should be fantastic film!!!
06-05-2004 by Gonzo discuss