Last September, German director Uwe ”Raging” Boll (Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne) took to the boxing ring to kick the bejesus, mano-a-mano, out of four Internet scribes whose snarky criticisms of his oeuvre, he felt, crossed the line of good taste. Speaking of dubious taste, Boll — hailed by some as the next Ed Wood — has been accused by others of making the most sacred of properties suck: videogame adaptations.
Needless to say, EW.com was all agog over interviewing the trash-talking fisticuffian when he descended upon San Diego’s Comic-Con to promote his latest adaptation, the shock comedy Postal (better known as that movie with jokey footage of World Trade Center window washers meeting their maker on 9/11). Despite our provocations, Boll — who suggests that his spotty career might just be on an upswing — proved thoughtful, soft-spoken…even gentlemanly. Were we bummed? Well, maybe just a little.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When I think Uwe Boll, I think action-adventure. Why do a comedy?
UWE BOLL: I [thought] here’s an opportunity to do something [back] where I started. My first movie was German Fried Movie — Kentucky Fried Movie in German.
For many, Sept. 11 is still a very emotional and unfunny topic. Is that WTC footage still in the movie?
Yeah, but [execs are] still fighting to cut it out. I want to keep it in. The terrorists [in the plane] are having a big fight over who gets more virgins in eternity. So in that context it is funny. If comedy cannot be in a way insulting for some, but other people have a blast out of it, where are we? It’s freedom of speech. Borat was also for a lot of people too much. And Postal is the one movie where I actually got some good reviews already. So this is good.
If you have a sense of humor about things, why would you box your critics?
I have nothing against critics, but it must have a foundation…like the guy at least saw the movie. But after Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne, the movie reviews were so bad, that it went way over the top. They were threatening me.
What upset you in particular?
Like ”Boll should get shot” and ”He’s a Nazi” and ”His movies are crap.” And if you go on IMDB.com, my new movies that nobody saw have one [star], one-and-a-half [stars]. It’s a big Boll-bashing out there. Like, thousands of people doing this. So you feel helpless, but also angry. And you say, ”Okay, I’m tired of it. If you want to destroy me, destroy me in the ring. Meet me face to face, and let’s have a fight.” [Boll is a trained boxer.]
How did you track down your foes?
I [put out] the application and four people came up. And this was the point for me where I said, ”Okay, you had time to prepare yourself, now you’re standing in front of me — and you’re a stupid idiot, right?” There was a thousand people in the stadium in Vancouver, so I couldn’t dance around that. They wanted to see a f—in’ knockout, right? So that is what I did. I knocked the guys out. After they lost so badly, [two critics] thought, ”How can we damage Boll, so let’s do it this way: We say he promised not to hit us.” This was stupid. Since then I handle reviews better because I can ignore it better, because I don’t respect those people anymore.
Would you have fought a woman?
There was one application for a woman. I said, ”No, I cannot do.” Boxing is real. And it’s a really physically hard sport. If you do wrestling, no problem.
Why do reviews upset you that much? They haven’t prevented you from making movies.
If we would have the worst script ever, why would Ben Kingsley, Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, and everybody [be] in my movies?
Right. How do you convince them to be in your films?
A lot of actors like genre films, [and] the movies have a big production value. Always like high-end CGI, good sets, costumes. So the people know they’re not in a cheap, bad movie. This attracts actors. Worldwide distribution. In some territories it will be a flop, in some territories it will be a hit. BloodRayne was No. 1 in the box office in Russia two weeks in a row. Middle East. Thailand. Um, Spain. This is my point.
Do you ever look back at your movies and think that any of them are, you know, bad?
I would never say really bad. I saw the weakness of Alone in the Dark. But, like, House of the Dead…I did a very fast, interesting zombie movie. But it’s not a movie where a lot of passion [came from] the script [being] so great. Alone in the Dark I think is a solid sci-fi movie, but I had a problem with Tara Reid. She was maybe a little miscast.
What was the issue with Tara Reid’s performance?
She’s good in a comedy. But she couldn’t do a scary kind of movie. Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff were great and Tara Reid would be better…not in the movie. [Laughs] And so then you have a movie like BloodRayne. We got big production value and big stars in the movie: Meat Loaf, Billy Zane, Michelle Rodriguez. And so I thought this movie is really good. Then I got the same bad reviews. [Full disclosure: EW gave it an F.] I thought, like, Are they really looking at the movies anymore? Vivendi/Universal said BloodRayne was the biggest [selling] DVD last year for a movie [that made] under $5 million [at the] box office. And there’s a lot of competition in this.
You’re now in an interesting position because both these critics and your biggest supporters are here at Comic-Con. Why is this your first visit here?
I know. I don’t know why. Lionsgate did House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, and I don’t know why they didn’t send me here. I said, ”I want to go to Comic-Con.” And now with Postal, this is the first time it’s really happened.