Over the last twenty years, the movie and gaming industries have been sharing an increasingly symbiotic relationship. As far back as this writer can remember, movies have provided rich backdrops for game developers to build on, with such projects as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Arc, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial being released in the early 1980’s for the Atari 2600, the Star Wars franchise being licensed for a series of successful video arcade games, and more recently, adaptations of The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, and most recently, the Godfather and Scarface franchises appearing on consoles and computer screens near you.
More recently, however, an ever-increasing trend is the licensing of video game properties to be adapted into movie projects – games such as Super Mario Brothers, Doom, the Resident Evil film series, and the recently-announced Halo project are seeing video game adaptations hitting the big screen, all with varying degrees of critical success. In October of 2005, independent game developers Running With Scissors (RWS) stepped into the ring when they announced a joint venture with Boll KG to bring their Postal franchise to the big screen under the stewardship of director Uwe Boll, whose previous projects have included film adaptations of House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, and the soon-to-be-released In the Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.
Inside Mac Games contributor Jean-Luc Dinsdale recently got a chance to sit down with RWS’s CEO Vince Desi, lead designer Steve Wik, and marketing guru Mike Jaret-Schachtler on the Postal movie set to discuss the intricacies of bringing their controversial franchise to the big screen and to get an update on what the game designers have been up to.
(Full disclosure: apart from being an IMG contributor, author Jean-Luc Dinsdale is also the Visual Effects Supervisor on the movie Postal.)
WARNING: this interview contains language and subject matter not suitable for all ages. If you're of the faint of heart, please look away.
Inside Mac Games: So we’re sitting on the set of Postal – the movie – in beautiful British Columbia. The Postal movie was officially announced almost exactly a year ago. Tell us about how the movie came to be.
Vince Desi: Well actually, just when Postal 2 came out in 2002, I think at E3 or just after that, two small independent film studios approached us, and while it was really cool to get that level of interest, it became obvious to us that we would have pretty much zero control over the movie, that we’d get a cheque for the license and that would be that. I had zero faith in either project; we had no idea if either movies would get made while the movie rights would be tied up, and the one thing we were sure about was that there would be no way we would ever be asked what we thought, that would have no input in the movie. So we turned them down. Then, I got a phone call from somebody representing Uwe Boll a year and a half ago. I honestly didn’t know much about who Uwe was, although from what I had read, I thought of him in the same generally negative light – unfairly - that most of the video game industry does. What happened then, was that (RWS lead designer) Steve Wik and I flew up to Vancouver to meet Uwe while he was editing Bloodrayne and was getting ready to start the Dungeon Siege movie, and we kicked around the idea of turning Postal into a movie, and after talking with Uwe for a while, we came to the conclusion that, you know, we had do it with Uwe at the helm. That was it.
IMG: Had you thought about the idea of making the Postal movie yourselves previously to being approached?
Vince Desi: We’ve actually never thought of taking on a feature film. We’ve played around on a few small video projects that had to do with the Postal Babes, we filmed Gary Coleman and the Postal Babes during the making of Postal 2, and stuff like that, but as for a feature film… With Uwe we have the opportunity to reach out to that many more people worldwide, and, despite Uwe’s reputation, well, Postal is different, and we’re different. Steve and I are executive producers on the movie, and so, it’s been easier to digest than if we had taken on the movie ourselves. Uwe’s doing a good job, and he has - a lot of our ideas are represented in the film in some form, and some ideas in the movie we had nothing to do with, but there’s at least been an exchange.
Steve Wik: By “exchange” we mostly mean we scream at Uwe, but he’s a good sport.
Vince Desi: Steve and I have kicked this around – it’s hard to get mad at a guy who wants to die. (jokingly) Uwe has perfected the art of self-destruction. But anyway so far it’s been a lot of fun. What do you think?