Billy Zane Says 'BloodRayne' Will Silence Uwe Boll's Critics

Director has been trashed for past films like 'House of the Dead,' 'Alone in the Dark.'

This Friday night, like so many before it, you may find yourself and your date standing before an intimidating wall of names at the local megaplex. You might be tempted by the controversial "Brokeback Mountain" or intrigued by the mythical qualities of "Narnia," and you may find yourself staring longingly at the poster for "Underworld: Evolution." But with the latter not due until the end of the month, and the others likely sold out, the infamous Uwe Boll would like to humbly submit "BloodRayne," which offers audiences a bit of all three.

"I totally do want to validate Uwe Boll in the pantheon of the horror genre," "BloodRayne" co-star Billy Zane recently said, defending the vampire flick's director. In the past few years, Boll has become one of the most controversial filmmakers not named Michael Moore (see [article id="1512115"]"Director Uwe Boll Going 'Postal' With Latest Video Game Movie"[/article]), gathering bigger stars and grander declarations of geek hatred (, for instance) while moving from one film ("House of the Dead") to the next ("Alone in the Dark").

"We know that over time the work will speak for itself," insisted Kristanna Loken ("Terminator 3"), the titular heroine of the film. "With that being said, he's a great guy and I'd be happy to continue working for him."

"He has totally made his mark and put his naysayers and critics to rest with this film," Zane continued, adding that Boll's detractors often overlook the indie aesthetic that he has pioneered, creating innovatively financed movies that tap the fanbase of mid-level gaming titles. "The guy's a maverick; the way he directs, the way he funds his own movies, the way he distributed his film ... love him or hate him, he's a true individual, and I dig the guy."

The question is whether audiences will similarly dig "BloodRayne," a hyperactive gorefest that has Boll adapting the video game series of the same name. What remains is the tale of Rayne: a sexy yet lethal Dhampir, born of both human and vampire parents, who wields the power of supernatural beings without any of their weaknesses. It is at this point, however, that the two roads split.

"We decided to make a prequel of it, which opens us up to more sequels, also before the video game," Loken said of the movie, set some 200 years before the game's World War II time period. "In the game they're fighting Nazis, so [with a] German director, I don't think he wanted to do that movie.

"With vampire movies, making them period [pieces] somehow adds to the mystique and the folklore a bit," the actress continued. "We shot in Romania, which is rich with vampire history; we shot in the oldest inhabited medieval village in all of Europe, Sighisoara [Transylvania], which is the town Vlad the Impaler was from. All of the locations you see are not green screen; the Gothic castles are real and stunning. The monasteries, the landscape is beautiful, and all the people aided in creating that mood, that vampire mood. I think rather than making it modern-day, when you throw it back a few hundred years it just becomes a little bit more darker and sexy."

With the director's presence providing the controversy and Romania contributing stunning locations, all "BloodRayne" needed to complete the Boll formula were a few household names and some semblance of a plot.

"It's basically Rayne's coming-of-age story of finding out where she comes from," Loken summed up. "She finds her evil vampire father Kagan (Ben Kingsley) and really wants to get some retribution. She meets these people along the way who point her in various directions (including Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen and Meat Loaf), and she finds different talismans that incorporate different powers that aid her in the ultimate fight with her father. It's a lot of Jekyll and Hyde, and she's also very human, and the fact that she has to feed on blood in order to sustain herself is not palatable to her. So it's a bit ironic; it's tough for her to deal with this place she's stuck in -- not quite human and not quite vampire."

According to Zane (cast as vampire diplomat Elrich), such a weighty concept takes the film beyond previous Boll efforts and also places it above the similarly themed "Underworld" franchise. "So many vampire movies today are set in a dark and rainy future, usually in Canada somewhere, and we've armed our vampires with automatic weapons," he said with a mischievous smile. "You're looking at 'Lord of the Rings' on acid. It's massive, and epic, and really twisted."

The bottom line, it seems, is that "BloodRayne" is much like Boll himself: over the top, eager to please and unnervingly secure with its identity. But along with the acceptance of one's place in the universe comes a certain amount of freedom. "This movie pulls no punches," Zane beamed. "It doesn't apologize or go [politically correct]; it's a splatter-fest. You need a raincoat when you go see this movie. ... I've heard responses on the Web with people saying 'It's about time. No studio would ever do that!' "

Check out everything we've got on "BloodRayne."

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