Recently I spoke with Director Uwe Boll about his pending film “First Shift” as well as his career and return to Directing.
We last interviewed you in 2014; I see that you have been active in Producing but have jumped back to Directing in 2020 and now have a new film coming. What would you say is different this time around in both the industry and how you approach making a film?
In 2014 HV was dying and Streaming was not big enough to compensate for the losses in DVD sales. My approach changed around 2010 already in working longer and closer with the actors in creating their characters.
Do you see the rise of streaming as a good or bad thing for movies and does it make it harder or easier for Indie Filmmakers to find an audience?
Of course, there is more money and more product out there. A theatrical release upfront still makes films more interesting to watch on TV but financially 90% of the theatrical releases lose money because of the advertising costs. Of course, because of the streamers, a lot of my films got a second life and got watched by millions of people. RAMPAGE 1, 2 and 3 or POSTAL turned into cult films based on this. But I still buy DVDs and Blu Rays because there you get director commentaries, making of and other extras who will all dissolve if no more DVDs getting manufactured at all.
Many people know you for your Video Game/Horror films but in recent years your output has largely been on Action Dramas with serious topics. How did the transition come about and do you ever see yourself doing horror or game-themed films again?
I never wrote any video game-based films besides POSTAL but I mostly wrote dramas or political films like ASSAULT ON WALLSTREET, TUNNELRATS, DARFUR, or STOIC. I’m personally more into thrillers or drama …. But that doesn’t mean that I will never do a horror film or videogame based film again.
Of all of your films, which is the one that you are proudest of and why?
I love DARFUR and ASSAULT ON WALLSTREET because these are the films I saw the audience crying and getting very emotionally involved. A lot of my other films like TUNNELRATS, RAMPAGE, POSTAL, or STOIC are cold and cynical as the world is. They have different impacts but are similarly important.
How did you spend your time during the Lockdown?
I hope COVID is history now and we treat it as the flu. That we still have to do tests for film shoots is hurting independent films a lot because it costs too much money. And why you should shut down a shoot if somebody has the flu without even symptoms. The lockdowns and everything were especially hard on families and kids. My youngest son had to go to grade 1 in the year with nonstop lockdowns and it had a very bad influence on his social skills and school performance till now. I missed mostly going to restaurants and to movie theatres. I shot a small German film at this time: HANAU (on apple, amazon, and google also in the USA), and it was more expensive because of the covid testing.
What can you tell us about “First Shift” and what attracted you to the film?
In the last few years, I wrote a lot of ideas down, mostly for scenes or little stories I wanted to do and finally in the fall of 2022 I combined them all into one big story following 2 police detectives thru one 12 hours shift in Brooklyn. That shift is like life, sometimes funny but also sometimes sad and dangerous. We follow some side stories with the Mob, Drug Dealers, and a deadly family drama, and all come connected thru the two cops doing their job.
I heard that you will be in the pending Postal documentary and I was curious if you have noticed people who were in the past critical of you and the film and are now much more accepting of it and the audience seems to appreciate it more as time has gone on.
I think that most of my films age well and RAMPAGE and POSTAL got even more important over time. When I sign for fans’ DVDs, most of them come with RAMPAGE or POSTAL to sign. POSTAL was one of the best absurd, crazy, politically incorrect films ever done and even if the film is now 15 years old it holds up as this today. If I would work for a streamer I would order POSTAL – or RAMPAGE the series – both would be hits. The Postal opening alone had on YouTube over time more than 20 million views.
What would you say is the biggest change in your Directing style today compared to the past?
To direct FIRST SHIFT is of course totally different from directing ALONE IN THE DARK or HOUSE OF THE DEAD. Effect-driven films take a lot of energy away from the actors and the directors. In FIRST SHIFT we can reality and the actors can play real people, which is better and more satisfying also for me.
As a follow-up, do you find Directing or producing more difficult and do you prefer one over the other?
I love directing and working with the actors and the crew in actually filming something. Producing is the work you do before and it’s so much more unsatisfying and hard, with so many NOs.
Is there anything else upcoming you would like to share with the readers?
I have a great 8-part mini-series fully developed named WHERE WOLVES WALK which is a little like MARE OF EASTTOWN and we have a great script to do UNTOUCHABLES 2 …only Kevin Costner is missing. So Kevin, if you read that; say YES.