Uwe Boll is best-known for adapting video games into movies, having directed and produced a number of such adaptations, including “House of the Dead”, “Alone in the Dark”, “BloodRayne”, “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale”, “Postal” and most recently “Far Cry”. Although he also has a few non-video game themed films, “Rampage”, “Darfur”, and “Stoic” coming on in this year they look really good and different from his past films. Everyone should give these films a chance and see the potential that Uwe Boll has as a director.
Thanks to the beauty of Skype, I was able to talk with Dr. Uwe Boll via Germany and got a chance to chat and ask him a few questions about his career, his upcoming movies and how he feel about how the critics have it out for him.
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Mike Gencarelli: Tell me about the process of how you choose the movies you will direct?
Uwe Boll: It is different movie by movie, lets say a video game like “House of the Dead” was not developed by me and came to me from third parties. Basically “House of the Dead” was Mindfire and it was more a financial decision and a market decision to say lets make “Alone in the Dark”, lets make “In the Name of the King”. These kind of movies you get more money for financing, you get bigger stars and you can make bigger sales. There are the other movies like “Stoic”, “Rampage”, “Darfur” and “Postal”, they are my kind of movies. I really have emotions behind them, also usually I am writing the scripts and so on.
Mike Gencarelli: You have made quite a few films based on video games, what is your connection to the genre?
Uwe Boll: I think I am a big fan of genre movies, of horror, thriller or sci-fi. I think of the video games movies based on film genres and not as a genre of its own. Like “Postal” is a comedy but based on a video game, “In the Name of the King” is based on a fantasy movie, “House of the Dead” as a zombie movie. This is how I try to treat the movies I make, I try to get various rights to different kinds of video games so I am not redundant. I don’t try to only make horror movies, I try to sci-fi, action, fantasy and to basically have a wider range of genres.
Mike Gencarelli: Where do you usually get funding for your films?
Uwe Boll: It depends, in the beginning, I had ten film funds in Germany to raise money. In the beginning people could get 50% tax rebate on them, this stopped. Even then you still have 50% of your money in the movie, so you hope of course that the movie is a hit, not a flop. This strategy was over from the 2006 and on, so movies like “Rampage”, “Darfur”, “Stoic”, “Alone in the Dark II”, “Bloodrayne II”, were all financed more classically with pre-sales, bank loans, and deferrals where CGI companies invested. This is a reason why we went a little lower with the budgets.
MG: Although you haven’t had much box office success in the US theatrically, “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” was your last in 2007. Are you planning your next US theatrical release?
UB: My movies are available for a theatrical release by Phase 4 in America, but it will be only NY and LA, a mini platform release. The tendencies of some territories, is that the P&A is so expensive that the math is just not working any more. For example in Russia, Thailand, Middle East or Singapore, these kind of territories you can still release movies with money and advertising. You basically have a better shot at getting the money back. In America, Germany and England, its so expensive to release movies, with all the TV spots you need to book. It is tough. “Max Schmeling”, my boxing movie, will get a wide release in Germany, if it works in Germany maybe we get a bigger release in America. Max Schmeling against Joe Lewis, people know the story, it is a period piece movie, set in World War II. Who knows maybe it will get a better shot in America after it gets put out in Germany.
MG: Why do you like low budget films compared to bigger budget?
UB: It is definitely easier to recoup the budget if you spend $5 million and not $50 million. It is in a way, a movie like “Rampage” has a chance to recoup all of the money only out of DVD. It’s not so nerve wreaking as it was it “Bloodrayne” or “In the Name of the King” where you are totally depending on the US theatrical release to get the money back. In the “Bloodrayne” case, we only ended up getting 900 and with “In the Name of the King” we had 1600 or 1700 screens but it is not enough. With a movie like that if you are not in the best screens in every town, if you are only in the secondary screens you cannot make a hit anymore. It was a Freestyle release, an independent release, and 20th Century Fox only have TV and DVD rights but not theatrical right. You do not have any support from the exhibitors, they just don’t play your trailer, if you are Freestyle.
MG: Your films have not been favorably reviewed by the critics, what gave you the idea to challenge your critics to a boxing match?
UB: When “Bloodrayne” came out and I got bashed to the ground for it, I compared the reviews from “House of the Dead” and “Alone in the Dark” with “Bloodrayne” and they were all the same. They are not the same movies, I think they are totally different movies to be honest, you really can not compare the three movies. I know people that love “House of the Dead” because it is so cheesy and violent. “Bloodrayne” is a way better movie than “House of the Dead”, I believe. Based on this frustration I said “Hey guys, if you want to kill me or destroy me, lets do a boxing match”. I figured they should try to kill me physically in the ring. A few people stepped up to do it and it was like real like “Jackass” stunt.
MG: You ended up winning all of 6 the boxing matches? Is that correct?
UB: Yes, and they are on Youtube. Each fighter had three months to prepare. One guy said he was boxing for a year and another guy Chris Alexander, who is now I believe the boss of Fangoria, said he trained in the boxing ring. I told everyone I boxed when I was younger, so I went back in training and this was in my advantage.
MG: You currently have a petition against you called “Stop Dr. Uwe Boll”, it is at 353,594 signatures? if it gets to 1 million would you actually retire?
UB: I think no, its has been too long. If they would have made to a million in like 2 months, then they would have had something. They even got sponsored by that gum factory. I felt like its three years later, forget it. I also felt that people signed numerous time on the petition so it is probably only like 150,000 people that actually signed it.
MG: You work with a group of actors that show up in each of your films, Michael Paré, Will Sanderson, Zack Ward & Ralf Moeller to name a few. What is your reason for that?
UB: If you have a good relationship with somebody it is way easier to use them again in a movie, you don’t have that insecureness anymore that in the beginning. It’s more fun to make a movie with people you worked with before. Michael Paré has the record I think with like 10 or 11 movies I’ve done.
MG: What is your favorite past time besides directing?
UB: Watching movies, having good food, playing sports. That is it, basically my job is my hobby also, it is fun to do it.
MG: Tell me about “Bloodrayne: The Third Reich”, Is this your favorite series you’ve created?
UB: I like “Bloodrayne” because I like the person, half vampire/half human. In the beginning the whole concept was to move 100 years forward with each episode. The classical vampire movie in part one, the second one in the Wild West and the third one is set in 2nd World War where Rayne fights the Nazis. The story is Dr. Mengele played by Clint Howard, wants to get her blood to make Hitler immortal. They try to catch her alive to brings her to Berlin and to do a blood transfusion. In between she fights against the Nazis and the commander, played by Michael Paré, who plays the villain. He gets bitten and turns into a vampire also and starts killing his own people. It is an interesting story, sort of like the first part again, very violent and a lot of sex. The second part because of the Wild West, you couldn’t have real gore because they were shooting with their guns the whole time. We shot it in Croatia and finished last week and i think we have some really cool stuff.
MG: Tell me about your other upcoming films?
UB: I am on tour here the next few weeks, with “Rampage” in Europe and some festivals in Brussels, Amsterdam and Munich. On April 29th, “Rampage” will be getting theatrical release here in Germany in like 10 screens each. “Darfur” comes in June in America, but “Rampage” will only be direct to DVD release by Phase 4 on June 1st. They are also releasing “The Final Storm” on DVD April 13th, it is more a conventional thriller about what if the end of the Earth happens, but you own a small farm and you do not get the information, no press and no telephone. Slowly it turns into like a psycho thriller, Luke Perry is playing the psycho part and Lauren Holly is the wife. It is a little like “Cape Fear” meets the end of the world. “Stoic” also comes out on DVD April 13th, which is the jail movie I did, about a real case in prison. I’ve got a lot of movies and its tough to almost follow up most.
MG: Anything you have to say to your fans?
UB: I hope everyone checks out the new movies I did especially, “Stoic”, “Rampage” & “Darfur”, I think they are totally different than the video game based movies and I enjoy doing both. As a director, I watch a lot of movies. I like watching them for fun and I try to make movies like “Bloodrayne”, “In the Name of the King” and “Far Cry” to be just entertaining, I do not try to have a message with them. From time to time it is good to tell the story with facts like “Stoic” or you have “Darfur” about the genocide in Sudan, you use real stuff and make interesting movies out of them. I hope the people that watch the genre movies will follow me over to the other movies and say that they will give me a shot.
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