NOV. 23. 2021.
You can watch the whole interview down below, and read a transcribed version of the interview underneath:
CASSANDRA HAGER: Johannes, Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today, it's so nice to meet you.
JOHANNES ROBERTS: Not at all!
CH: First of all, Resident Evil is such a popular franchise and I hear you are a really big fan.
JR: Absolutely, yes.
CH: What does it mean to get behind the wheel of a project you've been a fan of for such a long time?
JR: It was a really interesting thing, because I was very familiar with both the game and the previous movie franchise and I liked both a lot. It was so fun to be handed the reins to this. With the previous movie franchise, it was its own thing. It was not necessarily close to the game. It was really about Mila and her character. It was its own world of shiny sci-fi action. I'm a horror guy, and it was great to get the reins of this franchise and go, 'Guys, let's go back to the first and second game.' You know, as a student I was playing those games and they were scaring the crap out of me, and I was like let's go back there and make something really scary that will grab an audience in a whole new way.
CH: I watched the trailer. I'm a horror girl too, and it scared the heck out of me.
JR: Oh great! Good!
CH: Since there is this hardcore built-in fanbase, are you a little nervous about doing this film justice to the millions of fans out there?
JR: Yeah, It's a weird thing. It's definitely built to be nerve-wracking. You know, I just started as a fan wanting to do a horror movie, and now that it's closer to the release, the online chatter is big. You become very aware that everybody has their own view of the game and what people should look like and say and stuff like that. It can be quite daunting.
CH: They haven't even seen it yet, and they already have so many opinions.
JR: Yeah, and the weirdest thing is people being very passionate about the source material which I totally get, and wanting me to reflect that accurately. But equally, I have to make this thing its own entity. This needs to be its own world where the people who live and breathe in it are real human beings who have real human desires and emotions and it needs to live and breathe in a way that is completely different to the game, which can be tricky to explain to people.
CH: I can imagine, and also making it something that is watchable and enjoyable for people who don't know anything about Resident Evil.
JR: Yeah, the good thing is as far as I was concerned there was a very clear direction. There's fans of the games, fans of the movie franchise, and people who like scary movies. They all like different things, but the one thing they all combined together to want is to be scared. And that's what I wanted. Every time I go to a horror movie at the cinema I say my little prayer to the gods of horror movies and go 'please make this one scary.' So, if I were going to watch this movie and not know anything about it I would say, 'just scare me.' So that was my real prime directive. So I'm hoping no matter where you're coming from in this movie you are coming to be scared.
CH: So fans of the original game are really going to see what they know and love?
JR: Oh yes. It's primarily the second game. Like, I was obsessed with the remake of the second game while I was writing this and that's the sort of cornerstone that I've built this around. You'll recognize a lot from that game and the tone of the first game and a real emphasis on horror and scares. Every frame is a love letter to the game.
CH: So you were talking about internet chatter, and I'm just curious... Do you pay a lot of attention to that?
JR: I've been around for a while, but I've never taken the helm of something so fan-based. I dipped my toe in very briefly and since then I have not gone back. It's very passionate, is what I would say. Sometimes it's not desperately pleasant. So, I'm obviously very in touch with what fans want and don't want. I get to hear that from people, but I try not to follow too much there, because you go down some dark rabbit holes there and anything you do is wrong.
CH: Right, you can't please everyone.
JR: Yeah, you can't please anyone as far as I can tell (laughs).
CH: Well Johannes it was so wonderful speaking with you, the trailer looks great and best of luck!
JR: Thank you very much!
RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY is now playing EXCLUSIVELY in cinemas