As many in the gaming community already know, Uwe Boll has been working on a movie about the immensly popular PC Game ‘Far Cry’, which pits an ex-marine against an entire army of baddies and genetic experiments. I was fortunate enough to speak with one of the actors in the upcoming film, Gareth Von Kallenbach. Gareth offers a unique perspective as he is an established film critic, and gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the set, and also describes what it is like to work with Uwe Boll.
What was your involvement in the ‘Far Cry’ film?
I went to the set to cover the filming and get a look around the sets. I ended up suited up in body armor and decked out with some nice firepower as a Mercenary in a couple scenes as well.
Did you have any prior acting experience? How did you land a gig in a film with an established director?
“Far Cry” is my fourth film and I just wrapped my Fifth film “Travelling” a few months ago. I have also done some plays and have done radio for several years. Years ago I was introduced to Vince Desi of Running With Scissors when I e-mailed him and requested an interview for Postal 2. The interview was picked up by several sites and Vince and I stayed in touch over the years. When it came time to make the movie “Postal” Vince let me break the news about the film and Director, and introduced me to Uwe Boll. From there I was introduced to Uwe’s Publicist Bill Wanstrom and over the course of covering Uwe’s upcoming films, and news, I was asked to come up on the set and do a small walk on as well as speak at his Sci Fi convention Timeless Destinations. Over the last couple of years Bill has arranged many interviews with Uwe for me as well as passed along lots of news about the Director and his films. As such, when opportunities arise I was asked if I wanted to come up and be in “Far Cry” and visit the set. I have also done some Star Wars fan films as well, as I like having some fun with Directing and setting up scenes as well as writing the lines and acting in the projects.
What kind of props did you use? Were the guns real? Where the costumes custom-made for the movie or were they pulled from a surplus store?
What we had was 100% authentic. I had a black t-shirt and fatigues, but I also had a weapons harness, helmet, headset, as well as a sidearm and an HK assault rifle. They looked great but it was a very hot day to be wearing black and hauling around 20 lbs of gear and it was even harder with the set lighting.
What type of special effects appear in the movie? What did you get to work with? Did you have to do any stunts?
We used pyrotechnics to simulate some explosions, and glass shattering. There was a lot of weapons fire, and we used blanks for the scenes. I am in a shootout and had to do a lot of running and covering during the scene. It was very fast paced. There is also a scene where I am in a control room monitoring events as the screens we are watching go nuts.
How did you interface with an ‘invisible’ creatures during shooting?
That was always fun. We were walked through the scene and given general directions about being under attack and where the attacks were coming from. We had to go over everything from pace to run, when to duck, fire, raise the gun, and so on. Once you started moving or firing, it was easy to really believe you were in a firefight. I had to be creative as do to Canadian Union rules, only members could fire a weapon on set, so we had to be creative about what I did in the scene, so I did a lot of running, and covering. I had to run behind and cover Emmanuelle Vaugier while she is giving orders.
Walk us through a typical day on the set.
I would arrive and check in, get wardrobe and makeup done, get something to eat, and mainly hang out and wait for the scenes I was in to be ready to shoot. Since I am press, I was allowed to be on set with the crew, and they took time before and after shots to show me how things were done, let me wander the sets they were not using, look at monitors and such. Making a movie is a lot of waiting around, but after we broke for dinner, we were before the camera and shot our scenes and wrapped. I spent some time later in the day with my fellow Mercenaries and talked about their careers and the scenes they have been in. You can have some really interesting conversations on set and meet a lot of interesting people. I had one of the crew tell me about some of the people who had been in the films he worked on as well as some interesting stories from past movies he had worked on. We also took a few pictures during the day as well. After wrapping, it is back into your regular clothes and off home.
Where did the shooting take place? How much of the set is green-screen vs. real location?
We filmed outside Vancouver B.C. and a few scenes had Green Screens. There was a scene with a vehicle and a simulated helicopter as well as the big shoot out I was in. There are a lot of sets and from what I saw Green Screens enhance the sets rather than become the sets. The set was next to where the Stargate series is filmed, and they had guards around the dumpsters as I was told that people had been stealing props from the Stargate shows from the garbage.
POSTAL was different from Uwe’s prior movies in that it satirically touched on social issues. Does Far Cry have any political message or social commentary? There is a good message about tampering with genetics and of course the classic struggle between good and evil. The main focus on the film from what I saw is mixing action and horror with good characters and an entertaining story.
Being an established movie critic, were you able to collaborate with the director on certain creative items?
No, Uwe was called away to speak at Comic Con so I was not able to work with him on this project. A lot of people put a lot of work into the picture and I was also taught from my earliest acting work that you do not offer suggestions unless asked to. I did go over some of my movements for the action scene and was able to offer a few ideas for them to pick which they wanted to use.