To be called down to the principal’s office is, objectively, a nightmare even when you didn’t do anything wrong. As Billie Wesker (Siena Agudong) finds out in Resident Evil, it’s not any less nerve-wracking when you’re falsely accused — it might even be worse when your dad goes out of his way to terrify your bully, her dad, and the principal into submission.
The scene is a standout from the pilot of Netflix’s Resident Evil series, with Lance Reddick’s performance as Albert Wesker, dad and Umbrella Corporation super-scientist, striking the perfect balance of menacing and mannered. Having been called in after his daughter Billie is accused of attacking her bully in a raccoon costume, Albert quickly gets the room under his command. His parental instincts kick in, without his corporate big bad mode turning all the way off, and he cuts through the bullshit like a hot knife through butter.
That intimidation factor was something that Reddick relished — and, eventually, got a little anxious about himself.
“It’s interesting because when you read a scene like that, it reads so well, that you think, Man, this is gonna be great,” Reddick says. “Because it’s so clear when it’s written, you think it’s gonna be easy. And then when you start working on it you realize: There’s so many layers, and so much nuance in order to make it work. Then it gets hard. Then you get scared.”
Still, we’d be hard-pressed to say Reddick — who’s the go-to voice of authority in Fringe and as Charon in the John Wick franchise, not to mention a handful of other video game adaptations — didn’t nail it (because of course he did). Agudong found herself being intimidated just being in the room with him.
“I got goosebumps reading that scene,” Agudong says. “I wanted to cry watching him, because I was like, Yeah, Dad, you go! But it was so scary.”
In the end, all it takes is some light but clear threats from her dad to get her out of trouble. But the scene is a pivotal shift for a character that Resident Evil fans no doubt thought they’d never see getting called down to the principal’s office. And in a way, the show hinges on Reddick landing the multitudes of Wesker’s character in that moment.
“I just remember [Agudong] coming to me and being like, Lance is really scary,” Tamara Smart, who plays older Jade in the show, laughs. “I think also, it’s like the first time Billie sees her dad like that — they know that he works. But they don’t know how important he is until then.”
They — and the audience — certainly know after he’s done making mincemeat of his fellow PTA members. But no one is happier it came out than Reddick: “I was so excited to play that scene, and I was so glad when we were done shooting it. Because it was nerve-wracking.”
Additional reporting by Joshua Rivera.