Director Uwe Boll shouldn’t need much of an introduction to film fans. Quite the controversial figure, it seems if he’s not making films that divide opinion, he’s pissing off the people that are.
I was privileged enough to speak to Uwe Boll in 2016 and, well, I’ll let you decide if he’s the contentious character you may think he is…
Chris Barnes: Great to meet you, Mr. Boll! Your Rampage trilogy came to a close with Rampage: President Down, the final film of your career.
Uwe Boll: Yes. Independent movies are dead. What we have left are TV shows, $200mil studio movies and some Oscar contenders. The rest will be $100k movies shot by amateurs and wannabe filmmakers.
Chris: You’ve cast some huge names in your films over the years – including Ben Kingsley, JK Simmons, Burt Reynolds and Ray Liotta – but is there anyone you’ve missed out on you wish you’d nabbed?
Uwe: Of course, tons… all the big names, because they sell movies.
Chris: How do you go about selling your ideas to some of Hollywood’s biggest names?
Uwe: I make offers and back them up with real money.
Chris: I’d like to talk a bit about Postal, possibly your most popular (and wackiest!) film to date. The world still seems pretty damn touchy about Nazi jokes (although we have had a bit of an influx of zombie Nazis in the last few years) and, of course, your references to 9/11. Do you think if Postal was to be re-released now it’d be received any better? Time being a healer and all that…
Uwe: Postal is the best video game based movie ever and the most funny. We broke all taboos and if you look at the world now you see how much ahead of the time that movie was. The motto was: No religion, no races, no nations… and it’s even more true today. That we still judge per skin colour – still have billions of religious idiots and nations that think only about themselves – is the end of the planet.
Chris: How was it received in Germany? Did it get a wider release?
Uwe: No. I toured around a little but it was also not a success. But still, if I go today, out to a festival or so, most of the DVDs I have to sign are from Postal.
Chris: Did I read somewhere you missed out on Gary Coleman because he didn’t want to swear in the movie?!!
Uwe: Correct. He is an idiot.
Chris: [laughs] You’ve taken some stick over the years about your adaptions of video games. How big a decision was it to go with your own ideas on BloodRayne, etc, instead of sticking to the basic plots of the games themselves?
Uwe: Some games have no plot and some games have shitty plots… I had to make movies also for all the people who just watch the movie and have no clue that it is based on a video game.
Chris: Why do video game adaptions appeal to you?
Uwe: Because House of the Dead made money, so I just kept doing them.
Chris: If you’d have been given a crack at, say, a Star Wars film, for example, would you have tried to add your own story arc to it?
Uwe: It depends what Star Wars. The first two were very good. Now I’m just not interested in bullshit like this any more.
Chris: With the range of superhero movies coming every year, would there ever be room for a Uwe Boll superhero flick? If so, what elements from your video game/horror movie experience would you bring to such a film?
Uwe: I did that with BloodRayne. I’m done with that. I’m 50+ years old and I don’t act like…shit…like this is interesting to me any more.
Chris: You’ve been compared to Ed Wood in the past. Personally, I think I’d take that as a compliment as the guy’s a legend! How did you feel about the comparison?
Uwe: Good. No problem with it. He was a guy who tried hard. I was lucky, I had way more money than him. If you gave Scorsese only $10k to make a movie I think it wouldn’t be as better as the Ed Wood movies.
Chris: The critics who pan your stuff – the folks who seem to have nothing positive to say whatsoever – what don’t they get about your work?
Uwe: They never watched 80% of my movies.
Chris: I like the fact you react so strongly to criticism of your movies – it shows you’re still passionate after all this time. Have you become less bothered over the years or does it still anger you enough to contact the critic directly/organise a boxing event?
Uwe: Boxing is over, but I will always answer… one way or the other.
Chris: Despite the ‘official’ criticism, you’ve still developed a huge cult following amongst the general public. What is it about an Uwe Boll film that invokes such a varied response?
Uwe: Uwe Boll.
Chris: It must be tough to remain so focussed and thick-skinned amid the chaos?!
Uwe: I was always hard working and very disciplined.
Chris: What is the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Uwe: Too many to count. Always when you watch a shitty movie you think that is the worst movie you ever saw. I just watched the Adam Sandler Netflix movie, The Ridiculous 6, and it is the worst piece of shit, but there are others also.
Chris: [laughs] You’ve been quite vocal about crowdfunding campaigns in the past. What advice would you give an amateur filmmaker with a great idea but no money to create?
Uwe: I think for young filmmakers crowdfunding is super, and also the fact that in today’s time you can shoot movies with your cellphone.
Chris: Are you still an advocate of self-distribution?
Uwe: Self selling yes, but you should have local distributors doing the advertising.
Chris: Is it true you were offered the chance to direct Kevin Costner’s Mr. Brooks? If so, why did you turn it down and what did you think of the finished movie?
Uwe: Costner wanted me to finance that movie, or co-finance, and then I would direct it also. The movie was, in the end, better than the script.
Chris: Can you tell us a little about your restaurant/retirement?
Uwe: Bauhaus Restaurant. Great food in Vancouver. I love to see the restaurant getting better and better.
Chris: What food from your menu would you recommend for your harshest critics?
Chris: Looking back at your career, would you have changed anything? Not directed a certain film, or wanted to direct a specific film or genre? Particular actor/actress you wish you’d worked with?
Uwe: I would change a lot, with the knowledge of now. It is always funny when people say they would not change anything… you have to be really stupid to make mistakes again.