By Evan Chan
Boxing Cinema would like to welcome back director Uwe Boll (In the Name of the King, Postal, Bloodrayne) for another interview to speak more about his upcoming boxing movie “Max Schmeling”.
EVAN CHAN: Uwe thanks again for doing another interview for the Boxing Cinema. First off, how has your new movie Max Schmeling been doing? I heard that it did a festival not too long ago and had a positive response.
UWE BOLL: I was in Moscow and Astana in festivals with the movie and the response was really good. In Astana, Kazakhstan, was also Mike Tyson and he watched it with me. We talked for over two hours later about Joe Louis, Schmeling and Iron Mike…. his career and his life. On October 7 “MAX SCHMELING” is starting in Germany with a big release.
EC: What did Iron Mike think of the movie?
UB: He liked it a lot because the movie shows also the war and the political background Schmeling was living in. But of course he liked also to see Arthur Abraham playing the last fighter against Schmeling, Richard Vogt. We have the Cuban champ Pablo Hernandez as Joe Louis and also Stipe Drews, (Zeljko) Mavrovic, Michael Becker, Enad Licina, Alexander Frenkel, Ruediger May and others fighting….
EC: Now how important was it to cast actual fighters in the film? Hollywood is more known for turning actors into boxers rather than the other way around.
UB: This time I made it the other way around, and with Henry Maske we were lucky. I think the fact to have all the real fighters in the ring makes that movie something special.
EC: Did the boxers have any problems transitioning into actors?
UB: Only Joe Louis (Pablo Hernandez) had to act, everybody else had to box only.
EC: Which portion of Max Schmeling’s life did you try to focus on for this film?
UB: We show roughly the time from 1933 to 1949 where Schmeling’s boxing career developed and ended. Also we focus on his role in Hitler Germany, the marriage, and his time as a soldier.
EC: How important do you feel it is to boxing, and history in general, is it for stories like his to be preserved?
UB: Boxing is the most direct sport… it’s a mirror for life and death and life and death is of course history. If you jump into any historical period and you summarize it, what was important? War, life and dead of important people. Violence is so far the driving force in
EC: You told me before that Henry Maske was Max Schmeling’s choice to play him in a biopic. What were the things that you did to help Henry prepare for the role?
UB: Henry met Max a few times and talked with him a long time about his life. Henry is obsessed with Max and read all the existing books about him.
EC: So it sounds like he was already pretty well prepared for the part. How would you compare the end result of Max Schmeling to films such as Cinderella Man and Raging Bull?
UB: In a way Max Schmeling is a more realistic movie and is not over dramatizing. I love Cinderella Man and Raging Bull, but was the boxing in Raging Bull realistic? No! And was Jim Braddock an important boxer? Not really…
EC: Do you feel enough has been done to preserve Max Schmeling’s story?
UB: I think with our movie we present what kind of character he was. Where he knocked out Joe Louis, this was a moment like you knock out Mike Tyson at his peak. I think also because he almost stayed alive till he was 100 years old makes him something special.
EC: Now I read that this movie was shot in Croatia. Why did you choose Croatia? Were there any parts of the film that were shot in Germany?
UB: We shot in Croatia because it’s cheaper there and tons of old cities look like World War 2. We shot only the scenes of Schmeling’s farm in Germany. We didn’t got subsidies in Germany so I saw no reason to shoot there.
EC: I saw some behind the scenes photos of you wearing boxing gloves during filming, what was that all about? Are you in the movie?
UB: I play a referee, but I made a sparring during the shoot and I also wanted to show my actors from time to time exactly what they should do.
EC: When can we expect to see this movie to play in Canada?
UB: Max will go out on DVD in Canada next year.
EC: Is there anything else you want the fans to know about Max Schmeling before we wrap up this interview?
UB: Check it out and don’t forget to check out my movies right now in the video stores: STOIC, FINAL STORM, RAMPAGE.
EC: Thank you very much for once again doing an interview for the Boxing Cinema. Wish you all the best of luck with Max Schmeling!
Interview originally posted on www.boxingcinema.com Aug. 14th, 2010
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