German-born director Uwe Boll is a filmmaker in the grand, throwback tradition of the snake-oil showmen of the medium’s traveling circus infancy. Derided by some (okay, many), he’s made 10 genre flicks in the last eight years, challenged dissenting journalists to boxing matches and inspired an online petition to ban him from cinema. In his latest movie — a freewheeling adaptation of the videogame Postal, his first (intentional) comedy since his 1991 debut, German Fried Movie — Boll slaughters dozens of sacred cows, mocks himself by claiming his films are financed with Nazi gold, and finally commits to celluloid the scene that Mike Meyers has been too cowardly to include in any of the Austin Powers films: Verne Troyer being sexually assaulted by monkeys. For New York Magazine‘s Vulture, I spoke with Boll last week about Postal, his failed bid to box Michael Bay and why he’s exactly the right guy to direct the inevitable Grand Theft Auto movie. A sample of the conversation:
Brent Simon: Even though it takes place a very heightened and exaggerated world, Postal has a lot of radical things in it — not just of the gross-out or outrageous variety, but also, say, complicity between George Bush and Osama bin Laden. Was that a sticking point at all for Running With Scissors, the videogame’s production company, and/or potential domestic distributors of the film?
Uwe Boll: Yeah, it was. Running With Scissors in the beginning wanted only a hard rampage movie where a guy flips out, basically, a little like Falling Down meets Taxi Driver. And then I said, “I think that the videogame is cultish and funny, because you can [play as] Bush or bin Laden, and the guy lives in a trailer park with his 500-pound wife, you can use cats as silencers.” I mean, it’s totally absurd, in a way. And I felt that it was an opportunity for me to first of all make something that was funny, but secondly put also a lot of my frustration in the script. So there’s the frustration about myself, and how I get bashed in the Internet about my career and about the reviews, and I used that to put myself in the movie. Then there’s the frustration about the whole political landscape since Sept. 11, like we’re all running in between fundamentalist terror and George Bush craziness, in big danger — not only financial disasters, but who knows what will happen? When I wrote the script, we were almost on the edge of a war with Iran after the unsolved Iraq war. At this point, we all felt like if the Iranian president [says] one wrong thing, there will be the next war starting, and this will end. And at the same time, I wanted to make a comedy like some of my personal favorites, which are all a little bit older, like Naked Gun or Life of Brian, Monty Python-type of stuff. Or Blues Brothers. And I felt like this is all missing in the last few years — that everyone wants to be so politically correct, and all the Ben Stiller or Will Ferrell comedies have their moments, but overall they are all kind of clichéd, they have happy endings where families are back and weddings are the best, and it’s all about being nonpolitical or whatever. I wanted to make a ruthless movie and hit everybody with a hammer. This is what I went for.
For the full New York Magazine piece, click here. More from the interview later in the week, including Boll’s thoughts regarding the American political landscape, and his pending litigation against Billy Zane.