Wentworth Miller :: life after ’Prison Break’
With the success of Prison Break over its four-year run, you’d think Wentworth Miller would be in high demand for movies during his hiatus between each season. He actually was, but he made a conscious decision to focus on the show while he was doing it. Now that the Michael Scofield saga has ended, he accepted a movie offer, to join the Resident Evil team for their fourth film, Resident Evil: Afterlife.
"The first thing I did after Prison Break was actually an episode of Law & Order SVU, which was a show I want to be a part of in some small way," Miller said. "I think that was a pretty clear indication of where my head was at. There’s a certain well-worn narrative in this industry about a TV actor who wraps up a series that put him on the map, and now it’s time to throw your hat into the feature film ring. I don’t subscribe to that narrative, it’s not my story. For me a role is a role is a role, and whether that’s TV, film or theater, I just have to go with what inspires me."
Video game influence
The fourth adaptation of the Capcom video game finally includes Chris Redfield. Even in his best physical shape, Miller doesn’t look like the electronic Adonis from the Xbox, but he made it his own.
"In preparing for the role, I felt the need to respect what was already out there, in terms of the video game mythology, and I did my research online, going to fan sites and blogs to find out what the conversation was about this character, what the expectations might be. But then I had to balance that with who I am as an actor, and what I inherently bring to the table, and who is the Chris Redfield that [writer/director] Paul W.S. Anderson establishes in this movie. He’s very specific to the feature film interpretation of Resident Evil, rather than the video game. It was a question of balancing all three influences, and I’d like to think that I did my best."
That research was as close as Miller gets to video games. "My family put an emphasis on education so it was all about homework. There wasn’t much time for comic books or video games, so this is kind of my chance to have a second childhood. It’s like a do-over."
Both the games and the films begin with the release of the Umbrella Corp’s T-virus which turns the dead into walking zombies. The films focus on a new character, Alice (Milla Jovovich) who has been allying with different groups of survivors, some from the games, to battle Umbrella.
"I had to do my homework," Miller said. "I was aware of the series and I remember specifically the trailer for the third movie with that shot over Vegas, and it’s buried in the sand. It was very iconic and arresting. I asked the producers to put together a montage of significant sequences from the video game that explained or spoke to my character’s history or mythology. That was part of my research."
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Watch the trailer for Resident Evil: Afterlife: