Zombies camped out at UTSC this weekend, when the cast and crew of the Resident Evil blockbuster franchise occupied the Meeting Place, an open space in the Science Building. The movies are centered on ridding the world of a zombie takeover, with Milla Jovovich starring as the ass-kicking Alice. The campus also hosted co-stars Wentworth Miller and Boris Kodjoe.
The Meeting Place will serve as a mess hall for the fourth installment, Resident Evil: Aftermath. UTSC won out when location manager Jonathan Matthews pointed out that the architecture could be manipulated with ease. “We needed to find a prison interior to suit the needs of the script,” said lMatthews. “UTSC has brutalist architecture. I looked at it with the designer and we saw a lot of possibilities to retrofit it […] to make it just like what we need for the scene.”
Set installation began Wednesday. No classes were rescheduled or moved for the construction.
An exclusive tour of the set revealed the impressive transformation the meeting place received. Usually a large, empty area with a few lounge chairs and a tiny Tim Horton’s on the periphery, the space was totally transformed. Blacked-out windows and doors meant no natural light. The ceiling lighting was covered with a sheeting to create a flickering flame-like effect to complement the torches used. False walls marked several jail cells all around. In the centre was a mess-hall seating area.
“The height [offered us] the ability to light the set from above without getting in the way,” said Matthews. “[It provided] a large-scale space with clean lines and layers for walkways in a jail […] with perfect dimensions for cells.”
While many students were excited to hear about the celebrities, Matthews said that students “have been curious but also cooperative.”
This isn’t the first time UTSC has been used for filming. It was also used for a scene in Cheaters, released in 2000. Resident Evil filming took place on Saturday after days of setting up the scene. Additional shooting for Resident Evil will take place downtown next week (Matthews declined to disclose the location, but trailers have been spotted on George Street, near Jarvis and College). Resident Evil: Aftermath is scheduled for release in 2010.
Matthews also did not disclose the Meeting Place rental fee. He has been a location manager for 17 years and has previously worked with Jack Martin, the UTSC director of retail and conference services. “There is a process to go through and we respect that,” said Matthews.