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¬ Uwe Boll (GER) - Our man in Hollywood, ähh Vancouver!!

Boll KG - LogoGerman filmmaker Dr. Uwe Boll is a man who divides the masses. On the one side there’s his loyal fans who have a week spot for cult movies like the school violence drama Heart Of America, the zombieshooter House Of The Dead or the vampire slasher Bloodrayne. But on the other side there’s also the so-called Boll bashers, who keep attacking the director on a daily basis and who feast like vultures on the criticism of his movies.

And since I’m not a basher, but a fan of Uwe Boll, I decided one day to send an email to his company, Boll KG, and ask for a chance to do an interview with him for my internet fanzine. And just a few hours later I found an email in my mailbox, written by Uwe himself, in which he told me that it’s no problem at all to do the interview. And then, a couple of days later, my phone rang and the voice on the other side of the line said: “Hey, here’s Uwe!!”

Ok, for some of you this might not sound too enthralling, but I was really excited and nervous when I had him on the phone and especially in the first couple of minutes I was hardly capable of uttering a complete sentence without a million “äh’s”, “uh’s” and “well’s”. After all, for a guy like me it’s not an everyday experience to talk to a well-known filmmaker, who works with Hollywoodstars such as Christian Slater (True Romance), Jason Statham (The Transporter I & II), Kristanna Loken (Terminator III), Natassia Malthe (Dead Or Alive), Ben Kingsley (Ghandi) or Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights)!!

Earlier that day, a filmteam from the US headed over to Germany just to do an interview with Uwe for a TV feature about vampire movies (next to him they’ve also interviewed the directors of blockbusters such as Underworld and Van Helsing) and a few hours later he phones me at home and spends about 40 minutes of his precious time to talk to a normal guy who’s just running a small internet fanzine in his spare time... and throughout the whole conversation, he’s been a really cool and down-to-earth guy to talk to, who put a lot of time and effort into his detailed replies!! You can say about Uwe Boll whatever you want, but one thing is for sure: this guy does really care for his fans!!

Unfortunatly my crappy soundcard was not even half as cooperative as Dr. Boll was and hence the recording of our conversation got fucked up pretty badly. Due to a lot of feedback and background noises, I couldn’t decipher quite a few of his utterances anymore and therefore I had to present huge parts of the interview in reported speech – spiced up with just a couple of direct quotations. It’s maybe not the very best solution, but I hope you enjoy the interview anyway... ;)

Uwe mit Kristanna Loken (Rayne) und Michelle Rodriguez (Katarin).   Uwe mit Matthew Davis (Sebastian).   Uwe am Set von "Bloodrayne".

Of Snapshots, Blizzards and a Helluva lot of Work (The Year 2006)

At first I had planned to start the interview with a general retrospection of the year 2006 and ask Uwe why he had done so much work in just one year. Cause after all he had done no less than three movies in only 12 months!! However, these three movies turned out to be Postal, Seed and Bloodrayne II and not – as I had wrongly thought – Postal, Seed and In The Name Of The King.

Cause In The Name Of The King, a 60 million dollar fantasy epos based on the video game Dungeon Siege, had apparently been shot in 2005 and not in 2006. The reason why it did nevertheless take such a long time to be finished was because of the post production, which lasted quite a couple of months.

"Normally you shoot such a film in 6-7 weeks," says Uwe, "then there’s 4-5 months for preparation and another 6-7 months for the post production (the stage of the filming in which all the special effects are added, etc). While the post production is being done, you have to wait for a pretty long time and why should you waste this time just sitting around and doing nothing?”

A valid question. Especially if you take into consideration, that there was still some film fond money for Postal and Seed availible. So it seemed only logical to bridge the time gap, which was needed to finish the post production for In The Name Of The King, with the filming of Postal and Seed. By doing these two movies right after another, Uwe could even kill two birds with one stone and hire huge parts of the crew for both productions.

But even though these two flicks were filmed so closely after one another, Uwe strongly resists the accusation that they were done too fast and without the neccessary care and effort. “I have written the scripts for Seed and Postal myself. Seed, for example, did take me 5-6 years to develop, which is a pretty long time. I guess one of the main points of criticism for House Of The Dead was that we didn’t take enough time for the project development. I think we’ve improved this a lot for In The Name Of The King and especially Seed and Postal. This time we’ve really taken enough time and effort to develop them”, Uwe says.

In the case of Bloodrayne II, on the other hand, even Uwe himself admits, that it’s been done “rather fast and in a hurry”. The Bloodrayne DVD sold pretty fine and hence Universal Pictures approached Mr Boll and asked him, if he was interested in filming a sequel as a DVD-only release.

“The market was good for a film like Bloodrayne II and Universal told us that they’ve already planned to release the DVD next summer, so we just said to ourselves ‘OK let’s do this one, too!’ It just made sense to do such a movie at this point of time”, Uwe sums it up.

But even though the time was short, three writers had still been working on the script for the whole summer and all in all the movie turned out “surprisingly good”, according to the director. This is not only the achievement of the hardworking crew and the commited actors, but even the weather played it’s little role in the success of Bloodrayne II. Since the film was shot “under hardest conditions in the Canadian winter, with snow and blizzards and all” it turned out “really intensive and interesting”.

"However, it was not really a pleasure”, Uwe adds and in the future he “won’t do three movies in one year anymore”. Cause after all the filming of so many flicks in such a short time had also been “pretty uncomfortable and exhausting”.

Szene aus "Bloodrayne II - Deliverance".   Szene aus dem Trailer zu "Bloodrayne II - Delivernace".   Szene aus dem Trailer zu "Bloodrayne II - Deliverance".

Of Maggots, Corpses and Electric Chairs (Seed)

Seed, the first movie I’ve been talkin’ about with Uwe, is a horror/slasher flick about a mean killer, who survives his execution on the electric chair and gets burried alive. But being a really vicious super villain, the grave alone can’t stop Max Seed and hence he digs his way back to the surface and starts to take revenge on the ones who tried to kill him.

The film itself takes place in the 1970s and the crew has really tried their best to create a certain kind of retro flair and atmosphere by using authentic costumes and settings. While watching Seed, genrefans will most likely be reminded of horror classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre more than only once. But nevertheless Dr Boll likes to point out, that Seed is not just a mere rip off of these old horror/slasher classics, but that the flick does “also have its own style and look”.

Concerning the script, Uwe says that he got the idea for it while reading the book The Execution Protocol by Stephen Trombley. This book deals with the history of capitol punishment and presents a lot of gruesome stories, such as situations where the electric chair didn’t work properly or a dubious law, according to which the executioner is only allowed to move the power lever three times, no matter whether the victim is really dead afterwards or “only” braindead... and come on, you gotta admit, such a story seems almost predestined for the plot of a horror movie, doesn’t it!?

While House Of The Dead was a pretty action-orientated horror movie and Bloodrayne did have a lot of advanture/vampire elements as well, Seed will be Uwe Boll’s first “really brutal and extreme horror film” so far. And to make sure that even the thoughest splatter freaks will get their money worth, the crew has added a special something to the movie, which will most likely even shock the most hard boiled horror aficionados: unlike other movies, the corpses and cadavers in Seed are not made of fake blood, silicon and other stuff like that, but the crew has made them out of real flesh, in which worms and maggots have already feasted for weeks!! Some pretty strong meat, that’s for sure... ;)

And then there’s another scene in Seed, which will definitly cause a lot of quarrel, cause in the opening sequence of the film we get to see horrible video footage of cruelty to animals. However, this footage has been given to the film crew by the animal rights organisation PETA, who do support the publication of such footage in a horror movie. Cause after the doubtful pleasure of watching these scenes, the moviegoer will most likely think twice, whether a fur coat must really be on top of his purchase list or not...

And that’s also the true motivation behind the usage of such horrible pictures, namely to illustrate “how primitive human beings are” and what kinda cruelties they are able to commit. Those of you who will watch the movie open-mindedly (i.e. without already condemning it in advance because it’s a Boll movie), will hopefully not only be scared and shocked and excited by it, but maybe it’ll also make you think a little about your own behaviour and that of your fellow men. Sure, Seed is shocking, but it is so for a reason...

But caution, if you expect Seed to be an over the top party flick, which rather amuses you than frightens you, than you’ll most likely be pretty disappointed with Seed. Cause according to Uwe Boll it is a “very depressive horror movie”, which simply “is no fun to watch”!

Fans of disturbing and extreme horror/splatter flicks should definitly keep an eye on Seed and watch out for the film’s official release date!!

Szene aus "Seed".   Ralf Moeller als Warden Wright in "Seed".   Michael Pare als Detective Bishop in "Seed".

Of Terrorists, Self-censorship and a Shot in the Balls (Postal)

Next in line on my interview agenda was Postal, definitly the most daring and controversial movie Uwe Boll has made so far. Cause this black and weird action comedy will make fun of each and everybody and dish out one hit below the belt after the another. In the case of Postal, advertising slogans like ‘100% not politically correct’ or ‘Postal – Banned from a theatre near you’ are surely more than just hollow phrases...

Based on a totally disrespectful cult videogame (which’s second part made it straight onto the index in Germany), this movie promises to be a completely fucked up actionfest, that makes you laugh like crazy!!

No matter if you see the movie opening with a hijacked airplane crashing into the World Trade Center by accident (cause the terrorists did only wanna fly to the Bahamas), if you witness Verne “Mini-Me” Troyer being raped by a horde of chimpanzees or if you lay your eyes on Uwe Boll’s portrait of a dull neo nazi, who dies from a gun shot in the balls when he’s just about to open an Auschwitz amusement park, this movie is not only predestined for a lot of laughs, but also for a lot of trouble.

Cause every taboo, that Postal breaks, is new grist for the mills of all the niggling Boll bashers, who cricle the controversial director like vultures and only wait for new chances to pick on him.

Surprisingly, Uwe Boll himself sees the whole situation a lot more relaxed. “The people who always try to put me down”, he says, “they will actually be pretty fond of Postal. But they will most likely not admit it, because the film has been shot by me. But normally Postal would be a flick which they’d really like.” Therefore, Uwe hopes that even those people, who used to trash his former movies, will recognize and admit that Postal is not comparable to any of his previous projects... and that Postal makes sense, too!!

That last point seems to be of particular importance from him, cause throughout the whole interview he did continuously point out the fact that Postal is not only dull fuss, but also contains an important message:

“The major idea behind Postal ist that ever since 9/11 we have to face unbelievable self censorship in the whole world, and especially in the USA (and that’s the market I mainly work for). The American flag is displayed everywhere, every islamist is automatically also a terrorist, the American policy is completely fucked up, the war in Iraq was wrong and so on... it’s just about time for a movie to set a sign against this self censorship; a sign that cannot be drawn into any politican direction, because every politcal direction gets ruthlessly attacked!! Iran, Bin Laden, Bush and many others will be charged and put down without any mercy.”

That’s also the reason why Uwe chose Postal to be a comedy flick. Cause this gives him the chance to make the movie “even more brutal than a serious film about terrorism or 9/11”. According to the director, we can already prepare ourselves for the “harshest satire and most critical film that has ever tackled the happenings of September 11”.

Needless to say, Mr. Boll himself is also well aware of the fact that such an outspoken approach to a taboo issue is a particularly risky undertaking, also in terms of financial regards. But nevertheless he hopes that “a lot of people will be ready to face up to such a difficult topic” and that especially the theatrical release in Germany (which is set for September 13th, 2007) will be quite successful. If that will be the case, then the movie will most likely get a big boost and a lot of other cinemas, in Germany as well as in other countries, might follow and show the flick as well.

Therefore, when it comes to the promotion of Postal, every fan can do his part and help the movie out, simply by spreading the word for it. Cause apparently word-to-mouth recommendation is a major instrument in Postal’s marketing and promotion strategy.

Finally, we closed our little Postal talk with a rather unpleasant topic, namely the Austrian youth culture magazine and their interview with Uwe Boll, that has been published earlier this year and that portraits the film maker as a rascist and an anti-Semite. Needless to say that these harsh accusations are completely far-fetched and that Uwe himself clearly distances himself from being called a rascist and a neo nazi.

Cause according to Uwe Boll, had at first published the complete interview on their website for two days and everybody who read it could clearly see that Uwe had never said the things of which he’d been accused later on. But then suddenly decided to rip Uwe’s original statements apart and distort them by putting them into a completely new context. And this is how these bad accusations, which are “completely untrue”, finally came up...

“I am not against Jews, blacks or anybody else” Uwe says decidedly, “and that’s also what Postal is all about, namely to show that we stand above all that shit! There are no races, there are no religions, there is just one planet and we all have to take care of it. We cannot just fight each other and, by doing so, destroy the world we all live in! Instead of showing respect to one another and doing something important, people bash each other for the most inane reasons... like those Chili editors, who hope to attract more readers by printing these outrageous lies about me.

My lawyer is a Jew, I have hundrets of friends who are Jews, most of the people that I work with are Jews, half of the actors in Postal are Jews... honestly, it’s simply ridiculous to call me an anti-Semite!”

As you see, some critics have already started bashing Postal before it’s even out, but Uwe’s ready to fire back at them and if you read his statements, you will surely be able to form an own opinion about him – and hopefully this opinion won’t have anything to do at all with the stupid lies that the Chili editors tried to spread.

So don’t listen to the crap that these guys wanna tell you, but rather mark the 27th of September with a big, red cross in your calender, cause then it’s time for you ‘to go Postal’!!

Zack Ward und Jacky Tohn in "Postal".   Szene aus "Postal".   Szene aus "Postal".

Of Knights, Kings and a helluva lot of Hollywood Stars (In The Name Of The King)

While Seed is most likely Uwe Boll’s most gorey film so far and Postal his most controversial one, In The Name Of The King does surely represent the biggest and most expensive project that Uwe has ever worked on.

This thunderous fantasy epic, whose script is based on the video game Dungeon Siege, has a lenght of 2 ½ hours and a budget of round about 60 million US Dollar. Therefore, we can not only count on impressive images, spectacular action scenes and extensive special effects, but we’ll also see the most famous cast ever to appear in a Boll film so far...

Jason Statham (Snatch), Burt Reynolds (The Cannonball Run), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord Of The Rings), Ray Liotta (Identity), Matthew Lillard (Thir13en Ghosts), Leelee Sobieski (The Wickerman), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black), Kristanna Loken (Terminator III) and Will Sanderson (Heart Of America) are only some of the popular names to appear in the credits!!

First of all, this makes me wonder how the hell Uwe Boll got all these illustrious actors to participate in his movie and how they all could contribute to the success of the film. After all, there’s still an old proverb which says that too many cooks spoil the broth...

When I asked Uwe how he got all these stars to join In The Name Of The King, he told me that “simply one actor followed the other”. It started with Jason Statham reading the script. At first he wasn’t sure if he was the right man for such an epic movie, cause apparently he’s rather famous for gangster flicks like Snatch or The Transporter. But after he talked things over with his manager, he finally got used to the idea of starring in a fantasy movie in the style of Braveheart or Gladiator, and signed the contact.

Jason Statham, who ”really showed a lot of effort” during the shooting of In The Name Of The King”, has then shown the script to his buddy Ron Perlman, who also liked the idea of taking part in such a movie. Ron Perlman’s manager did then establish the contact to Burt Reynolds and that’s how the next big fish got reeled in for In The Name Of The King.

This procedure went on and on and every star, who signed up for In The Name Of The King, did also bring along another reputable actor, who was eager to star in the movie as well... and that’s how Uwe did finally end up with such an impressive cast.

When I asked him in what way the participation of so many famous stars could be of benefit for the movie, Uwe told me that he hopes that all these big names will attract different kinds of movie goers, who would normally not have had that much interest in a video game adaptation, but who will now check out the flick anyway, because it features their favorite star or starlett.

Jason Statham, for example, is an actor who mainly attracts a younger crowd, that enjoys action movies, while Burt Reynolds, on the other hand, might also lure a couple of seniors into the cinemas. Then again, Jonathan Rhys-Davies is very famous among fantasy freaks, ever since he played Gimli in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and Ron 'Hellboy' Perlman will most likely get a lot of comic aficionados to watch In The Name Of The King as well!! A similar statement can be made about all the other stars in this movie as well, so that in the end one can indeed say that In The Name Of The King will really attract all different kinds of movie fans, no matter how old they are or what genre they prefer.

Nevertheless, this movie will again be in the line of fire of many critics and quite a lot of people have already started to criticize it in advance, calling it nothing but a cheap Lord Of The Rings clone. A complaint, that according to Uwe Boll, has once again been made quite a bit too “overhasty”.

Cause right now the official trailer is still being worked on and before its release, one can’t really judge the CGI, the camera shots, the editing, etc in a fair and just way. So, if you haven’t really been impressed by the advance clips on YouTube & Co, you’d better wait until you see the final product and maybe you’ll change your mind... ;)

At least the first screening of In The Name Of The King, which took place at a film festival in Brussels, has already been quite successful, Uwe said. Cause not only had the abundent fantasy epos been “by far the biggest movie of the whole festival”, but the reactions of the fans, who saw it, were really positive as well. In the directors eyes, this first affirmative feedback is a good sign that a lot of other movie goers will like the film as well.

In any case, Uwe is really proud of having done “a great production with very good actors”, which is not only fully coherent in terms of story telling, costume design and so on, but which can also keep up with any big Hollywood blockbuster – and all this without the support and backup of a wealthy film studio!!

Uwe Boll am Set von "In The Name Of The King".   Burt Reynolds als King Konreid.   Jason Statham als Farmer.

Of Assholes, Fat Guys and Boxing Gloves (Uwe’s Boxing Challenge)

I’ve you’ve observed Uwe’s efforts of the last months carefully, you will surely have recognized that not only his movies hit the headlines, but also his so-called boxing challenge!! This event, that was themed “Raging Boll”, gave Uwe the chance to do what every slandered celebrity would most likely love to do at least once in a lifetime:

To put on the boxing gloves and meet some of his most outspoken critics in the ring for a boxing match!!

This is exactly what did on September 23rd, 2006, when he invited four self-proclamed Boll Bashers to the Plaza Of Nations in Vancouver, Canada, and gave ‘em the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to back up their harsh words with actions and throw a couple of punches right into the controversial director’s face!!

But unfortunatly for the competitioners, Uwe Boll is a passionate amateur boxer, and so all four challengers were slammed to the mat even before the third round was through...

Hence it’s not really surprising, that Uwe’s recapitulation of the PR stunt is pretty cool and laid back: “Well, if you’re in for a penny, you’re also in for a pound.” Uwe sums it up. “And that’s why I challenged the critics and told ‘em, ‘You assholes put down my movies without even watching them, so why don’t you come to over Vancouver and meet me face to face.’ And when they arrived in Vancouver, most of them have continued to act like assholes right away.” Therefore, when they met in the ring, Uwe did not really have a lot of scruples to send them to the ground one after another. “Right from the start I have made it clear, that if I fight four people on one evening, I can’t just do show fights, but I have to knock ‘em out!!”

But even though he gave them quite a bit of hell in the ring, Uwe is not mad at all the challengers. “Two of them,” he said, “have not only acted like sportsmen in the ring, but also displayed fair and nice behaviour before and after the fights.” These two guys are Rue Morgue Magazine editor Chris Alexander and 17-year-old Nelson Chance Minter. Both have been pretty eager to reconcile all prior animosities, once they had the chance to meet Uwe Boll face to face and talk to him in person.

According to the director, the main reason for this change of mind is the fact, that these guys have also visited the set of Postal and seen with their own eyes, how much work and effort is involved in the production of such a movie. “To bash a movie is always easy,” he says, “but one should still not forget that every movie does also cost its creators a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And that’s also the approach that critics should have, namely to respect the work of the movie makers and keep a certain level of  fairness in their reviews, even if they don’t like the movies themselves. Why do people always have to take it to a personal level, especially if they don’t even know the guys behind the movies personally?”

And that does also explain, why it was so important for Uwe to meet his critics not only in the ring, but also on the set of Postal. Cause he wanted to show them that he “does not at all work like an amateur film maker, but rather shoots his movies on a very high and professional level with a skilled crew and a lot of good actors”.

The other two boxers, Jeff Sneider and Richard ‘Lowtax’ Kyanka (who is just “another complete asshole” in Uwe’s eyes) have not taken that effort and hence it’s not really surprising that they still kept their bitterness and animosity after the fights – a fact that is perfectly illustrated by bitter and whiny statements they gave after their encounter with the Raging Boll.

When I asked Uwe if there are any other critics, whom he would have loved to deliver a couple of good hooks and jabs to, he named particularly “all the IMDB users”, whom he had challenged personally, but who had unfortunatly “all chickened out”, as well as the infamous Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News!! The latter, however, could not have accepted Dr. Boll’s challenge anyway,  cause he’s simply “too fat to enter a boxing ring”.

Since his first choices were all not availible for the boxing challenge for one reason or another, Uwe simply had to chose his contenders among those who did indeed volunteer for a fight. According to him, the best fighter was Chris Alexander, but also Minty Minter did quite a good fight, even though he had a hard stand right from the start due to the obvious physical disparaties.

However, if one of you now thinks that it would be a cool idea to give the good ol’ Boll a beating, too, then I have bad news for you. Cause apparently there won’t be another boxing challenge in the conceivable future. “This was a unique event. It was a message for the market and all the people out there and I do not intent to do something like that again soon.”, Uwe closed the interview.

Uwe im Ring.   Uwe im Ring.   Uwe im Ring.

Well guys, what can I say, that’s it: my interview with Uwe Boll!! It was really good fun to talk to him and I hope you had a nice read as well. And who knows, maybe some of you have now even gained some interest in his flicks and like to check ‘em out in cinema... if so, then be sure to keep the following dates in mind, cause that’s when the next three Boll films hit the screens in the USA: In The Name Of The King (December 5th, 2007), Postal  (September 28th, 2007) and Seed (January 25th, 2008)!! I, for my part, am really looking forward to these films and it would be cool if some of you would do so, too... :)

Homepage: (Uwe's Company) ; (Fansite) ; (Fansite)
Email: (Uwe's Company)

Interview: Tobi (based on a phonecall with Uwe from April 24th, 2007)
Translation: Tobi (August 2007)

Pics: ; ;