‘Monster Hunter’ director Paul W.S. Anderson on why making films from video games is tough


Filmmaker Paul WS Anderson has created blockbuster hits out of popular video games such as “Mortal Kombat”, “Resident Evil” and “Monster Hunter”. He says the idea has its own challenge because he has to keep in mind two very different sets of audiences — one that knows the world of the video game and the second that is the mainstream audience of the film that may or may not be familiar with the game at all.

As a filmmaker, he has to constantly walk a thin line in order to keep both sets of audience happy, he admits, while speaking to IANS.

“The biggest challenge is always to deliver to two separate audiences. One is the hardcore fan base that knows everything about the world (of the game) because they have played all the games, and the other audience comprises the more mainstream viewers who don’t know anything about the world of Monster Hunter or Resident Evil or Mortal Kombat and maybe don’t play video games at all,” Anderson says.

Superstar Milla Jovovich’s husband knows that, since films in the genre involve enormous budgets, he needs to draw both sets of audience to the theatres.

“You don’t want to exclude anyone and you have to walk a very fine line in order to please both audiences. I don’t want to exclude someone from watching a movie like ‘Monster Hunter’ just because they don’t play the game. It is really a fun world, a fun movie, and I think whether you discover a world through the game or whether you discover it through the film — I want to make that equal access for all audiences,” he says, commenting about his primary motive while directing a film in the genre.

His latest film “Monster Hunter”, starring Jovovich, had a staggered release worldwide owing to the ongoing pandemic, after opening in the US in December 2020. Would he fancy the film as an opening chapter for something bigger — like a franchise — as the “Resident Evil” films were?

“I have always approached franchise filmmaking one movie at a time. I feel a lot of would-be franchises are kind of let down because the filmmakers think too much about what the span of the franchise is going to be and they spend so much time for the second, third and fourth movie that they forget to make a fun movie for the first movie,” Anderson replies.

“I have been all in to just deliver a great ‘Monster Hunter’ movie that people are really going to enjoy and embrace. If that really becomes the case that people enjoy it, then of course I would consider making another one because it is a rich world,” he adds.

He describes his experience of making “Monster Hunter”, which also features Tony Jaa, Tip “T. I.” Harris, Meagan Good and Ron Perlman along with Jovovich, as “fun”.

“I had a lot of fun making this movie. Who doesn’t want to work with Milla and Tony Jaa? They are big larger-than-life characters as actors and they are immense fun to work with. Pitting them against these giant creatures as a filmmaker — who could ask more than that?!” he signs off, recalling his experience of making the film, which premieres on &flix.

(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at durga.c@ians.in)