Love makes you feel strange and out of character. This happened to me when I met the famed Uwe Boll. For the past few years, I’ve had a lot of fun on the ‘net with all the Boll bashing. Well, bashing might not be the right word. Those gamers who truly revile him for destroying their beloved games, I don’t necessarily associate with (I’m sure some of you JPP readers are them, right?), but for a while I totally dug the whole Boll sensation with people genuinely loving his movies as unintentional comedies. I’ve known people who bought House of the Dead and watched it over and over, to laugh at how bad it is.
Me? I’ve done that twice.
I’ve admired Uwe in the past for his lasting power and how he continues to make projects even though none of them made any money, a fact that he made fun of in Postal when he appeared as himself; but I’ve always assumed him to be this maniac German filmmaker, forever immortalized by his hilarious DVD commentaries—which has become a strange cult hit—and his decision to punch his critics when he invited them to the Postal set for boxing matches. Kevin Smith put his frustration for Internet trolls on a movie in Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back. Uwe Boll literally stepped into a ring with them. He’s also fearless in saying whatever he feels like, which led to him infamously comparing his movies to great classics and blaming Tara Reid for Alone in the Dark (which I have not seen, by the way). From behind this computer, is there any other way to assume other than that he’s freakin’ crazy? So of course, when the opportunity came to meet the man, I could not have missed it.
Now I’ve met him, and he is more fascinating than I had hoped. The conversation, by nature of the movie’s content, had to go political at some point. Postal is a collection of button-pushing and ear-burning that could make a prude out of a liberal. Its humor is relentless in the style of South Park, and so it’s no surprise when Uwe told me that Matt Stone and Trey Parker had seen and loved the film (director Guy Ritchie also loved it and had bought the UK distribution rights).
Yet I was struck by how much Uwe had to say about the current political situation in our world, and clearly I was not prepared for it, mental-wise and equipment-wise. I was scheduled to talk to Uwe Boll, Zack Ward (A Christmas Story, Transformers) and Larry Thomas (Seinfeld's Soup Nazi) for 15 minutes, but ended up chatting for over half an hour as both Uwe Boll and star Zack were so passionate talking about their political beliefs. I was listening so intently that I only realized after the interview was over that my recorder crapped out at the 23 minute mark. My first blunder as an interviewer to date.
Just so you know, what happened after was that when Uwe was criticizing Al Gore for making a movie now when he and Clinton never ratified the Kyoto protocol, Zack Ward asked me if I knew what the Kyoto protocol was. I told him that I knew of it but not much about it (which is true, I’ve never been big on environmental politics), and Zack mused at how pathetic that fact is, blaming it on the media for not making that as big of a headline as Lindsay Lohan getting drunk. At which point, he and Boll went into a long diatribe about what a big war criminal Bush is, about conservative theater chains, armchair anarchists who criticize Boll when they sit at home and do nothing, and educating me on various foreign policies and emission trading, with the tone of bitter and angry public speakers.
I was being schooled by Dr. Boll and Scut Farkus. And I loved it.
JPP: How was Comic Con?
Zack: Comic Con was awesome, dude. Did you see the Iron Man suit?
JPP: Yeah, I did.
Zack: It was sick! It was so cool. I loved the design. It was really cool.
Uwe: Who’s the—is it Robert Downey Jr.?
Zack: Yeah, and I don’t know if you know the original comic book, but Tony Stark is like this playboy who’s actually an alcoholic. And if anybody knows how to play both sides of that, Robert Downey’s got a good look for it, but I like the fact that they actually went to that level of acting. My buddy actually wrote that movie. Hawk Ostby, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Children of Men. Did you see that? I loved that movie.
Uwe: Children of Men? Oh, yeah, I love it.
Zack: I couldn’t believe that The Departed won. I was so pissed. My favorite part of The Departed was when Leonardo DiCaprio got shot in the face. That made me so f-ckin happy. Nothing personal.
JPP: What was the thought process that went into making a controversial movie like Postal?
Zack: Well, Uwe and Brian [Knight, co-writer] wrote it, and I think he kinda lashed out and put his politics into it, and he’s a very political and intelligent man; and he got an opportunity to be funny, and when you wanna belittle something like George Bush— make fun of him. He wrote the script and then he hired a brilliantly talented red haired actor. [Laughs]
Uwe: No, I agree. It was kind of a situation where you are, like, I couldn’t sink deeper after Bloodrayne bombed. I saw Bloodrayne as better than Alone in the Dark or House of the Dead, and then we didn’t even got the screens, and it only made like 2.5 million at the box office in total. So I was sitting there, like, “Okay, so now I give really a shit,” and I write a movie what I think really is funny and what I think should be told. I didn’t only want to make a comedy. I wanted to make something with impact. A commentary to everything that is pissing me off, including myself and the whole “ruining video games and financing movies with Nazi gold.” I think it was necessary to really do something with a big hammer and not [just] like, slightly satire or putting a little satire [into it]. Postal is not talking around the stuff. It’s really like the fist in the stuff.
JPP: Would you say it’s kind of like your anger management therapy?
Uwe: Absolutely. It was like, the only way to compensate all this. I think it was time for a movie like this, but also a time for me to go back. I wrote all my first movies, all the German movies, and then Sanctimony, Blackwoods and Heart of America, I wrote the treatments, I had the idea for the story for the movie; and on House of the Dead starting, I started making movies out of other scripts—where I didn’t have the idea, where I didn’t write the script—from this point on, I got all the bad reviews, I got all the internet backlash, I got all, like, bashed. So after the Bloodrayne disaster, I thought so now it’s over. So f-ck that sh-t. Now if I get bad reviews then it’s for something I’m behind. I really say something and this is the way I went with it.
JPP: Did you have to make any cuts because you thought you were going too far?
Uwe: I don’t think the 20 minute-longer [Unrated DVD] version is more offensive. It was only like, more stand-up comedy stuff dragged out.
JPP: Was there no MPAA pressure at all?
Uwe: The pressure is still there. That is the problem. The New York Post sued us. The MPAA wants to remove the website.
JPP: I noticed that. The website is gone now...
Uwe: The NY Post, they hate the movie, right? So they went to the provider and threatened the guys with a lawsuit, so the provider switched the website off. And I tried to get the website back on now because I said, “Look—How can you switch a website off without a judgment?” Only because somebody said, switch the website off or we sue Boll, or we are suing him right now. I think this is ridiculous, and I have to find now my attorney now [to] make clear to the provider, “You have to put the website back on.” They could not do this normally, and The NY Post went to the MPAA and threatened the MPAA, and the MPAA looked at the website and they said also, “Oh, this is all not green banner [Trailers released online must have the MPAA issued All Ages green band, as red band trailers are not allowed without identity verification]. This is all available for all audiences.” Because we had a few of the Postal trailer, the Osama statements, where he said that Dick Cheney f-cked Condoleezza Rice... [Laughs] And this kind of stuff, and the MPAA looked at all this stuff and said, “This is not allowed. We will not allow the whole movie if you don’t change that website.”
JPP: Larry, what are your thoughts acting in this movie? And you’re playing a figure like Osama bin Laden, which is pretty much the hotbed of the movie itself?
Larry: Yeah, well I have to have two views on it, because comedic-ly, this is my artistic pleasure, you know? Whenever I do something and someone thinks it’s really cool, I have to love that. On the other hand, not a day went by on the set when somebody didn’t say, “Aren’t you worried for your life when this movie gets released?” I’m going, “Yeah. I’m actually thinking about it.” Though the controversy of it is one thing—it does frighten me a little bit to think that this movie will come out and some crazy guys would wanna shoot me, you know? But on the other hand, ever since the minute we started it I loved every minute of everything we’ve did.
JPP: And it’s fantastic too the way you play Osama as this seemingly American guy…
Larry: And that was [Uwe’s] idea. I hadn’t thought of that when I first saw the Osama material. I hadn’t thought of that. When he said it [to play it that way], I just thought, “That’s fantastic!”
Uwe: About this thing that you are worried where there’s a fanatic, whatever… I thought about it, right? And for a moment you are worried. Now I’m absolutely not worried anymore. Look, I’m from Germany, right? And if you had this Nazi time in Germany—first of all I had nothing to do with f-cking Nazis, I’m born 1965, and I hate it as a German you always have to excuse yourself for the whole Nazi time. This was not my fault! Sorry! It’s totally absurd. It’s like now you go to an American and you say, “Look, you killed all the natives!”
Zack: Yeah! Right, right.
Uwe: “You brought the slaves over from Africa, you asshole!” Like, it’s completely absurd, so I had nothing to do with it. But if I were to say to my grandma, “Why you didn’t try to kill Hitler, this f-cking criminal?” And then I pussy out to say now what I think? Because I wanna smooch the MPAA or I wanna have my video tape in Wal-Mart? I think we are all together, how we live, we are all real pussies. We have all that self-censorship in our head, we all pussy out on a regular daily basis to say what we really think, to say what we really feel, and to make a stand.