Preparing for the Apocalypse with Resident Evil: Damnation's Makoto Kamiya [Full]
We were eager to pick his brain, he wanted to eat ours.
We've got a fever and the only cure is...more cowbell more brain-hungry Resident Evil action! Normally, we'd go to our friendly Umbrella Corporation pharmaceutical rep for a cure to this ailment, but we decided to sidestep the middleman and talk to Makoto Kamiya, the director of Resident Evil: Damnation. Coming this September, the film will serve as a prequel of sorts to the events of October's highly-anticipated Resident Evil 6. After catching some exclusive footage at San Diego Comic-Con, we caught up with Kamiya-san to talk to him about where the film fits canonically, why survival horror is so beloved and how he'd fare in a zombie apocalypse.
TOKYOPOP: You have directed a Resident Evil film before. What is it about this franchise that keeps bringing you back?
Makoto Kamiya: [laughs] Keeps bringing me back? It’s only my second film! I’ve always been a Resident Evil fan and I’ve worked with Kobayashi-san, the producer from CAPCOM, on other projects in the past. When we were working together, I told him that I was a big RE fan, so when the Resident Evil: Degeneration project started, Kobayashi-san asked me, “Would you like to direct this film for us?” I said to myself that it’s really important to keep telling people what you like and it could happen.
TP: For Resident Evil fans, where does this film fit canonically in the timeline of the games?
MK: The previous film, Degeneration, took place after Resident Evil 4, but things have changed regarding the proliferation of the virus and the BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons). We wanted to show what’s going on in the world regarding BOWs and the characters you’ll play in Resident Evil 6. That’s what we’re showing in Resident Evil: Damnation; it actually falls right before Resident Evil 6. It’s between RE5 and RE6.
TP: So, this can be taken as a prequel or a lead-up to Resident Evil 6?
MK: [laughs] In all honesty, I have no idea what the Resident Evil 6 story is about, but I hope this serves as a lead-up to that game’s events.
TP: What is it about survival horror as a genre that resonates with fans?
MK: In other horror genre games or films, you’re always the victim, you’re always being attacked. You want to be scared. But, in the survival horror genre, you’re actually given a chance to fight what scares you. You’re not just running away; you can beat it. I think that’s what makes it very fun.
TP: Tell us about the decision to use CG for this film as opposed to a more traditional animated style? Was this to keep it stylistically rooted in the world of the games?
MK: Yes, since our films are based on the video games, which are based on CGI and 3D models, we wanted to keep that look. There are the live-action films, which are a totally different thing, but if the whole idea was to do 2D animation, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I wouldn’t be directing it, so I’m glad they did it in CGI.
TP: Apart from this project, what can we look forward to from you in the coming year?
MK: As you can probably imagine, I can’t really give you any details as to what I’m working on in the future. But, right before I left Japan for Comic-Con, I visited a big Japanese film studio and I have been discussing a couple projects with them. We’re at the very initial stage of a couple of projects. One of them might not happen, but the other one looks like it’s definitely going to happen. I wouldn’t be directing either of these; I’d be working on the visual effects and supporting the director.
TP: A bit off-topic, but how would you fare in a zombie apocalypse?
MK: First of all, I would try to gather as many weapons as possible. The thing is, collecting firearms in Japan is almost impossible. It’s very difficult. If I happened to be in the United States, everything’s in total chaos, I would just go into a gun shop and gather as many guns as possible. But, if I were in Japan, what can I do? Maybe if I were by a Self-Defense Force base, then I would just go in there and get my guns.
Resident Evil: Damnation comes to Blu-ray/DVD this September and to theaters in late October. Zombies come shortly thereafter, so stock up on first-aid spray.