The Virus Returns

28 Weeks Later premieres in London...

The Virus Returns

by empire |
Published on

Covent Garden, London. 6:45pm.

The Infected are everywhere. Photographers have been torn to shreds, PR staff lie bleeding on the floor and the only thing separating Empire from the hordes of demented cannibals trying to claw their way through the door of the Odeon cinema, is an offensively large Wild Hogs standee. Can things get any worse? For anyone who’s seen 28 Days Later and is looking forward to the upcoming release of its sequel, the answer is quite simply – yes. “Just make sure you go and see the film early in the morning”, says Harold Perrineau, the first 28 Weeks Later cast member to hit the red carpet at tonight’s world premiere – “if you go and see it at night, you’ll have bad, weird dreams and start biting people”. “It was terrifying”, adds Jeremy Renner, who plays military man Sgt. Doyle: “just having those ‘people’ run at you is just…scary”.

Set seven months after the catastrophic events of 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks centres on a new set of characters who’ve been exiled by the most deadly of viruses. “I was slightly reluctant about things at first”, reveals star of the chaos Robert Carlyle, “but because of my relationship with Danny [Boyle] and Andrew [Macdonald] I thought there’s no way they’d be doing a sequel for the sake of it, so in the end I was pleasantly pleased.”

The surprise success of 2002’s first instalment primed the original 28 team for the possibility of a future sequel, but in the end Danny Boyle’s epic sci-fi Sunshine kept the director from returning to the lonely streets of London: ”I was so busy with Sunshine I didn’t really have a choice”, says Boyle, “but I was very insistent that I got a good director to do it. We wanted someone with an individual vision and we got that with Juan Carlos.” But Empire’s most recent webchat-ee didn’t just sit back and watch the blood spill: “Yeah! I shot some second unit for them. I was so bored waiting for the CG on Sunshine, it was great to get out there and film some of the infected running around again”. And the reasons for the return to the viral madness? “At the moment people have a real appetite for stories that progress. This film does exactly that. We haven’t got the same characters, but we’ve got the same city…each chapter moves it on.”

As the cinema staff mop up the guts and goo left by the 28 Weeks Later parade the last word is left to director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo: “I had very good advice throughout the whole process. Danny wanted someone with fresh eyes, who could approach London almost as a journalist. So I shot the movie as a document of my visions of the city with a real feel of intensity…and horror”.

28 Weeks Later spreads onto screens on 11th May and is reviewed in the current issue of Empire – on sale now!

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