Paul William Scott Anderson (also known as Paul W. S. Anderson or Paul Anderson) (born March 4, 1965 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England) is a film director who regularly works on sci-fi movies and video game adaptations. He wrote and directed Death Race.
Anderson graduated from the University of Warwick as the youngest student to achieve a BA in Film & Literature. He made his debut as the writer-director of Shopping, which starred Sean Pertwee, Jude Law and Sadie Frost as thieves who smashed cars into storefronts. When released in the United Kingdom it was banned in some cinemas, and only gained a release in the United States as an edited, direct to video release.
After this, he directed the successful 1995 video game adaptation Mortal Kombat. While prior video game movies, like Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros., had been all-out disasters, Mortal Kombat was well received by fans, and some critics. He declined to direct the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation which was not well received by critics or fans, but he directed Soldier instead. Anderson was asked to direct a third movie, Mortal Kombat: Devastation, but declined again.
The success of Mortal Kombat gave Anderson free rein to choose his next project, Soldier, written by Blade Runner screenwriter David Webb Peoples. Intended as a sidequel to Blade Runner, the movie was set in the same universe (but not the same planet), and contained numerous references to Blade Runner. Kurt Russell was attached to star, but was unavailable at the time, which delayed the production. In the meantime, Anderson made Event Horizon, which took the premise of the classic sci-fi novel and film Solaris, but filled it with Hellraiser-style horror scenes. The film was poorly received at the box office, and Anderson blamed the failure on studio-enforced cuts. While not a box-office success, the film gained a small cult following.
Soldier was eventually completed and released in 1998, and was a disaster both commercially and critically.
After the poor performance of both Event Horizon and Soldier, Anderson was forced to think smaller. His planned remake of the cult film Death Race 2000 was put on hold, and he set about writing and directed a TV movie, The Sight, in 2000. It was a minor success, and Anderson returned to cinema screens in 2002 when he wrote and directed an adaptation of the survival horror series Resident Evil. It was at this point that, to avoid confusion to the American director Paul Thomas Anderson], he began to credit himself as "Paul W. S. Anderson."
Working with a moderate budget in comparison to his other movies, Resident Evil was a commercial success in cinemas and on DVD , prompting Anderson to write (but not direct) the sequels, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction.
Anderson's next project was the much-anticipated Alien vs. Predator, a concept popularized by a series of Dark Horse Comics and later hinted at in Predator 2. A movie version had been stuck in development for years despite the franchise crossing into every other form of media, from books to comics to video games. The fact Alien vs. Predator was being made at all was enough to get many fans of the originals onboard as soon as the project was greenlighted. Some, however, were unhappy with the choice of Anderson as the writer and director, and had the opposite reaction, writing it off as a failure before it had even entered production.
In April 2007, it was announced that he and actress Milla Jovovich were expecting a baby girl in November 2007. The two met when Anderson directed her in the first Resident Evil. They were engaged in March 2003, but no wedding date has been set. Jovovich gave birth to their first child, a daughter, Ever Gabo Anderson, on November 3, 2007 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, one day before her due date of November 4th.
- Anderson has cast actor Jason Isaacs several times, appearing in Shopping, Event Horizon, Soldier, and Resident Evil. In Resident Evil, he has both a voice over at the beginning and appears as a masked doctor at the end of the movie but was not credited for his performance. The character of Dr. Isaacs (played by Iain Glen) from the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse is named after him when Isaacs was unavailable to reprise his doctor role from the first film.
- Colin Salmon appeared in both Resident Evil and AVP: Alien Vs. Predator. Salmon had previously been featured in the James Bond movies Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is not Enough (and later in Die Another Day). On the commentary for Resident Evil (made during Pierce Brosnan's tenure as Bond) Anderson mentioned that "he [Salmon] should play Bond". After Brosnan left the role Salmon was one of the actors considered for the part (the only black actor considered for the role).
- David Webb Peoples, the screenwriter of Soldier, was one of two screenwriters for Blade Runner. The movies are set in the same universe (but on different planets).
- Lance Henriksen who portrayed the android, Bishop, in Aliens and Alien 3 also portrayed the character of Weyland (founder of Weyland-Yutani) in AVP: Alien vs. Predator. It is also revealed that Weyland's middle name is "Bishop". Henriksen was cast because Anderson wanted consistency in the casting of the Alien and Predator movies (Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to reprise his role as Dutch from Predator but his success in the governor's race prevented him from taking part in the production).
- Up until Resident Evil, Anderson had always attempted to give his producer/colleague Jeremy Bolt a cameo in his movies, but could not due to Bolt's stiffness on camera. As revealed by the commentary for Resident Evil, Bolt appears three times during the film, twice as a zombie and once as a masked Umbrella scientist. Bolt's sister appears as the drowned scientist and his girlfriend played the zombie who bites Kaplan's leg.
- Anderson was a producer on DOA: Dead or Alive, which is based on a fighting game. It features a bit role by Robin Shou who previously played the lead role, Liu Kang, in Anderson's Mortal Kombat (also based on a fighting game), and plays 14K in Death Race.
|Grove Music||Production assistant||1981|
|Shopping||Director, Writer||1994||Direct to Film, Directional Debut|
|Mortal Kombat||Director||1995||Video game adaptation|
|Soldier||Director||1998||Last Cinema Movie|
|The Sight||Director, Writer||2000||TV Movie|
|Resident Evil||Direction, Producer, Writer||2002||Video game adaptation|
|Alien vs. Predator||Direction, Writer||2004|
|Resident Evil: Apocalypse||Producer, Writer||2004||Video game adaptation|
|DOA: Dead or Alive||Producer||2006||Video game adaptation|
|Resident Evil: Extinction||Producer, Writer||2007||Video game adaptation|
- Man with the Football (2008)
- Death Race (2008)
- The Long Good Friday (2008)
- Necropolis (2009)
- Resident Evil:Afterlife (2010)
Screenwriter Peter Briggs, who had penned the very first Alien vs. Predator screenplay, disputed some of Anderson's other comments in an online interview, saying Anderson's claim that Briggs' original screenplay was "locked down" was incorrect, and that many elements of Anderson's screenplay were suspiciously similar.
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