Indie Spotlight: Uwe Boll interview
This section was dreamed up to showcase stuff you might not have heard of. But the chances are you've heard of Uwe Boll. He's not the worst director in the world, by the way...
Uwe Boll’s Postal is set to hit the big screen in the UK any day now. It’ll be the first of his movies since House of the Dead to get a theatrical release over here (has BloodRayne even been released at all?) and that only lasted a week. We’ve already reviewed Postal off the back of a screening at London’s FrightFest festival, but what we forgot to tell you was that we also sat down and had a chat with the legendary director…Den of Geek: You deliberately set out to make Postal a very provokative and offensive movie. What have audience reactions been like so far?
Uwe Boll: They’ve been very positive. We’ve screened it in New York, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and LA now, and I think 80% of the people really like it. Of course, if you go into a movie like Postal, you are already a little edgier, and I think, let’s say, the audience of Harry Potter will definitely not like it, it will be maybe too hard or too offensive for those guys. But I think we will find an audience for the movie.DoG: Were you never scared that there would be a violent reaction against it?
UB: Well, the New York Post wrote already an article against it and even sued me and tried to shut down the website. But of course in the US with all the Bible belt states, you have a lot of trouble to get, for example, screens. All the big exhibitors are a lot of times run by ultra Christians from the South so when they see the movie it’s not so easy.DoG: The movie you made straight before Postal, Seed, also had some controversial stuff in it – isn’t there real animal torture footage shown?
UB: Yeah, I was first of all surprised that PETA gave me the footage. I saw that movie Earthlings when you see 90 minutes of animal torture and it’s the harshest movie I ever saw. And then I got from PETA the other material and I thought the whole point of Seed is that, what are human beings? What are human beings capable of doing? If this is what they are really like, is the planet not maybe better off without humans?
And with that opening scene we’re setting a tone for the rest of the movie. Like this is not Hostel or something, this is not made to make you happy, and for this I think that it’s justified. You have to force the audience to get maybe something different than they usually get out of horror movie.DoG: Seed and Postal are both angry political movies, is that what you’re going to go into now rather than more fantasy things, or…
UB: Now, look, I did two more movies after Seed and Postal, no, I did three more movies! But I promise I don’t make any more movies the next eight or ten months…DoG: Just go on holiday!
UB: Yeah. BloodRayne 2 was because Universal made a lot of money with the DVD in North America. I saw it always as a trilogy and I always wanted to do a Western. Like a homage to Sergio Leone, and to do a really straightforward Billy the Kid Pat Garratt movie but with vampires. it was tempting and I said I want to do it and of course I want to do BloodRayne 3 Warhammer, which is in the second World War which is actually where the game plays. So this is why I did it and it was like horrible to shoot, it was winter in Canada, I was exhausted from Seed and Postal already, the whole crew was exhausted, and then almost only shooting nighttime, outside, in winter, in Canada… was a lot of fun. And we had a big accident on set where a whole railway station caught on fire, and blew up and was like a $600,000 insurance case. So, uh, BloodRayne 2 was a horrible shoot.
And then I did I think my second best movie, Tunnel Rats, a Vietnam war movie where we’re developing a video game parallel. Retrace Studios, there will be a game and a movie and we shot it in South Africa, and um, what it’s also a war movie like I never did before and it’s about the tunnels in Vietnam which are maybe why the Americans lost the war. And then I did Far Cry which I was overdue to do, I’d been developing it for two years and so I did this and I did that all in a hurry because I felt like I wanted to leave time to do the promotional tour everywhere with Postal, and that’s what I’m now doing.DoG: So is this a rest for you?
UB: That is the thing, it was too stressful, and I have to calm down somewhere. And at one point and I really hope I can do this now.DoG: Do you still read internet reviews and criticism and so on?
UB: Absolutely. I was yesterday in Seattle at Penny Arcade, the big game convention, and I got booed I think from 2,000 people when I came on stage. And they were flipping out, trying to get me from the stage but I think after 20 minutes and a few Postal scenes at least half the audience started thinking about, like, ‘we never talked to the guy, we never saw the guy, we’re bashing him on the Internet all the time…’ And this is the reason why I went there, to show that, first of all, I’m not scared, and that they should start looking movie for movie and judge the movie and not what they think I am. And what they think I am lot of times has actually nothing to do with what I am.DoG: Do you think the critic boxing match changed anything?
UB: It changed at least Chance Minter, and Chris Alexander from Rue Morgue. The other guys are definitely still idiots, like Lowtax and Jeff Sneider, but look, 50% success, right? On the other hand, I think I made a point with it. If you do something, like you make movies, I think you should be prepared, and I showed that I was prepared to go in the boxing ring, but they were not prepared. It’s easy to trash talk, but it’s not easy to make something on your own.
DoG: Do you ever think about putting out something under another name to avoid the kneejerk reaction to your name?
UB: Yeah, I thought about it. But the thing is, because I’m so present in the Internet, they would find that out and then there would even trash it completely because I tried to hide it. There’s always crew photos coming out, and if you put, like, a name like Peter Smith on Tunnel Rats, at some point somebody would track it down that there is no Peter and then you’re fucked.
But of course, when you sit there at home you think, like, what would happen if Dungeon Siege came out not under my name but as a big epic movie. It would get out there and it would get a totally different reaction before it would be out. It would not count as Boll movie, it would count as ‘there’s this epic movie coming out with a great cast!’ And that’s what’s tough.
But I think Postal is the beginning of the turnaround. A lot of people who didn’t like the other movies liked Postal, and they’re defendnig it. On the Postal website or on the IMDB they’re actually giving us good reviews. And I think that’s a good sign and I don’t think that someone who sees Postal or who sees Seed can really say these are bad movies. You can say ‘I didn’t like the movie because of this…’ but they’re good movies and there’s no way around it. These are good movies.