Uwe Boll

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Uwe Boll
Uwe Boll Dungeon Siege.jpg
Boll on the set of Dungeon Siege, at the studios in Vancouver
Born (1965-06-22) June 22, 1965 (age 49)
Wermelskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Occupation Director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1991–present
Website
www.eventfilm.us

Uwe Boll (German pronunciation: [ˈuːvə ˈbɔl]; born June 22, 1965)[1] is a German director, producer and screenwriter, whose work includes several films adapted from video games. He finances his own films through his Boll KG and Event Film Productions production companies. Many of his films are produced on low budgets.

Early life[edit]

Boll was born in Wermelskirchen. He studied at the University of Cologne and the University of Siegen, and holds a doctorate in literature.[2]

He first decided to go into the movie business at ten years old, after seeing Marlon Brando's Mutiny on the Bounty.[3]

Career[edit]

Films[edit]

Boll's first two major releases were the horror movie Blackwoods and the drama Heart of America, both of which he directed and co-wrote.

Boll is best known for loosely adapting video games into movies, having directed and produced a number of such adaptations, including House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Alone in the Dark II, BloodRayne, BloodRayne II: Deliverance,[4] BloodRayne: The Third Reich, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Postal, and Far Cry.

In the opening credits to Seed (2007), Boll used footage of animal abuse and torture he acquired from PETA to underscore the film's nihilism. He has also promised to donate 2.5 percent of his net profits from Seed to PETA.[5]

In September 2010, a trailer for Boll's film, titled Auschwitz, about the concentration camp, was posted on YouTube. The trailer, in which Boll appears as an SS gas-chamber guard, contains explicit scenes of the brutalization and killing of concentration camp inmates.[6] Boll has been quoted as saying that films such as Schindler's List "no longer had the ability to reach young people and that it was his duty as a German to make the film as a way of confronting the past."[7]

Boll is the subject of a documentary film titled Raging Boll, directed by Dan Lee West, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival in October 2010.[8]

Upcoming projects[edit]

The upcoming Italian zombie film Eaters is presented by Uwe Boll.[9] Boll will also be producing the upcoming film Zombie Massacre based on the Amiga video game by 1988 Games.[10]

In March 2012, it was announced he had created a short horror movie to add to a collective effort. His movie, inspired by Josef Fritzl, focuses on parents with a daughter locked in a room, where they can partake in immoral acts against her.[11]

Uwe Boll is also planning a fourth entry in the BloodRayne franchise in a contemporary setting involving her trying to live a normal life. Natassia Malthe is expected to return, and is expected to be loosely based on the video game Bloodrayne 2.

On August 29, 2013, Boll announced plans to produce a sequel to Postal based on achieving $500,000 from a Kickstarter campaign.[12][13] The campaign was however cancelled prematurely on October 5, 2013.

Writings[edit]

Boll has written two books, Wie man in Deutschland einen Film drehen muss (How one must make a movie in Germany) and Die Gattung Serie und ihre Genres (Genus Series and its Genres), on themes of serial television.

Financing[edit]

Boll's movies have often performed poorly at the box office in the United States. House of the Dead, which was budgeted at $12 million, made $5.73 million in its opening weekend,[14] Alone in the Dark, which was budgeted at $20 million, made $5.1 million,[15] and BloodRayne, which was made for $25 million, made $2.42 million.[16] The least profitable commercial performance of his career was In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which made barely $10 million worldwide at the box office on a $60 million budget.

Until the law was changed in 2005, Boll was able to acquire funding for his movies thanks to German tax laws that reward investments in film. The law allowed investors in German-owned films to write off 100% of their investment as a tax deduction; it also allowed them to invest borrowed money and write off any fees associated with the loan. The investor was then only required to pay taxes on the profits made by the movie; if the movie loses money, the investor would get a tax writeoff.[citation needed]

In the DVD commentary of Alone in the Dark, Boll explains how he funds his films: "Maybe you know it but it's not so easy to finance movies in total. And the reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest in a movie in Germany you get basically fifty percent back from the government."

Boll has received significant negative publicity regarding this funding method.[17]

Reception and reputation[edit]

As of May 2011, House of the Dead (for which VideoHound's "Golden Movie Retriever" described Boll as a "cinematic train wreck")[18] and Alone in the Dark appear on the Internet Movie Database's Bottom 100 films list.[19] In a review of Alone in the Dark, Rob Vaux states that the movie makes other "bad" movie directors feel better in comparison: "'It's okay,' they'll tell themselves, 'I didn't make Alone in the Dark.'"[20] Another reviewer wrote that Alone in the Dark was "so poorly built, so horribly acted and so sloppily stitched together that it's not even at the straight-to-DVD level."[21] One critic has dubbed him as the "Jonas Brothers of movie directors".[18]

Boll also made a bid to direct the upcoming World of Warcraft movie, but was turned away by the owners of the Warcraft franchise, Blizzard Entertainment who said: "We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you." Boll responded "Because it’s such a big online game suc­cess, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongo­ing income, what the com­pany has with it."[22]

Blair Erickson, a writer of a treatment for Alone in the Dark, has written a critical account of his experience working with Boll, in which Erickson alleges that Boll stole ideas from prior movies and wanted to add elements to the story that were not true to the tone of the source material. Uwe chose to not use Erickson's script, citing reasons such as it having "not enough car chases."[23]

Boll has blamed the poor theatrical performance of his early video game adaptations on his distribution company, Romar, and has filed a lawsuit against them.[24] Boll's films prior to the release of House of the Dead were more positively received. The New York Times, for instance, gave Blackwoods a positive review, although most reactions to the film have been negative.[25]

Boll received a rare "Worst Career Achievement" award at the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards on February 21, 2009 for In The Name of the King, 1968 Tunnel Rats, and Postal.[26] Boll has been nominated for Razzies three times in total.

Response to criticism[edit]

Boll does not shy away from his critics. In the Alone in the Dark DVD commentary, he responds to criticism that his adaptations make significant changes to the plot and style of the source material: "Fans are always totally flipping out and I understand that the fan of a video game has his own agenda in his head and has his ideas about what is a good movie and what is a bad movie." Referring to House of the Dead, Boll said: "I think I made a perfect House of the Dead movie, because it really shows how the game is. It's a lot of fun, it's over-the-top action."[27] Boll is especially critical of his Internet detractors. Referring to two Ain't It Cool News critics who negatively reviewed his work, Boll said, "Harry (Knowles) and Quint (Eric Vespe) are retards."[28]

Boll also criticizes the game companies themselves for not providing support to the production following the selling of the film rights. He cites the cross-promotion and support which comic book-based properties adapted for the screen receive, whereas video game companies often "sell off the license and then forget about it."[27] He argues that this is the reason video game adaptations are not well received by critics and audiences.

When Wired published a negative review of Postal, Boll responded with an e-mail claiming that the critic didn't "understand anything about movies and that you are an untalented wannabe filmmaker with no balls and no understanding what POSTAL is. You don't see courage because you are nothing. and go to your mom and fuck her ...because she cooks for you now since 30 years ..so she deserves it" [sic].[29] Boll claims that this angry email was sparked not by the review, but because the Wired editor told Boll in person that the editor loved the movie then published a negative review.[30]

Critic boxing matches (Raging Boll)[edit]

Boll made headlines by challenging his critics to "put up or shut up". In June 2006, his production company issued a press release stating that Boll would challenge his five harshest critics each to a 10-round boxing match. Invitations were also open to film directors Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary. To qualify, critics had to have written two extremely negative reviews of Boll, in print or on the Web. In 2005, footage from the fights were to be included on the DVD of his upcoming film Postal.[31] On June 20, 2006, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka stated on Something Awful that he had been invited by Boll to be the first contestant, after Kyanka reviewed Alone in the Dark.[32] The online gambling site GoldenPalace.com decided to sponsor this event, dubbing it "Raging Boll" (a play on the 1980 Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull). A lot was drawn up in late August 2006, featuring Kyanka, Rue Morgue magazine writer Chris Alexander, webmaster of Cinecutre Carlos Palencia Jimenez-Arguello, Ain't it Cool News writer Jeff Sneider, and Chance Minter, amateur boxer and website critic.[33][34] Boll fought and won against all five participants. The first match took place on September 5, 2006, in Estepona, Spain, against Carlos Palencia.[35] The others battled on September 23, 2006, at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver.[36]

After Kyanka lost his match, he would go on to make several allegations against Boll, including the fact that Boll refused to fight against Chance Minter who was an experienced amateur boxer. However, Boll fought Minter as his fourth opponent.[37] He also claimed that Boll misled them by claiming it was a PR stunt when he actually intended to fight them and that Boll claimed that the participants would get training before the match (which no one did).[38] Boll had seriously wounded Sneider, who had also believed Boll.[citation needed]

Kyanka added in a post-match interview that, "Half of us (the contenders) hadn't even seen his movies."[38] Sneider shared similar sentiments, stating "I think he's a jerk. This might be PR but I don't want to keep getting punched in the head."[39] Boll has denied these claims in an interview, stating that he gave his opponents three months to prepare. Other contestants responded less negatively. Alexander, in a Toronto Star article, recounts being invited to Boll's beach house on the following day, where Boll asked him about the reasons for his negative reviews. Alexander bluntly told Boll that his movies were "bloated, expensive and incoherent attempts at aping American genre pictures, sporting some of the most boneheaded casting choices in filmdom". He also stated that Boll was an "insane, two-fisted rogue, and a shockingly honest one at that, someone who absolutely adores film, knows its history and truly lives for what he does."[40]

Alexander referred to the event as "the weirdest pop culture bizarre journalism stunt I've ever been involved in."[39] Minter also praised what he had seen of Boll's upcoming production known as Seed.[41] Boll praised the contestants in a post fight press conference, stating "I now like the critics... Everybody who was in the ring showed guts. Nobody dived."[39]

Electronic Gaming Monthly's November 2006 edition's "The Rest of the Crap" section, written by critic Seanbaby, described Seanbaby's own involvement. Apparently Uwe was going to appear on G4's Attack of the Show! to promote this fight by sparring with one of the hosts. Seanbaby claims that, "Again, he's a matchmaking genius, because everyone on TV is 3 feet tall. If you were watching Attack of the Show during the time I cohosted, you might have noticed that I could have leaned over and eaten host Kevin Pereira." A producer of the show then asked if Seanbaby would come and spar in the host's place for the event. Seanbaby says that he trains in Muay Thai and jujutsu, stating that, "boxing is to fighting what Hungry Hungry Hippos is to fighting." When Uwe heard of this, he wanted to know Seanbaby's age, height, weight and fighting experience since he "learned he wasn't fighting a midget." Seanbaby claims he sent said information to Boll, after which Boll chose not to appear on the program.[42]

Canadian comedian Ron Sparks offered to fight Boll in Vancouver as part of the Postal publicity stunt but Boll declined due to Sparks's age and size advantage. Sparks defended Boll's decision in his MySpace blog, however, saying that because Boll was fighting several boxers back to back, and putting them in his movie, he had the right to choose any opponents willing to fight him.

Petition to retire[edit]

In April 2008, The Guardian ran an article claiming Boll had promised to retire if an online petition at PetitionOnline.com asking him to do so received 1,000,000 signatures.[43]

On May 7, 2008, the makers of Stride gum announced they would give each signer a digital coupon for a pack of gum if the petition obtained the required 1 million signatures by May 14, 2008.[44]

As of July 22, 2012, there are around 353,835 signatures.[45] In an interview with Mike Gencarelli of the Movie Mikes website on March 22, 2010, Boll stated that he would not retire, should the petition receive one million signatures, commenting:

I think no, it has been too long. If they would have made it to a million in like 2 months, then they would have had something. They even got sponsored by that gum factory. I felt like it's three years later, forget it. I also felt that people signed numerous times on the petition so it is probably only like 150,000 people that actually signed it.[46]

Response[edit]

As part of a publicity stunt for Postal, Uwe Boll released a video stating that he is "the only genius in the whole fucking [movie] business" and that other directors such as Michael Bay and Eli Roth are "fucking retards."[47] He promised that his film Postal would be "way better than all that social-critic George Clooney bullshit that you get every fucking weekend." In response to an "Anti-Uwe Boll" online petition, Boll has also expressed hopes that somebody will start a Pro-Uwe Boll petition, which he would expect to hit a million signatures. As of July 22, 2012, the pro-Uwe Boll petition with the most signatures is the Long Live Uwe Boll poll with a total of 7,631 signatures.[48]

Bay responded to the "fucking retards" comment by calling Boll "a sad being" and stated that he did not care "in the slightest" about the remark,[49] while Roth facetiously described Boll's comments as the "greatest compliment ever." Boll later noted that the comments were meant to be a generic picture over Hollywood, and that he has nothing against the people mentioned.[50]

Boll then appeared on Thursday, April 10's episode of G4's Attack of the Show, where he was interviewed regarding his controversial online retort. In the interview, he said (in regard to Michael Bay and Eli Roth responding to his criticisms) that Roth "has a sense of humor" and that Bay "has no sense of humor." He also jokingly stated that he believes that his upcoming adaptation of Postal (from the video game of the same name) could beat Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the box office.

On April 27, 2008, Boll responded to Bay's "not caring about Boll" comment. "To prove who is the better director", Boll offered to challenge Bay to a boxing match at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. If Bay accepted, the match would last for 12 rounds and would take place in September.[citation needed] In response to Boll's comments, Bay again posted a statement this time saying:

I never even heard his name till last week when he made threats and rants. The guy is a fucking idiot, making threats to me, Clooney, Eli Roth, says he has a doctorate — but uses the word 'retard' in his vocabulary, come on. When you look at his videos, what is interesting are the backgrounds. I guess his low rent offices, with 15 year old 3/4 machines, archaic computers, this is just some dumb chump trying to get some fame when he has none, so he has to make YouTube lame quality anger rants. This guy just wants attention because he can't get any for the so called movies he makes. Nothing sadder when he had his screening in LA to an over half empty movie house.[51]

Personal life[edit]

Boll currently lives in Vancouver BC, and currently holds both Canadian and German citizenship. His wife is native to Vancouver Natalie Boll [3] and he has one child with her.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Director Writer Producer
1991 German Fried Movie
NoN
NoN
NoN
1993 Barschel – Mord in Genf
NoN
NoN
NoN
1994 Amoklauf
NoN
NoN
NoN
1997 Das erste Semester
NoN
NoN
NoN
2000 Fíaskó
NoN
Sanctimony
NoN
NoN
NoN
2001 Angels Don't Sleep Here
NoN
2002 Blackwoods
NoN
NoN
Heart of America
NoN
2003 House of the Dead
NoN
NoN
2005 Alone in the Dark
NoN
NoN
BloodRayne
NoN
NoN
2006 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
NoN
NoN
2007 They Wait
NoN
BloodRayne 2: Deliverance
NoN
Postal
NoN
NoN
Seed
NoN
NoN
2008 Tunnel Rats
NoN
NoN
NoN
Alone in the Dark II
NoN
Far Cry
NoN
NoN
2009 Stoic
NoN
NoN
NoN
Rampage
NoN
NoN
NoN
Darfur
NoN
NoN
NoN
2010 Final Storm
NoN
NoN
Max Schmeling (AKA: Schmeling: Fist of the Reich)
NoN
NoN
BloodRayne: The Third Reich
NoN
NoN
2011 Auschwitz
NoN
NoN
NoN
Blubberella
NoN
NoN
NoN
In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds
NoN
NoN
2013 Zombie Massacre
NoN
Assault on Wall Street
NoN
NoN
NoN
Suddenly
NoN
2014 In the Name of the King 3: The Last Mission
NoN
Rampage 2
NoN
NoN
NoN
Upcoming films

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boll, Uwe". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 53–56. ISBN 9780824211134. 
  2. ^ Catalogue of the German National Library: Uwe Boll, Die Gattung Serie und ihre Genres, Inaugural-Dissertation, Universität Siegen, 1994
  3. ^ a b "An Interview with Uwe Boll". LoadingReadyRun. May 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  4. ^ Chris Eggertsen. "00's Retrospect: Dead on Arrival – Ten Horror Duds of the Last Decade". BloodyDisgusting. 
  5. ^ "SEED - Ein Horrorfilm, der den Tieren hilft (engl.: "A Horrorfilm that helps animals")". Peta. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  6. ^ "Who Wants to See the Trailer for Uwe Boll’s Holocaust Movie?". New York Magazine. 
  7. ^ Kate Connolly (2010-11-12). "German director's Holocaust film causes outrage". London: The Guardian. 
  8. ^ Sneider, Jeff. "Uwe Boll Documentary Set to K.O. Austin Film Festival". The Wrap. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Eaters the move official website". 
  10. ^ http://www.1988games.com/projects/zombie-massacre/ 1988 Games: Zombie Massacre
  11. ^ http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/166063-uwe-boll-contributes-to-the-profane-exhibit-first-pics
  12. ^ Welch, Chris. "Director Uwe Boll wants Kickstarter to help make 'Postal 2' because no one else will". The Verge. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  13. ^ http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1544635303/postal-2
  14. ^ "House of the Dead (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  15. ^ "Alone in the Dark (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  16. ^ "BloodRayne (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  17. ^ Wood, Stuart (2005-10-17). "Uwe Boll: Money For Nothing". Cinemablend. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  18. ^ a b Craddock, Jim, editor. VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever (Detroit, Michigan: Thomson Gale, 2007), p.416.
  19. ^ IMDb Bottom 100. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  20. ^ Rob Vaux (2005-01-28). "Alone in the Dark Review". Flipside Movie Emporium. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  21. ^ "Alone in the Dark". Eonline.com. 2005-01-28. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  22. ^ "Blizzard laugh away Uwe Boll". Movie Chronicles.com. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  23. ^ Blair Erickson (2005-02-02). "Behind the Scenes: Uwe Boll and Uwe Boll's Alone In the Dark". Something Awful. Retrieved 2006-06-13. 
  24. ^ Jesse Hiestand (2006-06-06). "Boll Sues Over BloodRayne". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  25. ^ "Blackwoods (2002): Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  26. ^ "Meyer's 'Guru' up for year's worst". Alan Duke. 2009-01-21. 
  27. ^ a b Ellie Gibson (2006-02-15). "Uwe Boll Bites Back". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2006-06-13. 
  28. ^ Patrick Klepek (2006-01-08). "Uwe Boll Talks 'BloodRayne'". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2006-06-13. 
  29. ^ Chris Kohler (2007-08-14). "You Dumb F*ck: Uwe Boll Responds To Our Postal Review". Wired. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  30. ^ Celestian Rince (2007-11-23). "'World's worst filmmaker' visits UBC". The Ubyssey Online Edition. Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  31. ^ Gareth Von Kallenbach (2006-06-12). "Uwe Boll Challenges Tarantino and his critics". sknr.net. Retrieved 2006-06-13. [dead link]
  32. ^ Richard Kyanka (2006-06-20). "Uwe Boll Wants Me Alone In the Dark". Something Awful. Retrieved 2006-06-20. 
  33. ^ Brendan Sinclair (2006-08-25). "'Raging Boll' boxing bouts set". GameSpot. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  34. ^ Jason Barbato (2006-09-17). "Getting hit with opportunity's left hook". The Frederick News-Post. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  35. ^ "Uwe Boll to Literally Fight His Critics – GoldenPalace Sponsors Filmmaker's Revenge". 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  36. ^ Baker, Chris (December 2006). "Raging Boll". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  37. ^ Carlson, Peter (2006-12-19). "Box Office: Director KO'd His Critics". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  38. ^ a b Rich „Lowtax“ Kyanka - video interview after the match. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  39. ^ a b c Jeremy Hainsworth (2006-09-25). "Maligned Director KOs His Critics". CBS News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  40. ^ Alexander, Chris (2006-10-08). "In the ring with raging Boll". Toronto Star. p. C6. 
  41. ^ Tiffany Crawford (2006-09-25). "Controversial German director beats up harshest critics in boxing ring". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  42. ^ Seanbaby (2006-10-17). "Seanbaby's The Saga of Uwe". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  43. ^ "Director promises to retire if a million people demand it.". London: The Guardian. 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  44. ^ "Stride(R) Gum Declares Its Support for StopUweBoll.org". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  45. ^ "Stop Dr. Uwe Boll petition". Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  46. ^ Gencarelli, Mike (22 March 2010). "Interview with Director, Uwe Boll". moviemikes.com. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  47. ^ Bailey, Jason. "The 30 Harshest Filmmaker-on-Filmmaker Insults in History". FlavorWire. 
  48. ^ Watercutter, Angela (April 9, 2008). "Uwe Boll Responds to Anti-Boll Petition: I'm No George Clooney". Wired News. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  49. ^ Being Called a "F*!$ing Retard" by Uwe Boll
  50. ^ RobOnt Radio – Uwe Boll Interview
  51. ^ "Uwe Bowl is at it again". Shootfortheedit.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 

External links[edit]