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A number of cameos were made in this film. One of the Undead was played by Ben Moody, former lead guitarist of Evanescence. The film's director, Alexander Witt, appeared as the sniper Alice kills on the Raccoon City Hall rooftop. The S.T.A.R.S. team in the Westwood Theatre is said to have been played by Witt's family. That scene was also filmed inside the real Westwood Theatre in Canada.
When Alice escapes from the Nemesis in the RPD, she reconnects a broken finger. Milla was convinced it would be cut out due to the plastic look of the fake finger.
Thomas Kretschmann insisted on wearing his jacket for the film.
Anderson jokes in the DVD commentaries that when Alexander Witt was made director, he knew after Black Hawk Down he'd have to deal with helicopters. A large amount of the film's budget was spent on obtaining helicopters. They were taken from various places.
Certain choices were made in regards to the Nemesis. The awakening of Matt/Nemesis was purposely identical to the awakening of Alice in order to establish some sort of link. The Nemesis costume was altered heavily with make-up and CGI to limit the rubbery look. Anderson felt the idea of the Nemesis firing consecutive rockets at people would lose its appeal, so added in a chaingun.
The electronic maps used by Ashford were added into the film in response to problems in the first film's development. Maps were added late into that film's development because test audiences were confused by the lab's layout. The maps are derived from the Resident Evil games, where players can check a map to work out where they are.
The entire church was a movie set since they couldn't gain permission to drive a motorcycle through the window.
The decision to add a Licker into the first movie was made very late in production. R&D began early in Apocalypse to make up for flaws in the quality in the first. Unlike the first film, the Lickers in Apocalypse are entirely CGI.
As is customary with Anderson's scripts, many plot elements in Apocalypse are shout-outs to films from the 1970s and '80s, or are references to particular filmmakers like James Camerson and John Carpenter.
Much was taken from James Cameron's repertoire. Alice's relationship with Angela was intended to reference the Ripley-Newt relationship from Aliens. Anderson compares the decision to keep Alice away from the film until the Church to Linda Hamilton's absence in the first half of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Alice's tight-lipped and gunslinger characterisation are references to Clint Eastwood characters.
Escape from New York and Omega Man were cited by Anderson as two other inspirations for the film. The idea of telephones ringing and Alice ignoring them was inspired by Charleton Heston's character in Omega Man, who imagines ringing telephones.
The infested Junior School was featured as a psychological tactic to make audiences uncomfortable with the prospect of dead children. When Terri is killed by children, Anderson references Village of the Damned, a film that starts with children killing the adult population of a town. Unlike in that film, however Morales is deliberately not shown being ripped apart so it is up to the audience's imagination.
Towards the end of the film, Alice escapes from the San Francisco facility through the use of her psychic powers. At one point she causes brain damage to a guard. Milla Jovovich twitched her nose while looking at the camera as a shoutout to the 1960s television series Bewitched, which features a witch who casts spells in this manner.
Midway through the film, Alice is running from the Nemesis inside the deserted Raccoon City Police Department. It was decided it should have a run-down look as a reference to John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13.
The "Sniper" character played by Frank Chiesurin, who takes shots at Undead from the roof of a building, was intended as a reference to the original Night of the Living Dead, in which redneck militias take out the Ghouls at the end.
There are also numerous references to the Resident Evil games laid out in the film. A street battle between the Raccoon City Police Department and U.B.C.S. early in the film is similar to the opening cutscene for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. As it was already decided to reference the third game, Carlos Olivera was added in as a counterpart to Jill Valentine. The team struggled to find a reason for why Jill Valentine would wear a tube-top, at one point suggesting she did undercover policing. Eventually it was decided to intentionally not have it be explained. The scene with Alice being pursued by a helicopter through Raccoon City Hall, dropping and then firing her handgun at Umbrella guards was taken from the opening cutscene to Resident Evil CODE:Veronica. Dr. Charles Ashford and his daughter are references to the Ashford family, who are prominent in CODE:Veronica. When Jill blows up the school cafeteria, she uses a Grady's Inn-branded cigarette.
The music to Apocalypse was inspired by the music in some of John Carpenter's films.
Script changes and edits
At the beginning of the film when Umbrella agents start evacuating Umbrella employees, the woman escorted out before Dr. Ashford's introduction has the Regenerate commercial playing on her TV. The ad was intended to appear directly in the film, but while it was heavily downloaded online it was ultimately cut from the film. The reason given by Anderson was that too many people would have already seen it.
The scene where the Umbrella guards force the refugees away from Raven's Gate Bridge was altered in post-production. It originally had the soldiers shoot civilians. This was changed to have them scare the people away by firing into the air, with it being viewed as unnecessarily brutal.
Early in the film, Alice is collecting weapons from a gun shop and collapses in pain, relating to her T-virus infection. Originally, an Undead was to walk past her and ignore her, but it was judged to give away too much as to her condition. Instead, the flashback sequence was created, which would appear at later points in the film.
The character of Lloyd Jefferson Wayne was originally cast to the rapper Snoop Dogg. To match with the rapper's persona, the character was written to be over-the-top. When Snoop Dogg dropped out of the film and comedian Mike Epps moved in, the character was re-written to be more down-to-earth. Due to his comedian background, many of Epps' lines are ad-libbed. Like with Nicholai actor Zack Ward, many were ultimately cut.
Shots of the Nemesis were 'squeezed' to make him look taller. While the actor was very tall, audiences complained he wasn't tall enough in comparison to the game version. In squeezed shots, cars can be seen to be slightly out-of-scale. An example of this edit can be seen when the Nemesis walks away after blowing up the Theater.
In the scene scene where Alice explains Umbrella's plan to blow up the city, it was originally set in a store. It was moved to a streetcar, coincidentally referencing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
Angela Ashford's relationship with the Red Queen computer was supposed to be explained outright in the original film, but was dropped out sometime after Anderson's first draft. The link was to be made in Apocalypse as well, but was ultimately dropped again.
In filming, Apocalypse was to cut from the destruction of Raccoon City straight to the crashed helicopter in the morning. Quick cuts of outtakes were later edited together to create the scene where the helicopter malfunctions. The remains of Raccoon City were also added into the skyline of the forest to make it clear to the audience that they didn't go far. This was for the benefit of people not familiar with the Arklay Mountains.
An alternate version of Alice killing the Umbrella guard was envisioned where she would cause his head to explode. This was to be a shout-out to a famous scene in David Cronenberg's Scanners. Though research was made in how to make an exploding head prop, it was decided the effect would look over-the-top and was dropped.
Two alternate versions of the final scene were envisioned as Anderson was worried test audiences wouldn't like the bleak ending to Apocalypse that was used theaters. The first version was to have Alice burn the facility to the ground with her new powers as the car drives away. A second was to have Cain be revealed to have escaped Raccoon City offscreen and be tracking Alice's movement through his laptop. He would realise too late that she was outside his limousine and shoot him in the head as it drives off. The idea would later be used in Extinction where Dr. Isaacs' team is ambushed by Alice.
- The word "zombie" is never mentioned, following the example of the first movie. It was considered for the Undead to be able to run as in 28 Days Later, but was rejected because the game's Zombies didn't normally run. It was decided they should keep to their "classic" Romero look for now. Bolt suggests adding in Ganado-style smart enemies for the third movie in anticipation of Resident Evil 4's release.
- It should be noted that if Major Cain had spared the life of Angela's father, he would have had the single bullet to kill him self. He shot Mr. Ashford once, and into the crowd of Zombies seven times, with the magazine containing only 8 rounds.
- At the beginning of the film, there is a continuity error. As Jill Valentine is being introduced, she enters the police station not wearing her black shoulder holster. After a couple of brief scenes without it where she kills a number of zombies, the next shot shows her wearing the holster. Also, while speaking to the police chief, she puts a magazine in her gun, followed by a cut, when it cuts back to her, she puts a second magazine into her gun.
- Anderson met Shinji Mikami before the first movie was green lit; Anderson was able to get ideas from him. Because of the first movie's success in Japan and its promotion of game sales, Capcom allowed Anderson to take more liberties. Because Anderson loves RE3, he hopes people will want to buy that game because of Apocalypse.
- Anderson wanted to use a recap due to its use in other movie sequels like Blade II and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Jeremy Bolt notes the Nineteen Eighty-Four theme of the recap, which was intended to portray Umbrella as an all-knowing evil organization in the manner of a 1970s movie villain. This also confirms Umbrella as the antagonist of the series.
- Anderson relates that the theme of "corrupt [evil] corporation propped up by a corrupt government".
- Umbrella logos were placed all over Raccoon City to show just how big the corporation is.
- Anderson insists that movies can't run the same as a game because they don't look so good as a 90-minute movie. Some plot elements should also be changed to avoid boring the fans of the game it is based on - after all, they'd know the ending. After Mortal Kombat, he reminds the viewer that he does in fact play the games.
- Iain Glenn's character "Dr. Isaacs" is intended to be the same character briefly played by Jason Isaacs in the first film.
Commentary 1 notes
Alexander Witt - director; Jeremy Bolt - Producer; Robert Kulzer - Producer
- Paul spent a year playing one of the first two RE games, saying "we should make a movie of this" to Bolt. Constantin was considering making a movie, so Anderson sent in a script.
- Shinji Mikami voiced objections to using Jill Valentine in the film, foreseeing fan descent should Sienna Guillory's acting not live up to fan expectations.
- The Church set included pews from a real Church which was closing down.
- The cemetery scene was filmed in a real cemetery, with a few prop graves added.
- The scene where Carlos explores Raccoon City Hospital was filmed in a real hospital.
- Jill Valentine's role was brought down to a short list of 6-7 actresses. They were brought to Toronto for tests, with Sienna ultimately being chosen as the right actress.
- Alexander Witt held Milla's fake finger in the RPD waste disposal scene. It was the first or second day of filming.
- Because of an ongoing SARS outbreak in Toronto at the time, crew members had to read warning letters. While filming in a hospital they were asked if they displayed symptoms.
- One of the dogs had been in the first film.
- The trainers had problems getting the dogs to jump through sugar glass for this film.
- An alternative final battle site to Raccoon City Hall was a train station.
- It wasn't known if Toronto City Hall's roof could support the weight of a helicopter, prompting the hiring of engineers to assess the building.
- A 40-ft tall miniature of Toronto City Hall was destroyed to simulate the destruction of Raccoon City.
- The Regenerate ad was filmed by commercial crew members, an idea by Screen Gems.
- The scene where Alice causes the security guard's nose and eyes to bleed as originally cut out of the film.
- The idea of the Umbrella logo appearing in Alice's eyes was only envisioned in post-production.