Derided by some (okay, many), German-born director Uwe Boll has made ten movies in the last eight years, challenged critics to boxing matches, and inspired an online petition to ban him from cinema for eternity. In his latest movie, a freewheeling adaptation of the video game Postal (out next Friday) — 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: one in which Verne Troyer is sexually assaulted by monkeys. Boll spoke with Vulture about the film, his failed bid to box Michael Bay, and why he's exactly the right guy to direct the inevitable Grand Theft Auto movie.
Even though it takes place in an obviously exaggerated world, Postal has lots of radical elements — for example, the complicity between George Bush and Osama bin Laden. Was that a sticking point with the producers and distributors on the film?
Yeah, it was. [The production company] 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 video game is cultish and funny, because you can [play as] Bush or bin Laden, the guy lives in a trailer park with his 500-pound wife, and 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.
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.
You also managed to get Verne Troyer into a suitcase.
[Laughs] Yeah, he was scared, to be honest. He said, “Don't close the suitcase completely, please.” And we said, “Look, it will be quick,” and then we promised him we wouldn’t but then we closed it anyway. But we opened it right away.
And was he upset?
A little, but then he was okay. There's another scene in which he was in real, live danger — not the one with the monkeys — where they throw him from a stage during a shoot-out. If the second guy didn’t catch him, he would have fallen straight down to the ground from that height. This would be, for him, the end. He would be dead. So I'm happy that this scene worked out.
Nearly all your movies are based on video games. What would you do with, say, Grand Theft Auto?
Grand Theft Auto would be super interesting for me, and I think I would actually be the right guy to do it, because my movies are all bloody and violent and I don't have a problem with action scenes. But look, they will go, in the end, with a Michael Bay or a Brett Ratner, and it will be a PG-13 movie made for $150 million. I think it would be better to make a $30 million, very hard, brutal movie without compromising, but I'm not optimistic.
You mentioned Michael Bay — do you think he'll take you up on your boxing challenge?
His attorney wrote me that he’s not going to do it now. And I have to face, like, legal consequences if I say anymore that he will do it. But I got an e-mail first from his … fan club, I guess? They said he will do it, he’s going to kick your ass, and that was the reason I said the fight was on. But the reality is that it’s not going to happen.
Most of the people who signed the petition to get you to retire weren't necessarily film fans but video-game fans upset that you'd ruined their favorite games. Would you ever challenge some of them to a fight?
I think right in the Internet world there is a more interesting strategy I could go with. I have the rights to [Wii game] Zombie Massacre, and maybe we should do that movie with all the gamers and Boll haters, and people who signed that petition anti-Boll, or pro-Boll, we all meet in a big, small city — somewhere in the Midwest. And we all shoot Zombie Massacre together; they all play zombies, and they're there and can give me advice if they think they can do it better than me. So as long as we keep shooting something and we do that as a big convention type of thing and then they have all the opportunity to show me how they would do it different, and we have maybe 10,000 zombies running around, I think this could be a good idea for 2009 or 2010 — to do something that maybe nobody has done before, and to have all the people coming together and ripping each other apart on the field, like the pro-Boll and anti-Boll zombies.
That is the money-saving idea of a true showman.
Exactly. I could have the biggest movie ever, basically for free! Because they would definitely all be there. —Brent Simon