Ali Larter Interview, Resident Evil Afterlife

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

MoviesOnline sat down with Ali Larter to talk about her role in the upcoming “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” The 3D science fiction action horror film, written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich, is the fourth installment in a series of film adaptations based on Capcom's survival horror video game series Resident Evil.

Ali plays Claire Redfield, a survivor of the worldwide virus infection that has turned its victims into the Undead. In this latest installment of the sci fi franchise, she suffers from amnesia and is unsure whether the man who is working for an unnamed military organization combating the infected is actually her older brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller).

Ali talked to us about how she got in shape for the role, what it was like working with the stunt coordinators on her cool fight scene with the Axe Man, and how shooting the film in 3D was both exciting and challenging. She also updated us on the status of the Heroes wrap-up movie and shared with us why she enjoys coming to San Diego for Comic Con and thinks it’s such an exciting place to be. Here’s what she had to say:

MoviesOnline: How did you get into shape for the film and what kind of training did you do?

Ali Larter: I’m very athletic to begin with. I played sports my whole life. I love all kind of outdoor activities. So, for me, I love to get a chance to do that stuff. I love working with the stunt coordinators and coming up with the different choreographed scenes. I have a really cool fight scene with the Axe Man which was fun to do. We also shot that with the Phantom Camera which is a 3D camera. We got the camera straight from James Cameron’s Avatar but this one’s in slow motion. This camera can only shoot 23 seconds and then it breaks. Then you have to wait two hours and then you start again. It was really fun and it was a challenge to shoot in 3D but it was very exciting to be on the forefront of a new technology.

MoviesOnline: Was James Cameron available for tech support?

Ali Larter: (Laughs) No, but I was reading the New Yorker article while I was up there working on it.

MoviesOnline: As an actor, what’s the new stuff the director is telling you to do now with 3D?

Ali Larter: Well, you can’t cheat. The cheats are what’s really hard because a lot of time you learn how you can do that and just move to get out of the angle. There’s a lot of new kind of technical difficulties that come along with shooting in 3-D. But also, how many times do you get to work in something that’s a new medium in a way? It’s really exciting, really fresh and part of it is that it takes extra time and you might make mistakes. We’re the second people to get these cameras. They were building rigs because these cameras had never been used outside. It’s really fun to be a part of it. I’m excited to see how it turns out. I think 3D is an amazing fit with the Resident Evil franchise. You see all these movies now that in post are turned into 3D just to do it and hop on the band wagon where with 3D in Resident Evil, it just feels like a really cool marriage. And Paul wrote the script specifically to enhance the 3D elements.

MoviesOnline: Does that mean you can’t get away with faking as much and you have to be involved? Can you talk about stuff that you might not have had to do before?

Ali Larter: Definitely. Right on. You just have to hit your mark exactly. There’s no room for error in 3-D. They have to see playback. When you’re shooting these scenes, they’ll say “Cut” and you’ll look up and the crew is in 3D glasses and there’s monitors all over. Then there’s the beauty tent. So you have to go in and see specifically. Makeup has to run in and see how that looks because sometimes you could be totally washed out. Other times you have to have on all this makeup just to even see that you have any features. There’s such a learning curve that comes with it. But we had an incredible crew and I was really excited to work with people that were really excited to learn and take on the challenge.

MoviesOnline: I’m sure it will look fantastic in the movie, but what did that 3D worthy makeup look like in real life?

Ali Larter: A little more rouge than I’m comfortable with. (Laughs)

MoviesOnline: Was it a slower shooting process?

Ali Larter: Definitely. Some days we’d only shoot 30 seconds worth of footage but you have to be patient. The people are just learning with these cameras. They’re very sensitive. You have to be sweet and delicate with these bad boys. If it’s too cold, they freeze up. It it’s too hot, they get steamy. But that’s what’s exciting about it. We’re the second movie to get to use them. It really brings a freshness to this Resident Evil.

MoviesOnline: You and Milla are friends off camera. What did you gals do to have a good time?

Ali Larter: She’s amazing. I was thrilled when I ran into Paul with Milla and she said “Paul’s writing this kick-ass role for you again.” I was really excited that they wanted to bring me back. There are two sides. I was thrilled that the fans embraced Claire Redfield because I know how sci-fi fans can be. They can be vicious, especially when you’re taking on one of their loves. So, it was important to me. I was really excited that they wanted to see more of me and they wanted to have me back. Truthfully, if the fans hadn’t embraced me, I wouldn’t have had a chance to do this one. I also loved the fact of coming back with Paul directing. Paul nailed the heart and soul of this franchise. I’m excited just to get to work and play with him. They’ve done it from the beginning, and with Paul directing, his knowledge of the mythology of the franchise is so helpful to me as an actor who doesn’t play the game. I did my research but things can be out of order. Certain things wouldn’t make sense to me and he would be able to be there, right on set, to explain different things or how he was going to edit it or how he was going to move this scene here to help it make sense and part of it really for this movie was taking that leap of faith with Paul and just trusting that when he assembles the movie, it’s going to look pretty bad ass.

MoviesOnline: Speaking of sci-fi fans, what have you heard of the Heroes wrap-up movie that they’ve been talking about?

Ali Larter: I had heard some rumors about that right around when we were cancelled, but then I haven’t heard any again. So, I don’t know, but I’d have to be a pregnant superhero. They’d better hurry up. If they wait too long, I think all the actors are kind of off doing their own thing. It could be kind of fun to play a pregnant superhero. In the new X-Men movie they can find a little role for me and I’ll be the hero in there. It would be great to say goodbye to everybody or hello again. Let’s put it that way.

MoviesOnline: Is that something where you need to have that closure or would you be okay either way?

Ali Larter: It would be great just to say goodbye to everybody or hello again. Let’s put it that way. When you’re cancelled, you never know that’s going to happen so there’s not a chance to say goodbye to the family that you really create on set. Since I started working in this business when I was 20 years old, it’s always been about creating the family environment whenever I’m working. I’ve always been somebody who tries to be really open in life and open to relationships so I’ve formed so many incredible friendships. It’s a bummer that you don’t get to see these people and hear how their families are and just the work for our crew is always hard to get. So it’s a bummer for me that some of them didn’t have that set ins to the jobs.

MoviesOnline: How did you hear that they’d cancelled because they kept you waiting?

Ali Larter: Yeah, they did. We got a call. I was actually surprised because you kept hearing how great we do internationally. I was just in Spain doing the Samsung job. We travel internationally. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my career. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t have as many channels or what it is. On an international level, they embraced that show so much. Honestly, in my career, I think that Resident Evil and Heroes are two things I’m really, really proud of. Of the fans, they really have gotten behind it. It’s been a new side of this business for me. My husband’s in comedy. You don’t get the loyalty of the fans. The sci-fi fans are the best in the world. This is my fifth time being down here [at Comic Con in San Diego] and I just love being here. I love coming down to Comic Con.

MoviesOnline: Can you believe how the Final Destination franchise is still going?

Ali Larter: Right. It’s still going. There’s 3-D boobs in that now so I think they took it a little farther than I’d want to go.

MoviesOnline: So there’s no 3D boobs in Resident Evil?

Ali Larter: (Laughs) Don’t you wish! I think Paul maybe did it late at night.

MoviesOnline: Did Milla give you any advice about kids and what you should eat?

Ali Larter: Not yet, but I’m going to see her this afternoon and I absolutely can’t wait. She’s an incredible mother and Ever was up on set with us while we were shooting and she really has figured out a way to balance it all and to have a career. One of the things I felt very lucky about is in this industry you can do it. As an actress, you can have children and it doesn’t take away from the kind of roles that you want to do. The actresses that I admire, when I look at Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon, they all have families. So I just feel really lucky that I work in a field where it doesn’t hurt you.

MoviesOnline: Is there anything you have not been able to stop eating?

Ali Larter: I eat everything. I bake myself strawberry shortcakes and I wake up at 3 in the morning and I eat them. I love it. So much of the time I have to be careful. I work out and play certain roles where it’s important for me to look a certain way. But now it’s just freedom. It’s like bring on the Sprinkles cupcakes, pizza, pasta. I’m loving it.

MoviesOnline: How has your Comic Con experience been?

Ali Larter: It’s just started. Today is my first day here and I’m going to go down on the floor hopefully when we get over to the building, but I love being here. I just feel like there’s a little bit of joy that surrounds it all. I feel like a lot of the people who come to Comic Con sit behind the computer screens and are behind the blogging, and to come here, it’s like they’re out of the closet. They’re out of their small world and they get to be around all these people that are like-minded and that inspire them and have their kind of genius, alternative minds. I just think it’s an exciting place to be.

MoviesOnline: You’re so well known for the sci-fi stuff, do you have a desire to do something comedic?

Ali Larter: Definitely. I’d love to. I’m excited to have this time to have a baby and to just take a moment with my life. I’ve been really lucky to work on movies like Resident Evil and Heroes but now that that’s over and this is over, I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life and my career. I think doing a comedy or doing something like that would be really fun.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” opens in theaters on September 10, 2010.

 

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