Smokin’ with Boll: (A brief chat with a filmmaker I happen to like) by Kent Hill

293524-uwe%20bollSay what you like about Uwe Boll. But I dear reader, happen to like his movies. I like the man’s visions, the unintentional humour, his ability to get a hold of some big names to appear in his flicks. I like that fact that people think he’s a joke, a maker of bad movies; the fact he was willing to put on the gloves and settle it. I like all these things because it’s not how I feel. I think there is a raw splendour to the man’s work, something that reminds me of the bottom-of-the-shelf VHS greats of my youth.

I first contacted Boll some months ago when I was looking for someone to write a foreword for my friend Don Noble’s book. I found him surprisingly approachable. He took Don’s story and read it. He is a shrewd customer and when he had finished he sent me something back. I wasn’t quite the foreword I was looking for – more like a quote for the cover – which is what it ultimately will be.

Still he took the time to read the story, and Don seemed pretty stoked that he had a seal of approval, if you will, from Mr. Boll. We jump forward in time and I am here, dear reader, writing for PTS. The only thing I love more than my wife is movies, and the only thing I love more than watching movies is talking with those that bring them to life. With that in mind I reached out again to the director of House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Postal among others, to see if he was up for a brief chat in this, the wake of his filmmaking career.

He gave me a brief window, but for this fan it was more than I hoped for. That’s the thing I have learnt in getting in contact with the filmmakers I love. There is no need for fear. At the very least they are simply going to say, “No.”

Last night Uwe Boll said, “Sure, why not.”

KH: Mr Boll thank you for your time. You are quite a prolific director. Can you talk about how it is you were able to mount productions so quickly?

UB: I did 33 movies in 25 years . . .so overall a doable number. But, in 10 years within the 25 years I did almost 20 of them. It is hard work and you have to start a new movie before the other movie is finished production.

KH: How is it you came to making movies, was it always your passion?

UB: Absolutely. I always wanted to make movies since I’m 10 years old . . . I watched over 18.000 movies before I was 30.

KH: A number of the films you have made are based on video games. Are your talents sought out by the games developers or to you acquire the ability to direct the properties a different way?

UB: Yes . . . I bought the rights, and to be honest the videogame companies didn’t care at all about the movies . . . they zero interfered with the production . . . and so also didn’t care about their properties.

KH: Do you enjoy the variety of genres that your films span? Do you have a genre you have not tackled yet but would like to?

UB: I did it all, and I love that I did so many genres . . .action is fun to do . . .but POSTAL  is my favourite.

KH: I have some favourites among your movies and was wondering if you might favour us with a few productions tales from:-

Bloodrayne?

UB: Horrible shoot in Romania . . . Michael Madsen always drunk . . . Michelle Rodriguez always changing the script…

Far Cry?

UB: Great action scenes . . . Til Schweiger great team player…

In the Name of the King?

UB: Long shoot . . . my most expensive movie . . . took me 2 years to do it . . . great shoot in Canada.

KH: In your films you have worked with big stars. The likes of Ben Kingsley, Burt Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Jurgen Prochnow. What was it like working with these stars plus the others you’ve had the privilege to direct:

UB: Mixed up . . . most professional . . . positive.

KH: Critics have never been kind to your work, which I think is unnecessary. You definitely have a distinct style, a unique voice. How to you respond to these detractors?

UB: It is what it is . . . that is the reason I boxed them and knocked them out.

KH: Can you tell us any anecdotes from the vast array of movies you have directed?

UB: In Bloodrayne 2 we burned down by accident, the wild west town . . . my biggest insurance case.

KH: Do or have you taken home any props from your movies like so many directors do or have done?

UB: I have the rampage suit . . . and some boxing gloves from Max Schmeling.

KH: What does the future hold for the cinema of Uwe Boll?

UB: Rampage 3 is my last movie . . . I retired now.

There was an exchange of pleasantries, and just as fast as the opportunity arose it was all over. My brief conversation with the director most loath, but some love. I happen to fall into the latter category. There will be no more Uwe Boll movies; to me that is kinda sad. There are so few people making movies just because they love making movies anymore. It all about profits and prestige. You may think that guys like Boll should never have been allowed behind the camera? But if that is the case you have missed the point; even though his films are generally considered bad, that doesn’t exclude the  fact that he didn’t set out to make them that way. His life was all about his passion, his passion was movies. Love the cinema of Uwe Boll or not, his movies are infused with the passion he had to tell these stories, despite the reaction a future audience may have. Love them or hate them, they are his. You can’t fault him for that.

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