Last year, right around this time, I had the pleasure to speak with Uwe Boll (1st interview HERE) – easily one of the most divisive and often derided, but also hardest working, filmmakers out there right now - about the release of his film Assault on Wall Street. Now, as he gears up for the release of his latest film, a follow-up to 2011’s Rampage (easily one of his highest regarded films) entitled Rampage 2: Capital Punishment, I sat down with the ever outspoken Boll again to discuss the new film, the oft-debated topic of gun control, and what the future holds for our country and his career.
Jason Howard: What made you decide to revisit the world of Bill Williamson? Did you always intend for Rampage to have a follow-up?
Uwe Boll: People liked the first Rampage and I just had a feeling the story of Bill was not finished.
JH: Bill offers up quite a bit of political commentary in the film – how much of his viewpoint is directly lifted from your own?
UB: Everything that Bill says about politics is my opinion. We all get brainwashed and we don’t live in a democracy. But, his violent solution is not necessarily the way I would change the world.
JH: Because the first film received some of the best reviews of your career, was there a pressure to deliver bigger and better with the second one?
UB: No ...but we had to deliver different and show that something happened with Bill in the two years he was hiding after the first massacre ...a real development. Brendan (Fletcher) was also not really interested in the beginning in playing Bill again, but when I presented the new story, he felt that the new movie is really NEW and not just a second part duplicating the first.
JH: The first Rampage certainly stirred up a bit of controversy due to its subject matter and the new one is sure to do the same. Do you enjoy pushing the boundaries when making your films?
UB: Yes. I think real political, radical movies are not coming from the studios and I should do them because the other filmmakers are more into art and personal stories …I love movies attacking the status quo.
JH: There’s a definite statement in the two films regarding gun control. With the type of fictional events that occur in your films becoming more and more of a reality, where do you feel we’re going wrong in the field of gun control?
UB: The only people who should get a gun license are those who go to a 2 day course learning to handle a gun, safety etc… and then they get the license AFTER the police cleared them. This is how I got my license in Canada. In general, OPEN CARRY is absurd because nobody besides cops and security people need to have a gun and especially running around in public with the gun.
JH: Do you feel that gun violence in public places seems to be becoming more rampant? Or is it just because we, as an audience, have a bit of a fascination with this type of news, so it gets reported more often?
UB: In Mexico, the drug cartel kills 30,000 people a year. In the USA, 11,000 people get shot. The availability of guns leads to more murder cases. In England, only 300 people get murdered every year. In regards to the school shootings or recently the veterans running amok, I think psychological problems, drug abuse and the availability of guns together lead to the large amount of victims...
JH: Do you feel, with bullying being a cause of many of these instances, that social media plays a big part in the problem?
UB: I think the kids of today learn from early on that money and good looks are everything, and if you don’t find both, or at least one of those ideals, you are a loser. If you have a no-name wardrobe on in school and not named brands; if you have a shitty cellphone and not an iPhone - you turn into an outsider and this is very bad... but, I still think that you have to be mentally ill to run amok. To be lonely or isolated is not enough to get a gun and start shooting everybody. Look at that example of the son of that assistant director in LA. He is a perfect example of somebody who mixed up virtual internet reality with his real life. He had an entitlement problem, together with depression, drugs and the availability of guns. Any weapon store who sold the guns to him should get fined because you could see in his face that this guy is not normal.
JH: What do you see as a possible solution?
UB: Better schools and family life. Less shopping and spending money. More outdoor playing for kids and strict gun rules.
JH: Rampage 2 certainly also makes a statement about the news media’s involvement in a lot of these actions. Do you feel their glamorization of real-life violence and willingness to put being first to report things above actually being factual, contributes to the problem as a whole?
UB: TV wants good ratings, and so the downward spiral starts. The programs get more stupid by the minute. It makes it cooler and easier to be connected to half criminals because we see them as stars in reality TV. Look at The Bachelor or the Housewife shows - a bunch of stupid wannabes and yet young adults love them as their role-models. In those shows, it always looks that money is just there and nobody has to work for a living. Spoiled retards like Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus should not be the heroes of our kids.
JH: You also recently made the third film in the In The Name of the King series. Do you enjoy doing those types of pieces as much as you do your more personal films, or are they more of a means to finance the films you’d really like to make?
UB: This movie makes other movies happen. Of course, I’m more interested in my political movies like Assault on Wall Street, Darfur, Rampage, Stoic, etc…
JH: The current era of your career has been loaded with films that make a powerful statement about some rather tough and important issues. Do you think that, because of the audiences that come with films, filmmakers should have a bigger responsibility to be more topical?
UB: I don’t think films have an automatic built-in audience. Only big franchises and remakes have a built-in audience. It is so much harder to get an audience with political movies. I think most filmmakers are like actors - basically whores who sit there and wait till they can get paid to just direct or act.
JH: Because you are tackling more complex issues lately, do you find that your years of experience makes it easier? Maybe not having to worry as much about the technical side of things opens the process up to focus on the issues?
UB: Absolutely. Me and my DP, Mathias, can structure a full movie shoot on one dog walk. We don’t have to talk anymore about set ups and we shoot very fast. I’m also very happy with that more modern handheld documentary approach and the Red Epic or Alexa Cameras. Digital now is looking so good and so much faster to shoot with than 35mm. I’ve made over 30 movies - a lot with action and CGI. If I read a script, I know how long it will take me to shoot it.
JH: On the opposite end of the spectrum, several of your films, including Postal and Blubberella, are played more for laughs and are quite a bit of fun. As a director, does your approach differ when working on films along those lines?
UB: Postal was my favorite shoot of all time, and I love the movie from A to Z. Blubberella, I think, is 50% funny and 50% a total disaster which makes it maybe also funny. But, Postal is well written and perfectly acted. Blubberella is trash. But, of course it is a lot of fun to make a comedy...
JH: I don’t know – I’d probably put Blubberella at a 42/58 funny-to-disaster split… Lastly, you seem to always be working – can you give us an idea of what films might be coming up next for you?
UB: Coming up, I have a Viking movie, a great thriller called 12 Hours and I want to finish the Rampage story with Rampage 3…
And, there it is. Whether you love his movies, or you saw Alone in the Dark and wanted to step into the boxing ring with him (an actual possibility), there’s no denying that Uwe Boll is one of the most prolific filmmakers around. Heck, during the time it took you to read this interview, he wrapped up production on another three flicks that you’re going to complain about in a couple of months. The moral? Every time you sit down to read, a sequel to In the Name of the King is made. Do you see what you’ve done? But, the reality is that Boll also happens to be one of the most passionate filmmakers I’ve ever had the opportunity to speak to and, whether you like the end result or not, many of his films tackle subjects that others would be unwilling to touch. He does what he wants with what he loves – isn’t that something we’d all like to say? Make sure to check out Rampage 2: Capital Punishment when it’s released on DVD and VOD in the U.S. on August 19, 2014, followed by a Canadian release on October 21 (hey, don’t feel bad Canadians – we get Uwe Boll movies quicker, but you guys get the whole Universal Health Care thing, so let’s call it even. Canado-American war has been averted once again).