Oded Fehr Previews Resident Evil: Apocalypse
He's the action/hero gorgeous good guy desert warrior Ardeth Bay in the "Mummy" films. Israeli-born actor Oded Fehr was a sailor boy in the Israeli navy before taking on stage roles and films. He spoofed his "Mummy" role at the 2001 MTV Movie awards so his sense of humor is intact. In downtown L.A. recently, the actor was kind enough to introduce to the press a rock-um-sock-um new trailer for the zombie actioner Resident Evil: Apocalypse in which he co-stars with Milla Jovovich, the sole cast survivor of the original 2002 film Resident Evil based on the popular video game series. Here's the scoop from the very hot Oded about fighting the Undead!
TeenHollywood: Who do you play in Resident Evil: Apocalypse?
Oded: I play a character called Carlos Olivera. Basically he works as a hired gun for the Umbrella Corporation who are responsible for what happens. There's an outbreak in the city and he is sent in to actually take out the Umbrella personnel, evacuate them. He decides to save a woman that he sees is about to be killed by the undead, and therefore he was left to die by the Umbrella corporation. He realizes that they have double crossed him. He joins with Alice (Milla Jovovich) to fight the Umbrella Corporation and try to save their lives and bring the truth out.
TeenHollywood: Who had more training, you or Milla?
Oded: Milla by no comparison whatsoever. Milla does very amazing things in this movie. I think the idea is that she is a part of the experiment, therefore Milla herself is a little more than human. And because of that, obviously she has abilities that are a little more than human. As an actress to portray that, she worked very, very, very hard. I can tell you that I do martial arts and she is not a martial artist but does amazing things in this movie.
TeenHollywood: In the trailer, it looks like the gates are closing off the whole of Racoon City to the outside world.
Oded: Yeah. The idea is that it's closing off the city. It's one of the main bridges that leads into the city and they're basically trying to shut off the city so the disease doesn't spread.
TeenHollywood: Was it more fun working with more modern guns than the ones in the "Mummy" films?
Oded: Yeah. It was nice. Less jamming. It's a ridiculous thing to say, but truthfully, I don't really like guns. But I end up playing characters that use a lot of guns. Yeah, it's a modern movie and it allows you to do a lot of new things. Working with helicopters and high tech things and lasers and all that, it was a lot of fun.
TeenHollywood: Are you a character from the game?
Oded: Yes, Carlos Olivera is in Resident Evil 3.
TeenHollywood: Do you have any past experience playing video games?
Oded: You know what, I wasn't a big game person. I'm from the Atari generation. I used to play Pac Man and all that and kind of grew out of it at a certain point. I think more out of fear that I'll get so hooked, I'd never be able to do anything else. So I tried to avoid playing games and obviously, when we were shooting the movie, for research reasons, I had to spend hours and hours completing "Resident Evil 2", which I'm very proud of. High Score.
TeenHollywood: Did you take anything from the games for your character?
Oded: Yeah, we tried to bring the game alive. The story of the movie and the story of the game, they have similarities but they're not parallel. It's not the same exact story line, especially with the characters. The character of Alice is not really featured in the game. Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) is very much so, but Alice is not. So we tried to give a feeling of the games and bring that alive a little bit more with little things. Sienna was great. For instance, in the movie, she stands there and she's tapping her gun exactly like her character does in the game, things like that. But I think what's great about this movie is the game is never 100 percent real. The movie does make it feel very real. It really puts you through that experience.
TeenHollywood: As an actor, how do you balance being the hero and being afraid?
Oded: I think it's essential. I think if you play a character that is fearless, then it's boring. Then people lose the human aspect of it. I think that's what was so incredible about Harrison Ford always was that he always seemed like he's never gonna survive it. He's always scared and he always does survive it somehow. It's scary. Listen, they dropped me from something called a descender 45 feet over a cement parking lot. That was scary. I don't think I needed to do a lot to bring that out. I was actually trying to avoid showing a little too much fear.
TeenHollywood: Did you do most of your stunts?
Oded: Yeah, I mean, I tried. There's all the fighting, kicking, things like that, I always try to do as much as I can. I think it gives the director an opportunity to really cover the scene a lot better when you don't have to hide the face or physical movements.
TeenHollywood: How does this zombie movie keep the monsters fresh?
Oded: You know, you can ask the same thing I suppose about the games. How do you keep the games fresh? It's a scary thought, people coming [back] to life and I think people enjoy seeing it. I think it's not the actual zombies that will make this film special. It's more the story that's being told and the way it's shot. The first Resident Evil film was very realistic in the situations that the characters were put in. It was very gritty kind of real feel to the action, to everything, to the urgency of getting out of the structure they were in and so on. This is the same way.
TeenHollywood: What would your ideal project be?
Oded: I'm working on something right now that is more an adventure movie than a scary movie. I gotta tell you, they're a lot of fun to film. You can't really complain when you're dressed up as a hero and you run around, you kick butt and do all that. It's sometimes a little bit too much. I come up against five stunt guys and I kick their a**. You start thinking that you can actually do these kind of things!TeenHollywood: Are there tons of computer effects in Resident Evil: Apocalypse?
Oded: Yes but a lot of it is real in the sense that it's makeup or action that's being filmed there, explosions that are being done there. The final scene, there's a huge, huge battle scene and it's mainly Alice's character coming up against the Nemesis (huge, supernatural bad guy). And it was a huge scene to film. There's a lot of elements involved and I'm very excited about seeing how that will come together.
TeenHollywood: Are the zombies the same as in the first film?
Oded: No, I think the zombies are quite the same. They still walk around and they're biting and they're dangerous, but there is a guy who is in charge of the movement of the zombies. And literally, they would go through zombie school. The actors who would do this would have to go through a zombie school; a week training to know how to do the zombies, because it's very well thought out. I thought okay, a walking dead person, what's the big deal? But no, it seems that there is a big deal and I think you'll feel that quality.
TeenHollywood: In general, why are zombies always so hostile?
Oded: (laughing) If they weren't, it wouldn't be dramatic. I don't know. I was suggesting that they can walk around the street eating ice cream and they can pass by us, but no. It wouldn't have been dramatic enough I think.
TeenHollywood: Would you want to play Ardeth Bay again?
Oded: If there would be a third one and I could be involved, I'd love to do it. I had a great time doing it. The Mummy is what gave me a career and I love the character of Ardeth Bay. But again, I'm not sure what they're going to do because I don't know how you top that and keep up the quality.
TeenHollywood: Were the Mummy films good practice for an action film like this?
Oded: Yeah, I mean, I think there are similarities to filming the action and so on, how to bring the action to life or how to make a punch sell on film. How to make a kick and things like that. Definitely the acting against something that's not there is a very helpful experience.
Look for Resident Evil: Apocalypse in the Fall!
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.