The Cast and Crew of Resident Evil: Death Island on Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield and Chris Redfield

John Nguyen

The world of Resident Evil continues on in the latest CG-animated film, Resident Evil: Death Island, where fan-favorite characters Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield and Rebecca Chambers all team up to discover a new threat inside Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. Nerd Reactor had the chance to chat with the filmmakers and actors Nicole Tompkins (Jill Valentine), Matthew Mercer (Leon S. Kennedy), and Stephanie Panisello (Claire Redfield) about the story, villain, their characters and more.

You can check out the full interview with Matthew Mercer, Nicole Tompkins and Stephanie Panisello in the video below.

“I’ve been wanting it for so long, honestly,” Panisello tells Nerd Reactor about Claire, Jill, Leon, Chris and Rebecca working together in the film. “It’s one of those things where you know… and not to be like a girl about it… but it was kind of neat to have other badass women alongside as well. That was kind of neat to see, and I feel like we had never really seen everyone together because we have been able to put the spotlight on whoever story it is. But I think it’s amazing that the spotlight is really on everybody, although we’re dealing with a lot of Jill’s poor, tragic, trauma.”

Resident Evil: Death Island features the return of zombies and how the protagonists will have to push through against all odds in order to save the day. That means they’ll fail at saving people from turning into zombies, but they’ll still persevere.

“I think that’s a recurring theme through a lot of the Resident Evil games is the still enduring and pushing in the face of possible and in some cases absolute failure,” Mercer said. “And it’s not ever at the expense of the hero feeling like they did wrong, but they’re doing the best they can and it’s a situation where they can’t win and help everybody. And that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, and I think there’s a lot of the story there. Some circumstances you shouldn’t keep yourself from trying to save people and help people.”

The film pays homage to Jill Valentine in Resident Evil 3, and audiences will get to see her continue her journey as she comes together as a team.

“I was just as excited as everyone else,” Tompkins said about Jill’s character. “I’ve also been like ‘Where is she? How is she doing? Like, what’s happening?’ And I think the way that this film gets to explore what’s happening for her and where she’s been. And really one of my favorite parts is her reintegration into what it means to be part of a team. I think that’s really important for her and for her healing and everything in between. So it’s a joy to get to continue to see her story evolve.”

Masachika Kawata has worked at Capcom for decades and is one of the senior producers of the Resident Evil franchise. In Resident Evil: Death Island, he’s attached as an associate producer.

“Alcatraz Prison has a Biohazard/Resident Evil kind of setup too,” Kawata explained. “And then it is kind of a secluded isolated island, so it also makes it perfect for this kind of setting. And then being close to San Francisco, you kind of have familiarity with the real world.”

The protagonists have different relationships with each other, and it was fun for screenwriter Makoto Fukami to figure out how each character would interact with each other.

“This is the first time that Jill and Leon met,” Fukami said. “It was kind of fun in a sense where they kind of know each other but it’s sort of the first time they met. It’s closeness but distance too in a sense. There was a nuance that was interesting to play. Meanwhile, Leon and Chris in the past movies are all the time together, so kind of a buddy cop type of movie. Lastly, Claire and Rebecca together working, so that was another dynamic that was probably good for the fans and fun to work with.”

Eiichirō Hasumi is the director of the film, and his credits include Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021), which was a Netflix miniseries. In Resident Evil: Death Island, he wanted a villain that had his own sense of justice.

“So the five [main] characters are strong, so I wanted [a villain] that can fight,” Hasumi said. “Not in the physical sense, but more in the philosophical sense that they can tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. And he had already a great sense of justice from the beginning, but with the Raccoon City incident, his mind kind of changed, like twisted afterward. But then we wanted a character that can tell the audience, tell the characters ‘What’s right, what’s wrong?’ in a real sense.”

About Resident Evil: Death Island

Resident Evil: Death Island was released on Blu-ray, 4K Steelbook, Digital and DVD on July 25, 2023.

Synopsis: In San Francisco, Jill Valentine is dealing with a zombie outbreak and a new T-Virus, Leon Kennedy is on the trail of a kidnapped DARPA scientist, and Claire Redfield is investigating a monstrous fish that is killing whales in the bay. Joined by Chris Redfield and Rebecca Chambers, they discover the trail of clues from their separate cases all converge on the same location, Alcatraz Island, where a new evil has taken residence and awaits their arrival.

Features include:

● Genesis of Death Island
● Jill Valentine: The Return
● Motion Capture Set Tour
● Designing Death Island
● Voicing Death Island
● The Birth of Death Island
● Design Gallery

The film is directed by Eiichiro Hasumi with a screenplay by Makoto Fukami. It’s produced by Hiroyasu Shinohara with Masachika Kawata (Capcom), Takaki Okamoto (Capcom), Taki Enomoto (Capcom), Takahiro Suzuki, and Atsushi Furuya serving as associate producers.

The voice cast includes Matthew Mercer as Leon S. Kennedy, Stephanie Panisello as Claire Redfield, Kevin Dorman as Chris Redfield, Nicole Tompkins as Jill Valentine, and Erin Cahill as Rebecca Chambers.