German director Uwe Boll is like the Roger Corman of video game movies. He churns them out like a factory - and he knows it. But it is hard to hate his movies because the man is just a delight to speak with. We spoke recently about his newest film, In the Name of the King 2, and talked about working with Dolph Lundgren, time travel, budgets and, of course, sex.
In the Name of the King 2 doesn't really feel much like a sequel, and it certainly doesn't fit in with the video game. What is the reasoning behind this?
We are not really oriented with the video game anymore. The tie-in is with the movie, the first one. It is 50 years later because we know, budget-wise, we cannot compete with the first one. We felt that we should create a new story, an interesting story. We had seven or eight different treatments developed, and Michael Nachoff came in with, what I think is the best idea, to do the time-travel. I always wanted to work with Dolph Lundgren. I felt like he would be good for the role because he has this contemporary appearance, and a very dry humor. With the time-travel subject matter, we could bring in a lot of contemporary jokes. He didn't have to try to speak in olden language.
How did you get Dolph involved? Have you been trying to get him for a project for awhile?
I met him at a film festival actually, in Kazakstan. Timur Bekmambetov organized it and invited me to show my boxing movie. We were all sitting at one table with Harvey Weinstein and Lawrence Bender and Hilary Swank... they invited a lot of people. I talked with Dolph about [the film] and he was interested in it but he wouldn't take my first offer - it was not enough money. So we thought we would take [the offer] to another actor. But then he came back to me and said if we could shoot it all before Christmas, he could do it. So we were in a super time-hurry so we could do it with him. From this point of view, everything fit together in the end, and I was very happy to have him. He is a pleasure to work with and he [will try] anything. The disadvantage was that he hurt himself at the beginning, and you can't really see it in the movie, but he almost couldn't run. He could fight and kick and sword fight, but as soon as he had to start running through the woods, you could see the pain in his face. I thought it was funny because in the first film, Jason Statham twisted his ankle and actually had to have an operation on it right after the movie.
Did you have to do any rewrites or adjust the story to work around Dolph's injury?
No, but we had to have a stunt double. A lot of times, when you see him running through the woods, you see only his back because it was a stunt double. It was too much for him.
How did you settle on time travel as part of the plot?
I felt like this was a good idea. Dolph's character is basically Jason Statham's son, and they sent him into the future. He grew up an orphan in our time. Now they have to bring him back [in time] to save the kingdom. This solved various problems. We didn't have to bring back any actors [from the first film]. I felt like, because Dolph is already older, this medieval time doesn't make him another man. A lot of times you have the cynical guy who makes a character change in a different time. I think [Dolph] makes a little change in the movie, but I felt it was more realistic. The "olden times" didn't really change him. At the end he is back at his house and his life will go on - a little depressed, but I liked that more. I also liked that he wasn't taking it too seriously. This is not the kind of movie you have to take too seriously. It's just entertaining. There is no hidden message in it.
Was the decision not to bring back the cast from the first one mostly a budgetary reason? A scheduling issue?
The main thing was that Statham would have been too expensive. I don't think he would do a second part. I figured if we don't have Statham, why should we get someone else [for the part]? It's better to go forward, into the future. Also, a lot of people died in the first one. I felt like it was better to just move on and move the story 50 years forward, not just five. In the end, I think it worked better that way, for a movie like this. I'm actually happy with it.
What was the budget for In The Name of the King 2?
Like $7.5 million. But I think we maximized the budget and produced cleverly.
You are very good at making tiny budgets look bigger and more grandiose.
Yeah, like we called Universal and [rented] the Robin Hood costumes from the Russell Crowe movie. In the first part, we made costumes for over a million dollars. Now, we just paid $20,000 and got a truck load of Robin Hood costumes. They are handmade, and they spent a million dollars on them. Because I have made so many movies in the last 10 years, we have a really good production team. We are always ready to spend $50 million if we can do it, but if we don't have that much money, we want to deliver something that looks big, and is technically [well-made].
Additionally, for me to bring in the dragon was an added kicker. With this monster, we had something the first film didn't have. I think this is an asset. Fans can say, "Look, the second part was smaller, but the story was cooler and there were effects like the dragon that weren't in the first part.
This film had no nudity and virtually no sex, which seems out of place for an Uwe Boll film! What was the decision behind that?
The first one also didn't have any. For me, I don't think this [genre] needed it. I felt like it was better to make this one clean. BloodRayne, of course, is the opposite. It is super-gory and sexy. I know from the first [King movie], a lot of kids really like this movie, so I wanted to make sure they can also watch the second part.
What is coming up?
I am producing a movie in Italy called Zombie Massacre. It is based on a Nintendo video game. This will be shot in April or May. I plan on directing BloodRayne 4, which will be set in contemporary times. And I may do In the Name of the King 3 if we sell enough blu-rays and DVDs. There are a few license out there that I am interested in getting, but so far I don't have them. I would love to do Postal 2, but the movie was not a success financially, so it doesn't make sense to make a second part.