Filming horror movies isn’t always a scary experience – after all, the most famous Scream Queen of them all, Jamie Lee Curtis, can’t stand horrors because they are too terrifying. However, on the set of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, there was one incident that left Kaya Scodelario swearing and screaming because it was simply so petrifying.
Below, the actor – who plays Claire Redfield in the new Resident Evil movie – reveals what happened that led her to, in her words, “shit” herself. She also spoke to GamesRadar+ about creating her own version of Claire and whether she still hangs out with the cast of her breakout show, Skins (spoilers: they’re all best mates). Here’s the full Q&A, edited for length and clarity,
GamesRadar+: How much of Claire did you take from the games? And how did you go about making her your own?
Kaya Scodelario: I took predominantly from the games, that was my main focus. I went back and looked at every version of her, of which there are quite a few, and tried to take the best, the most important, the most iconic elements from each one, to build an ultimate Claire. That was my goal. And so that consisted of the iconic jacket, I really wanted to wear it throughout the movie. There was a lot of discussion about them wanting me to take it off halfway through and I said, “No.” I thought it was very important that we stay with it the entire time. And little details like the feather necklace from the second game, that’s something that I really wanted her to have. And the cool thing about that is I got to keep one of them, splattered in blood, in my bedroom now. It was about finding the Claire from the games, because our movie is definitely an homage to that and a thank you to the fans of the games. It’s the reason why, 25 years later, we can still make a Resident Evil movie – because there are people that have followed the games for so long, and generations that have fallen in love with it and had nightmares because of it. So it was very important that she was rooted in that world.
GamesRadar+: This movie borrows most heavily from the first two games, but you borrowed from all iterations of Claire. Where would you like to see her go next? Code Veronica is the next game for her…
Kaya Scodelario: The Paris storyline seems fun [referring to Claire visiting Paris during the prelude to Code Veronica], seems better than being freezing cold in December [the rest of Code Veronica happens in Antarctica…]. Is there a version where she’s in Hawaii for no reason? I think that’s the one I’d like him to do.
GamesRadar+: We can try and make that happen!
Kaya Scodelario: Or boxy Claire, like proper 90s Claire that moves like that [she does the robot]. That could be pretty cool as well.
GamesRadar+: That could be fun, using either very impressive makeup or some CGI. I always imagined filming these things is surreal: you’re going up against zombies one minute, then suddenly someone calls “Cut,” and the zombie goes, “Oh, what’s for lunch?”
Kaya Scodelario: It’s very, very bizarre. You never really get used to it. You’re on a set, and there are hundreds of people around and it’s a work environment, but there’s nothing quite like screaming for five hours straight and being chased by a zombie and then seeing them queue up for the Porta-Potty. It’s very weird. For me, it’s what I love about my job. It’s the essence of imagination and pretend play. It’s like being a kid again. And you can tell the stunt guys get really into it. They’re very excited to be a zombie for the day.
We had a day where we were rehearsing a stunt in the hallway where one of them jumps out at me. And the stunt guy was not wearing makeup. And they swapped him out without telling me with someone that had already been through makeup. When a real zombie jumped out, I absolutely shit myself. I swore, I screamed, I lost all composure. It still tricks you, your brain doesn’t know the difference.
GamesRadar+: That’s both fun and terrifying. Of course, you haven’t always done horror, there was Skins back in the day. I grew up alongside that show, and I would like to think you’re all in a WhatsApp group and Dev Patel will message saying “Fucking love that Resident Evil movie!” Does that happen?
Kaya Scodelario: It’s better than that, where we are actually mates and we see each other every week. I just spent the weekend with all of them! Well, we don’t see Dev as much because he’s very, very busy working and went off to LA from the very beginning. But the rest of us, all except maybe two, we’re really, really best friends. And we’re actually planning our annual Christmas dinner. Every year we do a friend’s version of Christmas a week before Christmas. And we all look forward to it more than actual Christmas. This year, I’m setting an extra space for Daniel [Kaluuya]’s Oscar because I want him to bring it because I want to see.
We’re all really close. And I think the experience of skins was so unique at the time. We were all so young and so naive about it, that we need each other. We were each other’s support system. I still talk to Nick [that’s Nicholas Hoult] for advice when it comes to career stuff all the time. But we’re also just mates. We don’t really talk about work where we’re actually just friends, which is lovely, and we’re very lucky to have.
GamesRadar+: I’m glad to hear that!
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City reaches theatres in the US on November 24, and UK cinemas on December 3. For more, check out the biggest new video game movies coming our way over the next few years.