Lance Reddick reveals his approach to playing Wesker in Netflix's Resident Evil

Lance Reddick
(Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty)

Lance Reddick, acclaimed TV and film actor (and voice of Destiny's Commander Zavala), wasn't a Resident Evil fan before starring in the Netflix show that releases this week.

"I had no idea that it was actually based on a videogame," Reddick told PC Gamer in an interview this week. "I only knew the films so I walked into that kind of blind."

Reddick said that not knowing about the videogame series and his character, the iconic villain Albert Wesker, helped his acting process.

"When I was doing it, I didn't think of having to play an already established iconic character, I just kept trying to bring what was on the page to life," he said. "And then as the series gets further along, you see how my Wesker is connected to the Wesker from the games."

Resident Evil pulls in the series' entire history for its backstory. Half of it takes place in 2036, which is 15 years after Resident Evil 8, and the other half takes place in 2022. Wesker is alive despite getting blown apart in Resident Evil 5, and still working for evil pharmaceutical company Umbrella, but now he's a father with two daughters.

In the trailers, Wesker is depicted much more like a workaholic dad that's trying to develop a definitely-not-catastrophic antidepressant called Joy, while also keeping his angsty daughters from getting in trouble. Much like the games, the focus is on family and how those ties get pulled apart as the world is overrun with zombies. But if you've been following Wesker's moves from the games, you know that it all probably has to do with his master plan, something that the show will likely get into before it's over.

Reddick's method contrasts with Henry Cavill's approach to playing Geralt in The Witcher show on Netflix. The actor is a PC gamer and a fan of the books and the games, and it comes through in his sardonic performance of the character. Cavill told Total Film last year that he "really wanted to make sure that we represented the book’s Geralt more accurately, and that we saw him speak more" in the show's second season.

Netflix's Resident Evil was developed and written by Supernatural producer and writer Andrew Dabb and stars Ella Balinska, who plays Wesker's daughter in a world crawling with zombies and monsters of her father's making.. This is Balinska's first role in a videogame adaptation that I'm aware of, and she's also set to star in her first videogame soon: as the main character in Square Enix action RPG Forspoken. which is due out early next year.

All 8 episodes of Resident Evil release on Netflix on July 14.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.