Legendary zombie director George A. Romero was originally set to helm the first Resident Evil movie, but was ultimately fired before production began. Romero famously created the modern zombie sub-genre with his 1968 indie classic Night of the Living Dead, which established most of the zombie rules subsequent entries have followed, including The Walking Dead. Night of the Living Dead presented zombies as recently risen corpses with an insatiable hunger for human flesh, and got away from the voodoo-based zombies seen in prior Hollywood films.

Romero would go on to direct sequels Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, which continued unfolding his post-apocalyptic zombie universe. Romero’s directorial career also includes some great non-zombie films, but it’s the undead he’ll always be most closely associated with. Naturally, Resident Evil owes Romero quite a debt, relying as it does on zombies for its primary in-game enemies. In 1997, Romero was brought in to direct a live-action commercial for Resident Evil 2, which drew so much praise that he was then hired to write and direct a Resident Evil movie.

Of course, as history shows, the seemingly can’t miss prospect of George Romero directing a Resident Evil movie never came to pass, leading to the 2002 Paul W.S. Anderson movie audiences got. Here’s why Romero got fired from the project.

Resident Evil: George Romero’s Script Was Much Closer to the Video Games

While the Resident Evil film series starring Milla Jovovich and creatively guided by Paul W.S. Anderson often gets bashed for just how unlike the source material it is, Romero in many ways went the opposite route. Not a gamer, Romero had an assistant play through the original Resident Evil game multiple times, recording her playthroughs. He used this to write a script that incorporated all the major characters and story bits from the first Resident Evil, and a few from Resident Evil 2 and 3. Some odd changes were made, such as Chris Redfield becoming a farmer and half-Native American, and Racoon City being relocated to Pennsylvania, but overall, Romero’s script - which is available online - would’ve likely pleased fans of the games much more than Alice’s adventures did.

Resident Evil: George Romero Was Fired by Production Company Constantin Film

Despite George Romero’s script sticking closer to the Resident Evil games, Constantin Film - producers of all six Resident Evil movies - boss Bernd Eichinger wasn’t a fan of Romero’s choices, especially the level of violence present, which it was worried would garner an X-rating from the MPAA. They went back and forth through several drafts, with Romero trying his best to please Constantin execs, but the decision was finally made to fire him from the film. To add insult to injury, Capcom - makers of the Resident Evil games - producer Yoshiki Okamoto was asked about Romero’s exit later, and bluntly stated that Romero was fired because his script wasn’t good. One wonders just how good a Romero-helmed Resident Evil movie would’ve been, but the late, great director bounced back a few years later, directing Land of the Dead, a sequel to Day.

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