In honour of the upcoming CG movie, Resident Evil: Vendetta, Crunchyroll recently got the opportunity to sit down with its two leads in an audio interview: Matthew Mercer (Leon S. Kennedy) and Erin Cahill (Rebecca Chambers), asking them about their approach to the film, things fans can look forward to from it, and what projects they have on the horizon.
The full, 20-minute audio interview can be viewed below, with a summary immediately after.
(NOTE: All questions and answers in this summary are paraphrased. For the full context and nuance, as well as the extra bits of banter and chemistry between the two actors and the interviewer, it is encouraged to play the video.)
Q1: Matt has played Leon before, being his main voice actor ever since Resident Evil 6. How is it different voicing Leon in a film, versus a video game?
Matt: The difference is less the genre or medium, and more the storyline itself of where Leon should be at that point in time. Leon's arc changes from story to story - the adventures that he goes through weigh on him mentally and emotionally, so it is key to keep this in mind to address the character properly. It would influence whether he should be played as a cocky young upstart, or as a more jaded veteran.
Q2: For Erin, Rebecca has been around since RE1, though this is her first time in the role. Was she familiar with Resident Evil coming into the project?
Erin is a fan of the Resident Evil world, and have seen many of the live-action movies, as well as the previous CGI movie, Damnation. She hasn't played all the games, as someone who isn't a gamer. Working on Vendetta made her more aware of and knowledgeable of the series and its lore. She has told Matt that she has fallen further in love with the series, its fans, and Matt himself. (Look out, Marisha.) She loved playing Rebecca, because of how well-liked she is in the community. It's great to portray her as a well-rounded adult, showing traits like vulnerability, brains, strength, and badassery.
Q3 - How would you tell an audience about where the characters are at the beginning?
Matt: Leon has seen it all before, having been through a number of outbreaks, fought the T-Virus several times already, fought private military corporations, and lost several people he trusted and was close to. This has weighed on him heavily, so the story begins with him facing the trauma and survivors' guilt of losing his squad, and the existentialist questions of if his fight is even worth it when things seem like they're never getting better.
Erin: Rebecca is growing into adulthood, and has already established a new life for herself as a university professor in order to better the world, leaving her work with Bravo Team behind. Essentially, the film is her re-entry into the world after years away from it. Erin hopes fans can look forward to the contrast between Rebecca as she begins and ends the movie.
Q4 - Talking about the new villain, Glenn Arias. What are your thoughts?
Erin: Her opinion is somewhat biased (Matt interjects, "Can't imagine why!"). She says his voice actor, John DeMita, is such a fantastic man and actor, and treated the two actors as if he was almost a big brother figure. Glenn is more than a classically-horrible antagonist, but a flawed character who acts out of coming from a broken place, which she thinks is beautiful.
Matt: His favourite villains are the ones you can empathize with, and understand why they became who they are. Sure, Glenn had a crummy past, but you can understand what pushed him into doing his actions. They come from a morally-grey place that viewers learn about as the film continues, but it hopefully doesn't detract from the fact that he is a terrible person. He believes it strengthens the story to be as fascinated in the villains as in the heroes.
Erin: It is satisfying for the audience to feel empathetic with his anger and suffering, though at the same time, you don't want him to win.
Q5 - Favourite scenes?
Both actors' favourite scene is a sequence where Leon, riding a motorcycle, is chased down a freeway by zombie dogs. Erin describes it as one of the film's most tense and fearful moments, with Matt calling it a good primer to a lot of the action and choreography within the film. Watching it is very over-the-top, even dance-like, capturing the feeling Resident Evil is known for. When in the booth recording the film, both actors would actually be jawstruck by some of the the film's over-the-top setpieces.
Q6 - Asking them about some of their other credits.
Erin: When asked about Call of Duty, she finds it's amazing that she ended up in two of the biggest game franchises. For Call of Duty, she did motion and facial capture. The job itself was fun, as was meeting the fans. She laments not getting to play the game and see her character outside of the booth. However, she has seen clips on the Internet. She finds the Call of Duty and Power Rangers fanbases to be among the most loyal, and genuinely loves meeting fans not only of herself, but of the series she works on. When asked what other franchises she'd like to work on, Erin asks if they could come back to her later, as it's a good question.
Matt: Asked about his roles as McCree in Overwatch and Levi in Attack on Titan. Matt is continuously blown away by the Overwatch community, the Blizzard team, and the phenomenon that Overwatch has become. He also notes the patience fans have had in waiting for Attack on Titan's second season. If Levi had to give a message to anyone listening, it would be "If you have the opportunity, please keep your living space clean."
Q7 - What else do you have on horizon you'd like people to know about?
Erin: On Sunday, she is in a Lifetime thriller called "Hush Little Baby", is starring in a romcom called "Youth Group" as the female lead, and recurs on a show called "Stitchers", appearing in 4 of its 10 episodes this season.
Matt: Has a lot of NDA'd projects that were shown at E3, but if you keep your ear out here and there you might hear him. He can, naturally, mention Critical Role, his weekly Dungeons and Dragons show on Geek and Sundry, starring himself and several other voice actors.
Final question: Following up with Erin on her game question.
Erin: Glad they actually remembered this. Not sure what specific franchises she wants to work on, but would love to be in a superhero game (especially DC or Marvel) or play a fairy or some other sort of mythological creature. Kara thinks she sounds adorable, in what Matt claims is her first callback.
Resident Evil Vendetta has a limited screening on Monday, June 19th, and comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on July 18th.