Wanted to make 'Monster Hunter' for over a decade: director Paul W S Anderson

Komal Panchamatia
·3-min read

Mumbai, Feb 10 (PTI) Hollywood director Paul W S Anderson, best known for his big budget 'Resident Evil' franchise, says he is proud of his latest film 'Monster Hunter' as it gave him a chance to interpret the story in real locations with minimum reliance on CGI technology.

Anderson, who made his debut with the British independent film “Shopping” in 1994, and attained commercial success with Hollywood movie “Mortal Kombat” (1995), followed with “Resident Evil” film series (2002–2016), starring his actor-wife Milla Jovovich, believes it is always better to keep things as real as possible in cinema.

“Monster Hunter”, which features Jovovich and Thai star Tony Jaa, is based on Capcom's popular video game franchise of the same name. In the movie, Jovovich stars as United States Army captain Natalie Artemis who finds herself at odds with powerful and deadly monsters.

Anderson, 55, said he played the video game for the first time in Japan over 10 years ago and kept thinking about making a movie on the game ever since.

“It’s a wonderful world that I've been obsessed with for over a decade now. And I have to say, in my 25 years of making movies, 'Monster Hunter' is my favourite movie, I'm proudest of it.

'It's the movie that we did, despite all the physical challenges of making it. It's the movie I had the most fun making, the cast were just terrific, Diego Boneta, Tony Jaa, Milla, Ron Perlman, others. They were all great, committed and passionate,” he said in a Zoom interview.

The director said the key for a visually appealing movie is to not rely entirely on technology but also make it look as real as possible, a lesson he learnt from visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich, with whom he worked on his 1997 film “Event Horizon”.

“Richard had started out working in movies like 'Blade Runner'. You look back at those movies and they still look fantastic and one of the reasons is that his favourite kind of visual effects was no visual effects. His first question was, 'Can you do it for real? Can you just build it?'... And that was a really important lesson for me and that's never changed.” That's why the team decided to shoot the film on real locations like South Africa and Namibia in extreme weather conditions.

“It's easier to create a CG (computer graphics) landscape. But that dates pretty fast and if you put a CG monster against CG landscape, that can't help but feel synthetic.

'I think what's one of the real strengths of 'Monster Hunter' is, it's CG monsters locked into real landscapes, real dust, real environments. I think the monsters look even better because they're kind of locked into this reality,” Anderson said.

The director said they went into 'kind of inhospitable parts of the world' to shoot the film, which was physically challenging for the team.

Anderson, who has worked with his 45-year-old actor-wife on eight films now, said Jovovich is honest, analytical and gives great script notes but they have different views on storytelling.

“Milla is very analytical. If she was running a studio they wouldn't make anything because everything would just be in development forever, until every single plot hole is completely filled. Every movie would be about seven hours, along with long exposition sequences, explaining everything.

'I'm opposite of that, I see cinema as a visual medium. Like, 'Monster Hunter' is large, exciting, the communication tends to be nonverbal, less dialogues, etc. Cinema sometimes is better to learn character through action rather than through dialogue,” he said.

'Monster Hunter' released in Indian theatres on last Friday. PTI KKP BK RDS RDS