October 15th, 2007 by Russ
[fa:p:id=1570629209,j=r,s=s,l=i]MICHELLE WILLIAMS: You are here with your movie Postal. Tell us a little bit about it.
UWE BOLL: Well the movie is based on the video game Postal. It’s a crazy comedy basically about a loser who lives in a trailer park and his wife is 500 pounds. He needs a job and he has a very bad day. And at the same time we have Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, everybody comes together in the small town basically and the whole history of the world will maybe end at this day.
MW: You wrote this movie also. You get a lot of your ideas from video games. How do you build such a straight narrative off of a video game? How does that work?
UB: Especially in Postal, you have such a great set up: this guy has to go out of his trailer on basically the day the world is ending because he needs a job. In the game you can play totally nonviolent if you want. So you can go into the office and wait in the room for six hours and trying and get your work that way. Or you go and you shoot everybody and you get your welfare check right away. It’s a funny set up in a way. You can use silencers; you can shoot children. So in the game you can do a lot of stuff that normally you can’t do in life. And when I played it I thought, This is the perfect stuff for a comedy. It’s too absurd to make as a serious movie. So I threw everything together. I write all of my own movies from video games and then I make movies from other video games by other writers: House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark. And I thought it was time to sit down and write something on my own again and I wrote that crazy movie. I loved the idea of going kind of far over the top—kind of Borat meets Naked Gun and this is what it is. I think it’s an all time outrageous offender comedy. We did a test screening in Orange County, where a lot of families were, and it was the highest exit rate ever out of a movie. But we also had one third of the people said it was the best movie they saw in 10 years. So you had very strong opinions of it—people were really, really flipping out on it and then you had people that really, really loved it. So I think this is good for a movie. It’s better to have people upset and people that love it than say it was “ok.”
MW: I think you are one of the people more familiar with upsetting people. You have an infamous career.
UB: Yeah but the thing is if you do the video game movies you also have the geeks who have their own movie in their head. If you make a movie out of House of the Dead, whatever you do they will never be satisfied. What were these guys expecting from House of the Dead? It’s a zombie shooting game and so is the movie. So if they were expecting an Oscar winning piece they are crazy. If you read the reviews of House of the Dead people were upset about it because it was a zombie shooting movie. And you say, “Look I make genre movies and they are one and a half hours and I don’t try to squeeze in a lot of messages or something.” It was absurd what happened when House of the Dead came out and then the same thing with Alone in the Dark again. It was a lot of serious critics getting infiltrated by the internet geeks. They go online and they see what they write about me and that these movies must be bad. Let’s say there are more people online blogging that they hate what I am doing than the big crowds that maybe like what I’m doing but don’t go online and write about it. It’s typical that people are more active about saying that they don’t like something than they are about saying they do. I see it in festivals people come up to me and say, “Oh I really like what you are doing.” And I say, “Then post it.” House of the Dead sold 1.5 million DVDs in America and I think there is a reason to make it because some people enjoy it.
MW: You have a pretty high caliber cast in Postal. Tell me about how it was to shoot that film. Did you have a lot of fun doing it?
UB: All the big agencies in LA refused to pitch the project to the actors. They said this is too offensive, this is insulting, this breaks taboos, we don’t want our actors in it. So we did a casting in Los Angeles and a lot of people came—people that would normally not go to castings. But they came and they said, “I want to be in this movie because I think it is really funny.” So we put a crazy cast together and I think it pays off well because the actors really went for it. It was not like the actors were on set and said, “Oh I can’t do that.” It was the opposite; they would push to make it more offensive and make it funnier.
MW: As a filmmaker, who have been some of your influences?
UB: I grew up with literally two TV channels in Germany before they started private TV, which started in the late 70s. I saw a lot of westerns—a lot of John Ford, a lot of William Wyler, a lot of Howard Hawks, and then later Stanley Kubrick. I was influenced like every other person from the biggest filmmakers on earth. But at the same time, later, if you make your own movies you have to see what the market is and what you can sell. I loved Kentucky Fried Movie. I thought when I made my first movie I wanted to make something funny and outrageous. I would make a German frat movie with the same system basically—make fun of everything. In a way Postal gets back to this. The first movie I did in 1991 was that and then in 2006 I was able to get back to that spirit again where you make fun of everything and where you don’t accept any censorship. It was time to do a harsh comedy in the spirit of Monty Python or Airplane. I think that got a little lost in the mix in the last few years. You have had a lot more comedies that are date movies and I think at one point I got tired of Ben Stiller date movies. I want to have comedies that are also political and critical but over the top. They are dirty and they don’t have a happy ending–something that is not so mainstream. I liked that.
MW: Fantastic Fest seemed like the perfect place to show this film. What do you expect the audience to think about it?
UB: I showed it in San Francisco at the festivals and in Montreal and it played very well—people really liked it. I was in Tucson before where the video game company Running with Scissors is and the people really liked it. And there were people with guns at the theater. I was like, “Don’t shoot me if you don’t like the movie.” My experience right now is that people like it for various reasons. People that like comedies in general like the movie even if there are a few things that, maybe, they are offended by. But the good thing is that we offended everybody. Everybody gets it. Nobody is safe. It’s not like a Michael Moore movie where everybody knows where he stands politically and knows that his movies are going and bashing the other side. This is not Postal. Postal destroys everything.
MW: The movie poster said it was basically a film version of South Park.
UB: We showed it to the South Park guys. We didn’t think we would get a reaction and they called us in the first two days and said that they loved the movie and that we can use their name on the poster.