Are we done hating director Uwe Boll yet? Despite a spat of truly awful genre fare back in the early 2000s, the notorious German filmmaker has been on quite a role lately, delivering some of the best movies of his career. He's finally making what he really wants to make, and some of those films, like Rampage and Assault on Wall Street are truly inspired personal works that highlight his strengths as a visionary and storyteller. He has a distinct voice, and when the material fits, he's quite adept at bringing a powerful message to the screen.
This good work has leaked into his latest offering, despite it being a franchise sequel to one of his earlier groaners. 2009's In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale might not have registered very high with critics, but it truly capture the imagination of video game fans everywhere, and proved to be a substantial global hit. Now, we're at In The Name of The King 3: The Last Mission, and Uwe is twisting the narrative to keep things fresh, fans on their toes, and to also squeeze in some of his own current thoughts and feelings on the political state of the world. The movie follows a modern day hitman who finds himself trapped in medieval times, where he must rise up as a savior.
The movie once again pairs Uwe Boll with Dominic Purcell. The duo made one of Uwe's best thrillers to date, Assault on Wall Street. And together, they have a certain kind of chemistry that shines above the material, bringing a sequel that is truly the best entry in this franchise yet. But with more personal projects on the horizon, why does Boll keep returning to what might be considered an easy buck?
We find that out in our exclusive interview with the German madman of cinema, who is his usual candid self. Read on for our conversation, which touches base on why he continues to make franchise video game movies, how he got his beloved pet dog Daisy out of Romania, and the fate of one lonesome girl known around these parts as Blubarella.
Here's what he had to say:
Why have you decided to make a third In the Name of the King? Why keep going back to this franchise? What appeals to you about it personally?
Uwe Boll: Personally? It's the only one we can do where we actually get financing together. I was also ready to do BloodRayne 4, but they didn't want more movies. The video game company. That's the reason why I stopped doing BloodRayne. Which was a shame, because I wanted to do a contemporary BloodRayne. In The Name of The King is doing very well in a lot of countries. I like making movies. The procedure of shooting a movie is what I really, really like. If I can finance a movie because it's an established franchise, then I get to keep doing it. So, that is your answer.
Now, am I supposed to believe the title? Is this really the last mission? Or if they say, 'Hey, Uwe, we need a couple more of these...', are you going to jump on it?
Uwe Boll: Absolutely. We would absolutely do Part 4. If this is the second to the last mission, I don't care. (Laughs) I mean, its fun to make these movies, especially this time with Dominic Purcell. It was so much better than with Dolph Lundgren in the second part. He is not only a trooper, but he is a good friend, and he is physically really strong. So he can really run. Everything that Dolph Lundgren couldn't do in the second part. From this point of view, I would always try to get Dominic Purcell. Especially if we did a Part 4.
One of my favorite movies that you directed is Assault on Wall Street, with Dominic. You two must have really hit it off on that movie. And you guys worked so well together there...
Uwe Boll: Yeah, this is the reason why I asked him to shoot this movie. Assault on Wall Street was a super good experience for him and for me. That really matters when you are doing these kinds of movies. I asked him to do In The Name of The King 3: The Last Mission, and he told me he really hates these kinds of dragon movies. Even if he did that other one. He said he wasn't really interested in it. But then he said he liked working with me so much, he would do it. That's why we did this movie, also, together. You are right about Assault on Wall Street. That was the perfect opportunity for Dominic Purcell to show that he is a character actor. He isn't only an action guy. He can really carry a movie and a serious character.
(A very loud dog barks in the background...)
What kind of dog is that?
Uwe Boll: This is Daisy. I picked her up from BloodRayne in Romania. We picked her up off the streets when she was a puppy. Now she is eight years old. She looks like a Husky with short hair. And she always barks, when anything is happening around her.
I've been on a couple of movie sets in Romania. Its incredibly hard not to pick up one of those stray dogs. I didn't think you were supposed to take those dogs out of the country. Obviously you did.
Uwe Boll: Yes! Me and Kristanna Loken. She has a dog that she got from there that is still alive. And our producer took a dog, he named it after the forest near the studios. And Michael Madsen. I know he took a dog. That poor dog. I think that dog would have been better on the streets in Romania. What you do is you go to the vet, and they give you a book that says the dog got all its shots. And they do that for $24 through animal control. Then, if you have the documents, they will let you travel. They won't let you travel with the dog right away. You have to wait a week. If you pick up a dog, and you automatically say you want to leave the country, then the other countries, wherever you go, Canada, Germany, the U.S., they will not take the dog. They will be scared of disease or something. But you can take the dog if you show that it got all of its shots and everything.
What you just said about Michael Madsen made me laugh so hard...
Uwe Boll: (Laughs) I forgot. He said, 'Oh, no, no, no, I'll get a dog out of the country.' I said, 'No! Don't do it! Please leave that dog on the street.' But I think he got one of the dogs out. I didn't witness it. I hope the dog got some dog walks in Los Angeles. I hope the dog isn't just sitting in the house for three weeks while he's gone on a shoot or something. I think with him anything is possible.
Now, going back to BloodRayne for a moment. You said you wanted to make a modern version of BloodRayne. You kind of did that here, with In the Name of the King 3.
Uwe Boll: In a way, in the end, when the dragon comes with him back to modern times, it looks like how you would do this in the modern times. If you did it all in modern times. But I like to go back to the medieval times. And maybe for the 4th one, we can go all the way back to the Vikings, and do something really different. I would like to do a different type of movie, like Valhalla Rising style. Just bring the whole franchise in a different direction. This is a good thing, that I don't have to do the same thing over and over again. In some of the franchises, they stick with the one time where everything is playing. With both BloodRayne and In The Name of The King 3: The Last Mission, I moved genres on them. In one of the BloodRaynes we went to the Wild, Wild West, we went to the second world war. We don't really care that we have to do every single movie the same. That would be boring.
So, do you have more artistic freedom on these lower budget movies?
Uwe Boll: (Laughs) This is a good thing. The bad thing for me is that I always have to finance these movies on my own. The good thing is that, if you are your own sales company, then it's actually a freedom to move the story in a certain direction, and no one really stops you. I think this is the freedom I have worked hard to come to at this point. I know it's a smaller budget, but I have it all under control. I can do it all the way that I want to do it.
You're making Rampage 2. I always see Rampage in the most popular queue on Netflix. It keeps gaining a cult audience. Now you are making a sequel, but it seems like you are revisiting some of the themes and ideas that we saw in your Wall Street movie. Is it important for you to have that type of movie sort of as a parallel to a fantasy movie like In the Name of the King?
Uwe Boll: Yeah, absolutely. I'm a very political person. The subject matter that we shot on Assault on Wall Street, its not really solved. Things get done, but nothing has been solved. I'm one of the only persons, not the only one, but I'm disappointed in the Obama presidency and what he promised five years ago, to where we are right now. And then there's the stuff with Snowden and the NSA scandal that has pushed me forward, to think, like, no...I want to make Rampage 2. With the same character and a lot of action. But I want to have a very gritty political agenda also. I want that it is a follow-up to Assault on Wall Street in a way. We put our finger in the room of what's going on. This character points it out, this character in Rampage 2. He is like the opposite of the character in Assault on Wall Street. Where that guy is deeply hurt. He is emotional. He is devastated. Here, the guy in Rampage 2 is in control of everything. He determines who survives or not. They could survive in the same scene, but they have totally different motives behind it.
Its an interesting time. You say you are one of the few disappointed in Obama, but I don't think that's true. I think there is a tide turning, and people are more interested in hearing the ideas and opinions expressed in a movie like Rampage 2 or Assault on Wall Street. People are starting to grow really hungry for this stuff. Five years ago, maybe they wouldn't have been interested in it. It feels like you are on the cusp of something important. We need artists like you out in the world, making these types of movies, no matter how some people feel about you're earlier movies. It's true that you've grown exponentially.
Uwe Boll: Oh, totally...You know, I just watched this movie on the plane, The Fifth Estate about Julian Assange, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing him. It totally tanked. You cannot make political movies with all talk. To reach an audience, you need some action. That is the reason I make movies like Rampage or Assault on Wall Street. They are like action movies, they are being sold as action movies. But the political critiscm in them, the things I do there, is very harsh. I'm a very harsh critic on the subject matter. I think its better to do it in an action movie. Just look at that Julian Assange movie. If you are not on that case, if you haven't read up on it, it's boring. There is too much stuff, and its overwhelming information. For me, I enjoyed watching it because I know everything about it. But I can only imagine the other people, a normal audience, they just don't want to see it.
I only have time for one more question. Rampage is so popular now on Netflix. But another movie of yours is available for streaming, and it's faced a lot of controversy. Blubberella. What are your feelings on that movie a couple of years removed, and will we ever see a sequel? Do we get Blubarella 2?
Uwe Boll: (Laughs) I would do Postal 2. I want to revisit Postal. And I would hire Lindsay Hollister for that sequel. But I don't want to do Blubberella 2. The thing is, I know Blubberella would have been a lot better if we had time to do it. But we shot it parallel to Bloodrayne: The Third Reich. I think, in Blubberella, 40 minutes are really, really funny. And really trashy. But the other 40 minutes are like...'Fuuuck! Why didn't they give me enough time to do it properly?' I think we could have worked it a little better. And I think this is one of the reasons Lindsay Hollister was a little disappointed. Because she was sitting in her costume on set, in her trailer, waiting, and we would bring her out to shoot her scenes. But I had to focus on Bloodrayne: The Third Reich. And that turned out to be a complicated shoot. It was 85% Bloodrayne: The Third Reich and only 15% Blubberella. This was unfair for Blubarella. To retackle a sequel, it needs to be properly done.
And Lindsay has lost a lot of weight since she shot Blubarella...
Uwe Boll: Okay, this is bad!