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Waffling With... director UWE BOLL

TMW chatted to the controversial German filmmaker about his colourful career, his latest movie Rampage 3, fascism and fighting Michael Bay.

Interview by Eric Hillis




What's your earliest movie memory?

Watching Godzilla  in a movie theater, one of the old versions from Japan. I loved it and the next day told the story to everybody …..

At what point did you realise you wanted to become a filmmaker?

It was when i was 10 and watched Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando on TV. 

You work primarily in a style of filmmaking associated more with America than Europe. As a German, do you feel you bring a different eye to these films than American directors?

Yes and no. My recent movies of the last five years are more political and more like the movies i shot in Germany when i started making movie, like German Fried Movie and Barschel: A Murder in Geneva. The video game based movies were more america genre style.   

Since the the heyday of filmmakers like Herzog and Wenders, German cinema has rarely broken out internationally. Given it's Western Europe's largest nation, why do you think German cinema struggles to compete with the rest of Europe?

The problem is that in Germany TV rules. Also the subsidy system; they give only money for PG 13 comedies and dramas and those movies work only in Germany. Here and there we have a few very good German films translating to other countries like The Lives of Others, but overall from 100 German movies per year only five get sold internationally.

You've worked with some very big stars. Are there any who left a particularly good impression?

I never had huge problems with any actor, even more complicated characters like Stephen Dorff, Ray Liotta or Michael Madsen worked very well with me. It was a pleasure to work with Dominic Purcell, Michael Pare, Clint Howard, Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, JK Simmons, Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater…


You've adapted several video games into movies. Is gaming something you have a personal interest in?

Not really. When I got House of the Dead I jumped on it because we got the financing in place easily. Then it was a success and we got more money to make all those movies like Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, Postal and  Far Cry.

House of the Dead was released in 2003 when the zombie genre was stagnant, yet a year later Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake kicked off a revival of the genre that continues today with The Walking Dead the most watched show on US TV. Do you feel you were ahead of the curve?

A little yes. But even more with my 1991 movie German Fried Movie. If you watch it you will see the main ideas of Jackass and other TV shows. Also Postal was way ahead.

You drew much criticism for your Holocaust drama Auschwitz. Do you think you were misunderstood and perhaps treated with a double standard because of your nationality?

I think my movie is the only movie actually showing what the holocaust was. Soon the DVD will be out from Olive Films in the USA - watch it! 50% of the people arriving at Auschwitz were dead within 24 hours. That is what I focused on, the machine of killing. What are humans capable of?
My aunt had a Mein Kampf book from Hitler personally signed for her on her bookshellf till she died three years ago.  She was a very nice person to all of us. I know a lot about the third reich first hand, and that reflects in my movie.  My one grandpa was a Hitler supporter, the other was a socialist who hated the Nazis. My parents were only 12 at the end of the war. My two uncles survived Stalingrad. They were five years in Russia and walked home. They had no clue about the holocaust, they were fighting against the Russians and they were drafted. 
When Hitler came into power he had only 38% of the votes. Everybody can turn into somebody who turns the gas on, that is the reality. Humans are not good, they are neutral, and you can turn them in any direction with propaganda. Look at ISIS! They have people cutting heads off other people and those same people lived and grew up in USA, Canada or Europe around us.

In 2006 you famously fought five of your harshest critics in a boxing ring. How did it get to that point?

The reviews for Bloodrayne were the same as for Alone in the Dark and the hate wave was too big, so i wanted to strike back. And I did! (Boll successfully beat all five critics)

You challenged Michael Bay to a boxing match in 2008. Does that offer still stand?

Of course! Any time! 

In the past, online petitions have drawn hundreds of thousands of signatures in an appeal for you to stop making movies. Why do you think your work upsets people to such a degree?

That was at the peak of the video game based movies i did, and my boxing challenge.

Do you consider yourself an auteur? If so, what are the distinguishing features of an Uwe Boll film?

I'm a real filmmaker, I'm a writer, producer, director. I never had anybody helping me , producing for me. I had to do everything on my own, the hard way. But in my case it worked because i can grind and I’m extremely disciplined.


You're currently raising money through Kickstarter for the third installment of the Rampage series. Why do you think this series, and the similarly themed Assault on Wall Street, has struck a chord with audiences?

I think the message of those movies are hitting a nerve and those movies are more concrete and clearly against the rich and the right wing lobbyists. Those movies are not paid for by companies who are in bed with the 0,1%.

Your Kickstarter target is just $50,000. Can you really make a movie for such a low amount?

No, we have already a few hundred thousand dollars in sales. The movie will costs maybe a million. I want to raise only the last bit on kickstarter.

What incentives are you offering backers of the project?

Tons! Of course DVDs etc, but also the Rampage costume, a set visit, dinners with me and the cast, premiere tickets! (more info at www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063316815/rampage-3-no-mercy)

What can you tell us about the plot of Rampage 3?

He will do what he said in part 2: rip Washington apart!



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