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The Hollywood Reporter | Heat Vision: 2012 premiere: Roland Emmerich on his appetite for destruction

05.11.09 13:05

November 04, 2009

2012 premiere: Roland Emmerich on his appetite for destruction “2012” tsunamied its audience at the downtown Los Angeles premiere, leaving guests marveling at the destruction wrought by Roland Emmerich’s latest disaster epic. This time the end of the world comes from solar flares that cause the Earth’s core to melt and shift tectonic plates. And while the movie is preposterous, and recycles a set piece three times, you can’t deny the mesmerizing quality of devastation, especially on the big screen. Mickey Rooney, in fact, began clapping during the epilogue, leading the crowd to applause during the credits. “When you normally see disasters, you always see the aftermath; movies actually show it happening,” theorized Emmerich at the Conga Room afterparty as to why those kinds of movies are popular. People are fascinated.” While Emmerich, who started out as a production designer in film school, got out of the directing gate with “Universal Soldier” and “Stargate,” it was the alien invasion disaster movie “Independence Day” that really made his career. And he knows it, too. “When Dean Devlin and I made ‘Independence Day,’ it had a lot of destruction in there and it became very successful. It became a signature for me. And I realized that people get very excited when things blow up. When we blew up the White House, people applauded! Because of ‘Independence Day,’ I get money to makes these kinds of movies.” Mark Gordon, who’s produced four of Emmerich’s movies including “2012,” says there’s a sweetness to Emmerich’s films influenced by the director’s love of Steven Spielberg movies. “When I see Roland destroy things, I howl because it's fun. It’s not depressing,” said Gordon. “He shoots these scenes with a certain kinds of filter that as terrifying as it is, it’s magical at the same time. It’s not gritty, it’s clean. It’s pop.” Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach, compared Ermerich to Irwin Allen, the producer of such disaster classics as “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno” (“Like Irwin, he’s got a knack for spectacle,” Tolmach said), which is fitting, since Emmerich said “Poseidon” is one of his favorite movies. Emmerich may not want to be labeled as the disaster guy, he also admits to being very particular in what he likes directing. “I don’t like superheroes,” he said. “And that takes out about 60% of the big movies Hollywood makes. And I don’t like very much fantasy, and I don’t like making famous books into movies. That’s another 20% cut. So it’s a very narrow field that I can service.” Emmerich’s next project, however, will take him as far away from White House demolishings as possible. “Anonymous,” a period drama set in 16th century England, tackles the question of whether William Shakespeare really was the author of his many plays. The project is eying a spring 2010 shoot in Berlin’s Babelsberg Studios.

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