Straight-Up Bollin’

By Jordyn Marcellus

Uwe Boll is a pretty good guy. Even though that’s a controversial statement to make–he did box a bunch of internet geeks–talking to him is a surprisingly pleasant experience.

Most people don’t respect Boll’s numerous good qualities. He takes pride in his productions. He makes his movies separate from the Hollywood system, getting money from independent financiers. People often don’t even realize something very simple: he actually loves film.

“If I didn’t [love movies], I wouldn’t make movies,” admits Boll. “A lot of people out there making movies don’t make them unless they love them. If you work on TV channels for a long time it may be different, but if you make feature films independently and you don’t love movie-making, it costs too much time, nerves and money to do that.”

For a so-called modern day Ed Wood, Boll’s favoured choices in films comprise quite a primer in cinematic history. Considering the fact that he has a PhD in literature from a university in his native Germany, people shouldn’t be surprised.

“When I was 25, I would say my number-one film was Citizen Kane and number two was A Clockwork Orange,” says Boll. “Now, it’s a little more mixed up. Apocalypse Now is my favourite right now, along with the Godfather, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull–although those first two are still some of my favourites.”

The delicious irony of Boll’s career is an unfortunate one. Ever since he’s become known as “that dude who adapts video games into film,” he’s been trapped into that awful stereotype. Most people don’t spend their time trying to look at his oeuvre outside of the films that made him infamous. Which is sad, considering that some of those previous films are actually good, like his film about school violence called Heart of America.

“I made four drama films in Germany, then I went to America and made three more before creating House of the Dead,” sighs Boll. “So, when people count my movies since House they tend to ignore the other seven films I created previously. A lot of times I even wrote the script for these pre-video game movies; the stories for these films are completely different than the video game-based movies.”

Boll is the first to admit that his video game films, which have been internationally derided, may not be the best cinematic achievements ever created. Like the video games on which they’re based, Boll admits that they’re not the most story-driven films–but that’s an inherent part of the setup in the video game itself.

“Those films are cliche-driven action movies without a deeper idea, story, or character development behind them,” explains Boll. “With those films, you get what you see. It’s more like a non-stop action, horror, or special effects film. It’s tough to tell a story in a very different way, a cool way, if you have a cliche to start with. If you have an island full of zombies, what do you really write there that can turn into a masterpiece?”

Despite these problems, he’s continuously added to both the story and characters of his films. Like a bricklayer, every new film of his adds just one more layer of plot development and character to the mix.

“With Bloodrayne, I started to put more development into the stories,” says Boll. “The plot development for In the Name of the King the characters and the script are way better than the other video games movies.”

Boll is famous for making his films in Canada. Many of his films can be called exclusively Canadian: the outdoor scenes taking place in the rustic British Columbia wilderness, with city scenes taking place in Vancouver. Filming in Canada has left an impression on him evidently, as he has now moved permanently to Canada.

“I love Canada,” says Boll. “I now live in Canada as a permanent resident. I like living in Canada as well. I have two dogs and I hate living in Los Angeles because they can’t run around. In Canada, there are a lot of parks that they can run around in.”

At the end of the day, Boll is just a misunderstood guy. People mock him too often and insult him personally, but he’s living the dream so many people can only fantasize about–making movies.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is in stores Tue., Apr. 15. Postal is out Fri., May 23 in select theatres near you.

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