By John Gaudiosi
The year 2008 is going to be a very busy year for controversial film director Uwe Boll, who has a legion of detractors in the gamin community after films like Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne and House of the Dead. The prolific filmmaker, who independently finances every one of his movies, has a slate of movies in the can. He talks about what the coming year brings in this exclusive interview.
First up for Boll is his $US 60 million fantasy epic, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. The movie, which stars Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Perlman, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard and Burt Reynolds, will open on 2,500 screens across North America on January 11–making it Boll’s biggest film release yet.
“In the Name of the King is tracking well,” said Boll. “Eighty percent of the TV spots for the film will begin January 1. The film opened in Germany and other foreign territories already and remained in the Top 10 for the first three weeks in every territory.
Boll concedes that In the Name of the King is by far the best movie he’s ever made with the best cast and the best script he’s ever worked with.
“I already have the director’s cut DVD version in my head, which will be much longer and have more character development,” said Boll. “The theatrical release is really action-driven, which works for the big screen. It’s already 2 hours and 10 minutes long. The director’s cut will be a much better movie.”
Other than the character of Farmer and the krugs, Boll admits that he took almost nothing from the Dungeon Siege videogame, although he worked closely with the game’s developer, Gas Powered Games, which had a representative on set while filming in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“The very beginning of the film has Farmer tending to his crops, but that’s about it from the game,” said Boll. “The Dungeon Siege game didn’t have a real story. Chris Taylor at Gas Powered Games likes the movie and they’re really behind the film. I think gamers will be happy with this film even if it’s not really based on the game’s story at all. It’s a good fantasy film. I’m just happy to get it out on 2,500 screens. I don’t think it will be a disaster like BloodRayne was.”
Boll has partnered with FreeStyle Releasing for this film, the same distribution company that released Captivity and The Illusionist. For BloodRayne, Boll partnered with a start-up called Romar, which he later sued. The company failed to book the movie on the appropriate number of screens and film prints were mailed to theaters that never showed the movie. BloodRayne, which was a hit on DVD and spawned a straight-to-DVD sequel, which has also sold well, was a complete box office bomb.
Next up for Boll is Postal, his political comedy very loosely based on Running with Scissors’ controversial first-person shooter. Boll said Postal will hit theaters in May or June 2008.
“We’re going to go up against one big event movie like an Indiana Jones 4 or a Prince Caspian,” said Boll. “I think we’ll get more press and have a better chance against one big movie than six smaller movies the same weekend. It will be like David versus Goliath.”
The $15 million film will open on 1,500 to 2,000 screens and unlike In the Name of the King, which will not be screened for press, Boll will be showing Postal to everyone in the media beginning in February. Boll wrote, directed, produced and actually stars as himself in this movie. Zack Ward stars in the film.
“My new PR agency, 42nd Street Public Relations, is working on getting me on talk shows and mainstream media and political shows,” said Boll, who will be featured in the February issue of GQ Magazine. “They’re going to try to get me on ‘Larry King Live.'”
Also hitting theaters in 2008 from Boll are a pair of original, non-gaming movies. 1968: Tunnel Rats will open in late summer/early fall, but will be shown in film festivals like Tribeca and Berlin earlier. Boll said Universal Music has given him a complete soundtrack of hit songs from 1968 for his Vietnam war movie, which will be released as an art house film. A videogame based on the film will ship in tandem for Xbox 360 and PC.
Horror fans will be able to see the NC-17 rated Seed at the Fangoria Convention January 18. The 1970s movie, which stars Michael Pare as a man hunting down a released serial killer, will be rolled out in a limited release.
“We’re doing 100 prints of the film and will move those from territory to territory across the country,” said Boll. “The film’s rated NC-17 and it’s too hard for normal film audiences. There’s a four-minute-long scene where a woman is killed with a hammer and it’s one of the most gruesome scenes ever filmed.”
Those who couldn’t get enough of Alone in the Dark will be able to check out the straight-to-DVD sequel, which doesn’t feature anyone from the original or tie into the original in any way. The DVD will be released in March or April of 2008.
As for Far Cry, which is being finished up now, Boll said because 2008 is so crowded with movies, he may hold that theatrical release until 2009, which should have more openings with the Hollywood writers’ strike. Boll said he will likely film only one movie in 2008, but hopes to film at least two in 2009. The tentative plan is to film videogame adaptations of Sabotage and BloodRayne 3 (which will follow the World War II Nazi premise of the first game) in Croatia back-to-back.
Gamers will have plenty of new Boll films to talk about for the coming years.