Avan Jogia grew up to become a huge fan of the Resident Evil games, and the many hours he spent playing as Leon helped prepare him for the role
For Avan Jogia, playing Resident Evil fan favourite Leon S. Kennedy now has a double meaning. “A huge fan of the games,” Jogia went from controlling the rookie cop to defeating zombies during his childhood to putting his own spin on the Sony character.
“There’s no separation between me and the people who are fans of this because I’m also a fan and me. Before I was Leon, I played for hundreds of hours as Leon. Of course, there are reservations. Ultimately it’s about setting it aside and doing my job of making a movie, and I’ve been doing that for a while… It’s so iconic to the game the way he walks around the world. I really wanted to nail down that behaviour and concentrate on that behaviour. In general, there’s so much to pull from the games in terms of lore.” said Jogia
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City turns back the clock to 1998, when pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation’s mishandling of the T-virus turns into an outbreak that infects the citizens of the titular city. Now, facing insatiable zombies, Raccoon City’s finest must get to the bottom of Umbrella’s dark secrets to stop the outbreak.
Jogia’s relationship with the games began long before he was cast to play Leon in the action-horror film. Heading into the project, Jogia had previously played several titles, including Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4 and the 2019 remake of the former, which gave him an idea of how to approach his on-screen interpretation of the video game character. He said he channelled his hours of gameplay into informing various details, including what Leon wears in the Raccoon Police Department and how he holds his weapons to fight the undead.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City sticks to its source material, with near-identical scenes from the first two games and touting Easter eggs that players are sure to recognise: green healing herbs, typewriter spools and a decadent cheeseburger from a trucker.
Jogia said he felt his own pressure to do the right thing and respect the franchise and its devotees. The actor also spoke about the full-circle moment of taking on a figure from his childhood and how the need to impress his past self continues to motivate him.
“Your childhood is about dreaming, coming up with concepts for yourself, and your adulthood is about making those things come true. Between directing a movie, writing a book and making music, releasing albums and acting and all these things, Resident Evil is one of them, and I think I’m getting there. There’s more to do, always, but I certainly am doing something.”
Jogia stars alongside Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Hannah John-Kamen and Neal McDonough. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is now playing in theatres.