Lily Gao Interview: Lily Talks About Bringing Ada Wong To The Big Screen In Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City
The Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City trailer premiered last week and it left both new and longtime Resident Evil fans with plenty to be excited about. The film aims to capture the most horrifying elements of the video game franchise while staying true to the games all the same. From the trailer, we see the infamous infected dogs, the lickers, and the essence that has made Resident Evil one of the most beloved survival horror franchises.
Among the cast that includes Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, and Avan Jogia is the wonderfully talented Lily Gao. who has appeared in many series and films such as The Expanse, Chapelwaite and Kin is now looking to bring one of the most complex and beloved characters in the Resident Evil franchise to life in the upcoming film adaptation. In talking with Lily, we got a sense of what she hopes to bring to the latest live-action portrayal of Ada Wong.
Lily has appeared in a series of short films and is now taking aim from the director’s chair as well. She recently had a supporting role in the Epix series Chapelwaite, starring alongside Adrien Brody, Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Ens, and Sirena Gulamgaus. Lily shared a bit about her experience working on the series adapted from Stephen King‘s short story ‘Jerusalem’s Lot‘.
Geek Network: Your role was limited, but your character’s role in Chapelwaite was pivotal throughout the entire family all the way through to the end. What can you tell us about being on the set and just being involved with the series?
Lily: “I really, really liked it and I’m really happy with the way that they did it. I thought casting was amazing and that’s such an important part of telling a story where you just want the audience to connect with what you’re saying and a lot of it just has to do with the casting. There’s not a lot you have to really change or manipulate once you have the right people. But working on it was really, really magical but also nerve-wracking. It was my first time on set after a very long lockdown. It was one of the first projects where they were kind of trying out this different zone by color quarantine and interaction system that they had. And I was really, really nervous, I was like I haven’t been on set in a year and a half and I’m really scared because I feel like I’m not gonna be able to perform, I won’t remember my lines, I won’t be able to do anything. And on top of that, I am opposite like arguably one of the greatest actors of our time and Adrian Brody is just so, so talented. So I just got all sorts of anxiety.”
Lily went on to share, “Adrian was incredibly kind, incredibly generous emotionally. And we had a conversation before while I was in my two weeks quarantine out east and just got to know each other before we were on set and while on set he was incredibly nurturing and kind and was very reassuring of like this is all of our first gigs back after a lockdown so everybody was really nervous. Everybody had their first days but it’s gonna be great and he was really, really encouraging and was somehow just felt like a real human, we were all very safe after quarantine and tested and everything. So, he came up and said, Oh, Lily, there’s my lovely wife, and gave me a huge hug, and right after that, I thought, Oh, well, you’re just a human being that I’m connecting with now. Even though now when I think about it, it’s Adrian Brody.”
Lily also shared how she prepares when it comes to portraying a character as well-known as Ada Wong:
“I do a crazy amount of research for every character, and I build a life for everyone. So, for her, there was a lot of information, the fan websites are amazing, you are amazing. It really is the fans that give life to the characters that they have…”
“I also looked up a lot of videos of her in the games and how she was portrayed,”
“how she comes in and out of scenes always so seamlessly in such a mysterious way and she’s so confident and really looking at her physically, especially in the newer games because of technology, you really get a sense of what they’re trying to get out with her body language. And also, the Chinese actor did a really good job of portraying Ada. I really enjoyed watching the movie, I think action movies are incredibly entertaining. But I also look for any kind of advantage or flaws that I perceive as something that could be done differently. And that goes for everything from character behavior to wardrobe to hair and makeup, I think is really, really important. And if it is an origin story, how far back does it go? When is that? This origin story is set in 1998 so what influence that has on a character. And also wardrobe-wise, as much as she’s an iconic female character, she was also made and has sustained this image that I personally think is not very practical when it comes to an action sequence.”
You can catch Lily Gao as Ada Wong in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City in theaters on November 24th, 2021.
Listen to the full interview below for more on Lily’s work and her upcoming portrayal of Ada Wong!