Actor Eoin Macken, who plays a doctor on the NBC series The Night Shift, actually plays a guy named “Doc” in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Macken and the talented ensemble behind The Night Shift has steadily cultivated a loyal fan base, and now the actor is continuing to expand his creative horizons in the film arena.
As the Resident Evil movies reach their climax with The Final Chapter, the action returns to Raccoon City for a final battle with Wesker and the forces of the Umbrella Corporation. Eoin Macken plays Doc, a new addition to the franchise, who is leading a band of survivors in Raccoon City alongside Claire Redfield.
Screen Rant spoke with Macken at the press day for The Final Chapter about his time as a kid playing the original Resident Evil video game, how Doc fits into the franchise, and his hardest scene to shoot.
So, this is the final chapter of Resident Evil. How familiar were you with the video games, or the film franchise in general before coming into this?
Eoin Macken: “To be honest, I’ve watched all the films, and I used to play the games as a kid. Those games used to scare the s**t out of me. Dude, I used to go across to my buddy’s house, he lived—in American terms—I guess like a couple of blocks away. And I’d go over there and we’d start playing I guess the very first game, and you’d be going through that bloody house, and you just don’t wanna go through the next doors cause you just know what’s gonna happen, and it was horrific. And then the music, it was the music from the first one that just – It would build. Dude. And then I’d have to walk home. And so I used to hate that, I used to hate it. So yeah, Resident Evil was – it’s always had something in my belly.”
Vincent Cassel & Daniel Day Lewis. Their early performances in films like La Haine and In The Name Of The Father are sublime and are the reason for being an actor in my opinion. The visceral power and emotion they project on screen always fascinates me.
What was it like working with Milla Jovovich and Ruby Rose?
Wicked fun. Ruby is great banter and always had a funny anecdote on set. Milla is something very special however. She has such a zest for film making, and throws herself into stunts at all hours without a qualm. She was made to work very hard on this film, and she’s an example of how to be a movie star – she enjoys everything, makes everybody feel special and welcome, and works her butt off to make everything perfect. I both massively adore and respect her.
Was it daunting to jump into a film franchise like Resident Evil that is already established and has a large following of fans?
A little bit, because I was a fan of both the previous films and the computer games, and had loved Paul’s previous films such as Event Horizon. It’s Milla and Paul’s franchise, they built it, and they were so giving that I felt right at home very quickly. I wanted to do something a little different to what I had before in this film, and Paul gave me the freedom and faith, on such a huge production, to really have a go with my ideas and I love him for that.
What’s coming up for you in 2017?
We start back on Season 4 of The Nightshift in early spring, which is incredible for us, I have a second novel Hunter and The Grape, being published in late Autumn, and I am hoping our finance comes together to shoot a book that I adapted called Here Are The Young Men to film in September, it’s a very exciting project.
How did you move from model to actor to writer/director/producer? Do you prefer being in front or behind the lens?
I have no idea. I just did things, and over time other things seemed to happen, or projects intertwined. I have always just tried to make films, and my opinion has always been that to understand film and cinema I have to learn as much as possible about as many elements as possible. I created a lot of my own work early on – films that allowed me to explore my acting abilities. I want to be involved in telling stories and I love the art form and the possibilities of film. When I was younger I would write constantly and draw stories, so it’s an evolution of being a child I guess.
When do you find time to write screenplays and what inspires you? Does a degree in psychology aid in the development of your characters?
I write constantly. On set, on the train, sometimes out walking or having drinks with buddies in a bar I get ideas, or a conversation or comment sparks something and so I write it down. I’ve been known to leave a conversation for a few minutes to write down something that occurred in my head triggered by something somebody said or that I saw. I am always thinking about characters and situations and how people would react. I think I always had that interest, which is what drew me to psychology initially.
Any new independent projects in the pipeline?
I have a new book coming out later this year, Hunter and the Grape, which I think is quite beautiful, and I adapted a book that is being produced by Richard Bolger, called Here Are The Young Men, which is a very powerful, gritty Irish coming-of-age film in the veins of Trainspotting or This Is England. We are in development with the Irish Film Board on it and I’m hopeful that we get to make that later this year.
A childhood connection The Resident Evil films are very loosely based on the video game series of the same name – which Macken admits “scared the bejesus” out of him when he was younger. “My friend had a basement garage and we’d play it together. It was always dark. He loved horror and being scared, but I didn’t enjoy that. “It was first time I ever played a computer game that actually scared me. Up until that point I’d been playing things like Mario Kart.” Movies based on games have a poor cinematic reputation. But Macken believes the Resident Evil series is, in its own way, a worthy representation of the games on the big screen. “A video game adaptation doesn’t have to follow it exactly. You can create your own expression within the game. “But Paul [W.S. Anderson, director] understands the game because he knows them. “I think that’s what comes across within every Resident Evil movie, and especially this one. That’s the most important thing – to care about your source material.”
He regularly creates work for himself too. Macken wrote, produced and directed the independent feature Leopard, and recently wrote and directed short film The Green Rabbit and The Ice Cream Girl. But there’s another passion he’s aiming to tap into. “I actually wanted to be a marine biologist and make documentaries,” he says. “I’m getting there.” “I want to get involved in conservation stuff. I want to try and do a David Attenborough.”
Fortunately, there’s still time to do so. The global apocalypse isn’t here just yet.
Resident Evil: The Last Chapter sees humanity on its last legs. Which seems rather close to the bone. How are you feeling after the shitstorm that was 2016?
Drained, confused and exhausted. I don’t really know how to express my feelings in an interview like this, but there is more of a need now than ever for humanity to take a look at itself and bond together to survive, a little like Resident Evil – there’s a deep moral message in this film, surrounded by the zombies and the chaos and the excitement, that is incredibly relevant right now.
What are you most proud of?
Being able to have gone to Mozambique and made a documentary for Sightsavers. Having the skillset as a filmmaker to make that documentary, and to have a little bit of a cachet as an actor to be asked, is humbling, and made me proud that I was able to do something worthwhile.
Fantastically surreal night at the Los Angeles premiere of #residentevilmovie Got to hang out with these lovely people again. @millajovovich @therealalil @rubyrose @willevy @rolaofficial @eoincmacken but I did miss little brother @actor_jg and our friend @milton.schorr Thank you #paulwsanderson Love you brother & @sonypictures