Uwe Boll is a German director, producer and screenwriter, whose work includes several films adapted from video games. He finances his own films through his Boll KG and Event Film Productions production companies. Many of his films are produced on low budgets.
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I'm a German director, producer and screenwriter.
My latest project is Rampage 3: No Mercy which you can learn more about and support here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063316815/rampage-3-no-mercy/video_share
I made 2 other Rampage movies, and I felt like I need to finish that saga around Bill Williamson, and that is the reason I want to finish the story.
Victoria is assisting me over the Skype.
My proof: http://imgur.com/gA3US5o
Well, thank you for doing this with me. I hopefully can come back every 2 or 3 years. And if you can check on Kickstarter, if you want to support it with even $10, we would be very happy to reach the goal and do the movie. And now everything is on VOD and Netflix and so on, check some of my movies, and change your opinion!
Finally somebody in the spotlight who doesn't give a shit about giving real honest answers.
That is good.
The reality is that actors are NOT the parts they play - and that makes good actors. And in meeting a lot of actors over the years, I have to say they are not always so intelligent, also, as you maybe think? Because you saw them in so many high-end movies, and then you meet them, you talk with them, and it's sometimes a downfall. You think maybe they are not who they play. They are just an actor.
But in the case of Tara, she was not even a good actor.
How is your first name pronounced? You? U-E? Ooh?
Assuming your last name is like "bowl"
The "W" in German is basically spoken "Vuh." And the E is silence.
So you should say Oooh-veh.
Are you aware while you're making your movies that they suck or is that something you find out later? Seriously, I love Ben Kingsley but couldn't bring myself to finish Bloodrayne. I wanted to, I really did. But I couldn't do it.
I mean, I think - watch more the movies I did the last few years, which, as I said - RAMPAGE or ASSAULT ON WALL STREET, but also my movie about Darfur - the American distributor put ATTACK ON DARFUR at the time - those are all strong movies I develop after BLOODRAYNE. It's funny that all the big budget movies I did were on video games, and then story-wise, they were not as good as the ones that I wrote on my own, and made them. My newer movies are more personal to me. They are like what I am really interested in doing in my life. And the aspects - like the subject matters I'm really into - I use as my own writing grounds, basically, and then I write something, what I want to tell.
For example, I was so mad about the financial bailouts with the banks, that everyone kept getting bonuses on the taxpayers, and I wanted to do something about it, so I did with the ASSAULT ON WALL STREET movie.
What was it like working with Tara Reid?
It was horrific.
I mean, Tara... I don't think, is a real actress, let's say it this way. And it was my mistake that I hired her for ALONE IN THE DARK. She was always drunk. She just cannot really act. That is a fact. But i have to take the blame, because that was the first movie I did where I got some real Hollywood stars working with me, and so I just didn't want to lose all the money we spent on her and everything. Today, I would fire her the first day!
Your movies take a lot of heat, and I'm sure some of it is deserved, but I've personally never seen one of your films, and I'm willing to give you a shot. What do you think is your best film (that I could easily find/see in the US) and why?
I think watch ASSAULT ON WALL STREET. With Dominic Purcell and John Heard. It's a movie like Wall Street, about the bankers, and a guy goes on a revenge trip- he's losing everything in the financial meltdown, and his wife is doing suicide based on this. And he goes on this, after the bankers. So that is a very strong movie, what also emotionally is a little different as to other movies I did, I did a lot of movies that are kind of cynical, and this movie gets you emotionally.
And the second movie, RAMPAGE 1 and 2, because they turned out really good.
What inspired the rampage series?
Basically, when I did the first one, I had the idea of the perfect crime.
I felt like, if we can, basically have a guy almost killing a whole town - you are seeing he is a complete lunatic, but in reality, all this is a cover-up for a bank robbery - that would be kind of cool.
And a lot of people liked the movie, because it was so ridiculous, and ruthless, and so in a way, I think - similar to Hannibal Lecter of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - people find Bill Williamson, sympathetic, even though he's completely dangerous and lunatic.
That's an interesting twist. That you want him to succeed, even if he kills everybody. So I think that is the fascinating thing with that movie.
So when I did the first one - it got very good reviews, the best I ever got in my whole life. So I was very happy with it, not planning to do a second part, but a few years later, Brendan and i met, and wondered - what did Bill Williamson do after all this? So that is how the second part came along.
And with the second part, it felt like we have a trilogy. And that is why we have the Kickstarter campaign going on right now.
Whats your favourite movie of your own and why?
My personal favorite is still POSTAL. Because it is a comedy. And I didn't make a lot of comedies. My very first movie, GERMAN FRAT MOVIE, was a comedy. And i loved POSTAL, because we were so political incorrect, and that basically, I would love to POSTAL 2, that would be another kickstarter possibility - I loved to make jokes about what happened in the last 6, 7 years, because it's already 7 years old, and we had no hold backs! We shot the movie when Bush was still president, and I think it was very important to do something very heavy, political incorrect, against all that bullshit, what was going on. So that is why I love POSTAL still most.
What do you think about your notoriety in the gaming community?
Yeah, I mean... I personally think POSTAL is the best video-game based movie ever made. BUT I also acknowledge that HOUSE OF THE DEAD or ALONE IN THE DARK were not good movies. I created a lot of people from the industry that hated me, but I think also I got too harsh-judged, because I made the MOST video game based movies. And I think there were a lot of people that did also VERY bad video-game based movies, but they never got the bad wave of hate. What I got. Because I did so many of them.
And they saw me more. And also I'm outspoken. So I'm not like, I don't think about political correctness? I just say what I think, and that a lot of times, turned into my disadvantage. But on the other hand, I'm not like just digging around. If I feel something is right, I just say how I feel.
I personally liked the atmosphere of Rampage. The beauty parlor scene in particular. I'd like to see you get involved in a Hobo with a Shotgun type of movie, to be honest. Have you ever considered working with Lloyd Kaufman? I think that would be a good matchup. Throw Herschell Gordon Lewis in the mix, and we've got one violent fucking film.
I know Lloyd, and I have talked to him various times, and the Troma guys, you know. And of course, he was a never a guest on any of my movies, but I've been in 1 or 2 Troma movies in a mini-cameo. But we've never done anything together. And HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN was good, but it's similar to RAMPAGE. So I don't know! I don't see the future.
Any progress on Postal 2?
Jah! I mean, we had good ideas, but we can't finance it so far. It's not that we're giving up. We will keep working on it. But we are not done right now with the financing. And the problem with POSTAL 2 is that it's not actually so cheap to do. You need a lot of different locations and so on, and we have to be well-financed to do it.
Do you think you come under fire for a reason? Or do you think its unsolicited hate?
You have to see that if you are not supported by a big film studio, a lot of reviewers are not as scared. A lot of reviewers today are kind of bored - if I write bad about TRANSFORMERS, I might not get an invitation to another movie premiere. And in my case, it's easier to attack me, because i am a truly independent filmmaker. But in the last few years, with my truly personal movies, the reviews have changed. You cannot say RAMPAGE or DARFUR are bad movies. And I think that is now also showing. But there are some older reviewers or critics, they just hate me because of the video game movies I make, and they will continue to hate me, even i deliver 10 masterpieces in a row. So... !
Yea! On time for an AMA!
The first time I saw Rampage, I thought to myself "who the hell is coming up with such crazy and sadistic plots like this, and how are they able to think up every aspect of getting away with something like a mass murder?" I loved the movie, but the whole time I was wondering about what kind of place you had to be in to write something like that. So Uwe, how and where did this kind of inspiration come from?
Also, I read about your "Pro-Uwe Boll petition" that you were hoping someone would start that was mentioned in your wiki bio. You really dropped the ball on not jumping on a "Pro Boll" petition instead.
What i said - the perfect crime, right? So I felt like most of the movies I'm watching, they're not really surprising. You really know how PLANET OF THE APES will end when you're watching it. There aren't enough movies out where you get a big surprise in the end. And I mean, remember USUAL SUSPECTS? That was a great twist, for example. And I think - I remember, I wanted to create something which has that twist. Where you feel like Oh my god, I can't believe how it turns! and so that's how i created RAMPAGE 1. And Brendan brought it to a different level. He really IS Bill Williamson. Absolutely.
Hehehehe! I mean... what you mean is there was an anti-Boll petition! And so, the reality is that that petition thing - I felt it's kind of bullshit, you know? And so if you voted Anti-Boll, you got free chewing gum, and I didn't have a sponsor. I'm happy to leave it behind me, let's put it that way.
Will there be a BloodRayne 4?
No, it's over. The video game company doesn't want more movies. And they pulled the plug. I don't know why, because I think my movies were seen more people than the video game ever sold, so I felt it would be nice to do BLOODRAYNE 4 in today's time, because we started in the 1700's, than the Wild West in BLOODRAYNE 2, and in BLOODRAYNE 3, it was the Second World War, so I felt like why not doing BLOODRAYNE 4 playing today? And Natasha would also be willing to do it, but Magesco didn't want to do it.
Hi Uwe! Thanks for doing this AMA! What movie of yours would you make a sequel to if you could?
POSTAL 2! I said it, it would of course, really good to do. And I think it would be a lot of fun to do. And the atmosphere on set is also kind of intense! It was a fun film to do.
What will you do now that you've completed the Rampage saga?
I haven't completed it yet. RAMPAGE 3 is not yet finished. When I'm done with this, I have maybe POSTAL 2, but I have another thriller with the name TWELVE HOURS, when I try to find the right actor to do the movie, and I have also a Viking movie I want to do, called THE VIKING. Very simple! So... it will be a harsh movie, like VALHALLA RISING, kind of realistic approach to that time.
What gives you the motivation to keep making movies? Do you ever see yourself getting bored of it?
No, not really, because if you shoot one movie a year, the last few years i shot only one a year, and before that I shot 2 or 3 a year - it's not so many times you are on a movie set, and I miss it. I cannot wait to shoot RAMPAGE 3. I like shooting a movie most. I know there are directors who like writing a movie most, or editing a movie most, but I personally like shooting a movie most.
And that is what motivates me. I love that atmosphere on the film set. And I don't want to lose it, you know? I don't want to not have it anymore. I want it.
That's unfortunate. It would be interesting to see the character in modern times.
Jah, that was the idea behind it, and it's kind of strange for me that - especially on BLOODRAYNE - you couldn't follow up. And you have a game like FAR CRY, the movie I did with it, was not so successful, but the video game is very successful, so I understand why they don't want another movie. But in BLOODRAYNE it is the opposite.
How's the Postal 2 film progressing?
I think that there are 2 movies I have to get out of my system - i cannot make POSTAL 2 without actually having RAMPAGE 3 done. And the good thing for RAMPAGE 3 is that Brendan Fletcher is in the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, as the third lead, in Innaritu's western, what they shot for the last 7 months, Brendan is in the whole movie, and I think it will help his popularity, and it will also help us doing RAMPAGE 3 with him.
I sure like postal. Do you see yourself doing anymore comedies?
Jah! I mean, that is what I said, I would LOVE to do more comedies. I'm a big fan of comedies, as a movie watcher, and I have also a lot of - let's say - funny ideas I think, and I would love to do more comedies. But comedies sometimes don't translate so well for worldwide sales. If you make a funny movie, in Asia, they might not think it's funny. So to sell something worldwide, it's normally action, action-adventure, horror, it's better to sell than a comedy. So that is the thing. But I would have some great ideas for some funny comedies.
You work a lot as a producer, on IMDb you are credited as working on tons as an executive producer for example. What do you do in this role personally? How do you become involved with these movies? Are there any upcoming films you're producing we should be excited about, or that you've done before and are proud of?
Jah, I was involved in a lot of productions, as you see on IMDB, but a lot of times, I'm involved in bringing some money for the table, or doing some sales. For example, in Italy they are shooting a movie now, called THE BLIND KING, a horror movie that I produced, because our company's name is Event Film, and for that company, we need other movies to sell, and not only my movies, because otherwise we wouldn't have any business - I am not shooting enough movies for our production. So we acquire other movies and produce other movies to have enough films in the pipeline for our sales company.
I think DARFUR the movie about the genocide in Darfur is a very very good movie, and we used real Sudanese refugees playing the parts, reliving what they lived through, and we paid them well to do it, and they got out of poverty a little based on our movie, and their voices got heard. So they could show the world what that genocide means. And so that is of course a very satisfying thing for a producer/ director to do a good movie and at the same time help people.
With Seed you included actual PETA footage,a nd are very political. Do you see yourself ever doing anything more politically motivated, in film or maybe even in actual politics?
I mean, I did that in a way, because ASSAULT ON WALL STREET is very concrete, very political about the banks, and RAMPAGE 2 is by far the most political movie I ever did. In RAMPAGE 2, the main guy is basically kidnapping a tv channel, so they have to put a live interview up with him, and everything what he says in that interview is my opinion about the world we're living in. And I think I was in a way, I think I'm very happy Obama is the president, but I'm very unhappy that the presidency is always almost OVER, and so much stuff is not changed. What he wanted to change, but he never changed it. And I mean, look at the prison system in US, Guantanamo bay is still open, mass observation from NSA is still happening, which makes me very upset, and the biggest thing that makes me upset is that we don't do anything about climate change besides talking.
And I don't know what we NEED to change. I love the show VICE on HBO, you know? And you can see it, how everything is melting. You can see California has no water anymore. It's completely crazy that we don't attack the BIGGEST problems, the most important problems on the planet. Instead we have political debates about bullshit, you know? And that makes me so upset, it's what i put on RAMPAGE 2, you can just watch the speech on YouTube. And everything what he says, 100% is my political opinion.
How many people actually accepted your invitation to fight you?
Yeah, it was - so I boxed the reviewers, the critics, I boxed a guy in Spain, and then I boxed 4 people in Vancouver, all in one evening. And because I boxed when I was young, I told everybody I actually BOXED, so I knew what i'm doing. I think they wanted the publicity, so they got all pummeled.
So they all went down.
And there is a documentary made about it. I think the title was "RAGING BOLL." I don't know if it's on Amazon, or iTunes. If you google it, you will find it at one point.
Have you seen the new Mad Max? I thought it was the kind of movie you would be great doing.
No, I want to watch it! I think it comes out today, right? So I don't know how I could watch it so far, but I'm a big MAD MAX fan, and I like Tom Hardy, he's a very good actor, hopefully he brings that kind of Mel Gibson character in a cool way back. And I hope they didn't do too many special FX. Because the great thing in the MAD MAX movies was that it was all physically done. I hope they don't make a superhero out of MAD MAX in the new one.
Do you have any regrets about telling Wired's film critic that "you are a untalented wanna bee filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. you dont see courage because you are nothing. and no go to your mum and fuck her …because she cooks for you now since 30 years ..so she deserves it"?
I have no regrets. I think I said exactly what i felt about them. At this point, to write negative about POSTAL was idiotic. For me it's still idiotic, but I don't know. I remember when we showed POSTAL in Tucson, Arizona, they had people in the theater with guns on their belt, and I walked in front of the crowd, and said "Look, if you don't like the movie, it's not reason to shoot me."
The movie is more left-wing than right wing. But they were laughing their asses off about the movie. In the movie, all that kind of stuff is in POSTAL, but they got that it was a comedy, and it makes fun out of everything. The cowboys got it and laughed their ass off, and then you have intellectual idiots who thought it "went too far' or didn't reflect their point of view and so it pissed me off. So instead of non-studio support, which they should have done on it, they tried to destroy that the same business.
And the same guy who wrote that negative article - said he LIKED IT.
And then he goes home and bashes it into the ground! And that is the worst - to go home, to not have the balls to say that to my face? That is so Hollywood, you know. That is the worst.
Do you think there will be a time where anyone living outside Los Angeles and working outside the studio system can make a living off making films?
Yeah, that is the thing - if young filmmaker ask me what to do, I always say "Look, get an agent, make a good demo reel, make a good short film, put it on Facebook or YouTube, something, and show that you can make a short film. And then try to get a job working on set in LA on TV shows or feature movies." And I was lucky, because the first - I always wanted to make moves since I was 10 years old, but I had no connections to the film industry, and where i lived in Germany, there was NO connection to the film industry, so I had to learn by doing - have a Super 8 video camera, having a video camera, and with a good friend of mine, we made GERMAN FRAT MOVIE for $50,000, and the movie theaters, at this point, played us because we were personally appearing, talking with the audience, things like that.
All that times are gone.
To play your movie, now a theater wants $5,000 to play your movie. The situation has changed to a big disadvantage for young filmmakers. I think for young filmmakers, you are better off in NYC or Los Angeles, getting connected to the business, and working your way up.
What project did you spend the most time working on? And did you enjoy it?
I mean, the project where I had the longest time of work was IN THE NAME OF THE KING. Based on the fact that it was a $65 million movie, and the shoot alone was 4 months, the post production was 2 years, it was just crazy. It took over 2 and a half years to make that movie. It was very exhausting, very computer FX driven, but I really enjoyed it, to be at one point in my life to be on a movie set where you can get everything you want, you know?
That was very satisfying. You can say "We need 100 extras more" and get it. Opposite to my normal life where you really have to think about what you should do, how you should make that work.
Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. You once challenged Michael Bay to a boxing match. Why?
Jah, that was because he was all like - I called him out and said "I don't like Transformers, and this kind of movies" and he actually answered, and said "That is ridiculous, Uwe Bol the loser" and I said "Ok, if you think I'm a loser, let's have a boxing match."
And then his attorney called me, and said "He will sue you, blah blah blah..."
And I said Based on what? Totally absurd you know!
I left it alone.
But i thinK i have the freedom of my opinion, right? And I think Michael Bay makes so much money, he can afford to just live with it, that i personally think his movies stink. The story is shit, the dialogue is shit, and good actors like Mark Wahlberg burning their reputation for a paycheck to be in those movies. I just cannot watch it anymore. And all those movies with $100s of millions of budget and advertising behind it, they basically blockade the movie theaters, which could show maybe some other movies, because they just want to show the biggest movies with the most advertising behind them, you know?
So he never took me up on my offer.
I think for his own health reasons.
He would get knocked out. And he knows it. So that's the reason why he would never do it.
How does funding a movie through a kickstarter campaign compare with a film financed through more traditional methods?
In other words, what are some of the things that are better, worse, easier, and more frustrating from a director / producer's position?
I mean, I think crowdfunding is good for 2 reasons; A, it's getting awareness for a movie, so you have pre-buzz, and you make people ambassadors for the movie, so that people talk about the movie, even when it's not shot, because they're supporters of the movie, and I mean, of course, it creates a lot of work, because you have to give everybody the prize they bought, basically, the signature on a DVD or whatever, but that is okay, and it's also fun to do, and I think in a way it connects you more with the fans, as in earlier years, when you did only pre-sales. When you sold the movie to various countries, and a lot of times, people are not really BEHIND a movie, they just use it then as a DVD release, or something similar.
So why are you unable to make good movies?
You should watch a few of mine, especially the ones I mentioned in text before, and maybe you will change your mind. And the interesting thing is I've made over 30 movies. And people always come back to 2 or 3 of them. And instead of going more individual in the movies I did. A lot of directors out there, they make only ONE good movie and they are getting a lot of good reviews for even shitty movies after that. And in the past few years, I have made 6 or 7 good movies, and I think it's time to watch them and update your opinions.