When speaking with Roland Emmerich, a director synonymous withbig-budget disaster films, the first question that comes to mind iswhat, exactly, does he have against the planet earth?
When speaking with Roland Emmerich, a director synonymous with big-budget disaster films, the first question that comes to mind is what, exactly, does he have against the planet earth?
“Nothing,” he insists, sitting comfortably in a lodge in Jackson Hole, Wy., just miles from where he filmed much of his latest movie, 2012 — opening next week — was filmed.
“Sometimes you destroy what you love.”
After raining destruction down upon our planet through aliens (Independence Day), giant monsters (Godzilla) and global warming (The Day After Tomorrow), Emmerich admits he had reservations about taking on another project of that kind.
“I thought, ‘Should I do another disaster movie? Another end of the world movie?’” Emmerich said. In the end, he relented. “I’m drawn to disaster movies because in disaster movies there are no rules, really. As long as you tell story lines that all converge at the end.”
He also enjoys slipping his own agenda into big-budget popcorn films, following the belief that a spoonful of CGI-enhanced destruction will help the progressive ideas go down.
“There’s always this need to have some sort of a philosophical or political aspect in my movies,” said Emmerich, who also admits he can be too subtle. “In Independence Day, everybody thought it was blatantly patriotic, and nobody saw that it was the first African-American, WASP and Jewish guy working together to save the world. They didn’t see all the little jokes we put in about race and religion.”
For Emmerich’s next feature, he’s leaving the world of catastrophe and special effects behind, focusing instead on a very un-Emmerich subject: The question of who actually wrote the works of William Shakespeare.
Anonymous, set to begin filming in March, is a story the director has been interested in for quite some time — he first purchased the script eight years ago before developing it further with writer John Orloff.
“I found it fascinating,” Emmerich said. “We had to make sure this movie’s not a new version of Amadeus,” he explains. “This has to be more than that. It has to be a political movie.
“I’m casting right now, and I get all these compliments from these famous English actors, and they all want to be in my movie,” he says with a laugh. “When Vanessa Redgrave says it’s the best script she has read in the last four, five or six years, that tells you something.”