Roland Emmerich

Roland Emmerich

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Roland Emmerich (ˈʁoːlant ˈɛməʁɪç) (born November 10, 1955) is a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 film director, screenwriter, and producer.
His films, most of which are Hollywood productions filmed in English, have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide, more than those of any other European director. His films have grossed just over $1 billion in the United States, making him the country's 14th-highest grossing director of all time. He began his work in the film industry by directing the film The Noah's Ark Principle
Das Arche Noah Prinzip
The Noah's Ark Principle is a 1984 West German science fiction film written and directed by Roland Emmerich as his thesis at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München ....

 as part of his university thesis and also co-founded Centropolis Entertainment
Centropolis Entertainment
Centropolis Entertainment is a film production company founded in 1985 as Centropolis Film Productions by German film director Roland Emmerich.-Films:-TV Series:...

 in 1985 with his sister. He is a collector of art and an active campaigner for the lesbian and gay community, himself being openly
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

 gay. He is also a campaigner for an awareness of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and equal rights
Equal rights
Equal rights can refer to:*Equality before the law, when all people have the same rights*Human rights, when such rights are held in common by all people*Civil rights, when such rights are held in common by all citizens of a nation...

.

Emmerich has directed many successful films such as Stargate
Stargate (film)
Stargate is a 1994 American adventure-military science fiction film released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco Pictures. Created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the film is the first release in the Stargate franchise...

 (1994
1994 in film
1994 was a significant year in film.The top grosser worldwide was The Lion King, which to date stands as the highest-grossing traditionally-animated film of all time...

), Independence Day
Independence Day (film)
Independence Day is a 1996 science fiction film about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4 – the same...

 (1996
1996 in film
Major releases this year included Scream, Independence Day, Fargo, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Twister, Mars Attacks!, Jerry Maguire and a version of Evita starring Madonna.-Events:...

), Godzilla
Godzilla (1998 film)
Godzilla is a 1998 science fiction monster disaster film film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. It is a loose remake of the 1954 giant monster classic Godzilla. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The film relates a tale of a nuclear incident...

 (1998
1998 in film
-Events:* February 14 - Sharon Stone marries Phil Bronstein.* Former child star Gary Coleman is charged with assaulting a young female bus driver at a California shopping mall.-Top grossing films:...

), The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American science-fiction disaster film that depicts the catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling which leads to a new ice age. The film did well at the box office, grossing $542,771,772 internationally...

 (2004
2004 in film
The year 2004 in film involved some significant events. Major releases of sequels took place. It included blockbuster films like Shrek 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Passion of the Christ, Meet the Fockers, Blade: Trinity, Spider-Man 2, Alien vs. Predator, Kill Bill Vol...

), 10,000 B.C.
10,000 BC (film)
10,000 BC is a 2008 American fantasy film from Warner Bros. Pictures set in the prehistoric era. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin...

 (2008
2008 in film
This is a list of all major films made in 2008.-Highest-grossing films:Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top grossing films that were first released in the USA in 2008...

), 2012
2012 (film)
2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

 (2009
2009 in film
The year 2009 saw the release of many films. Seven made the top 50 list of highest-grossing films, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that as of this year, their Best Picture category would consist of ten nominees, rather than five .- Highest-grossing films :Please note...

) and many others. Although many of his films have been successful in the box office, his films usually have the tendency of being panned by critics, the most notable critics of all being Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 and Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted the popular review show Siskel & Ebert At the Movies from 1975 until his death....

 of the film-critiquing television series Siskel and Ebert.

Early life and career


Emmerich was born in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

, Germany, and grew up in the nearby town of Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen is a German town near Stuttgart at the headwaters of the Schwippe that is the site of a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.-History:* 1155 First documented mention of Sindelfingen...

. As a youth, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America on vacations financed by his father, Hans, the wealthy founder of a garden machinery production company. In 1977, he began attending University of Television and Film Munich
University of Television and Film Munich
The University of Television and Film Munich is a publicly funded film school in Munich, Germany. The school was established in 1966 by decree of the Bavarian government. The University of Television and Film Munich is one of Germany's most reputable film schools with about 350 students enrolled...

 with the intention of studying to become a production designer. After watching Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

, he instead decided to enroll in the school's film director program. Required to create a short film as his final thesis in 1981, he wrote and directed the full-length feature The Noah's Ark Principle, which was eventually screened as the opening film of the 34th Berlin International Film Festival
34th Berlin International Film Festival
The 34th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from February 17 to February 28, 1984.-Jury:* Liv Ullmann * Jules Dassin* Edward Bennett* Manuela Cernat-Gheorghiu* Lana Gogoberidze* Tullio Kezich* Steffen Kuchenreuther...

 in 1984.

In 1985, he founded Centropolis Film Productions (now Centropolis Entertainment
Centropolis Entertainment
Centropolis Entertainment is a film production company founded in 1985 as Centropolis Film Productions by German film director Roland Emmerich.-Films:-TV Series:...

) in partnership with his sister, producer Ute Emmerich, and directed his major film debut, a fantasy feature named Joey
Joey (1985 film)
Joey, also known as Making Contact, is a 1985 West German fantasy film from Centropolis Film Productions . The film was co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich...

. He subsequently directed the 1987 comedy Hollywood-Monster
Hollywood-Monster
Hollywood-Monster is a 1987 comedy/horror film. The filmed starred Jason Lively. It was Roland Emmerich's third directed film.-Plot:...

 and the 1990 science-fiction film Moon 44
Moon 44
Moon 44 is a 1990 science fiction, action film from Centropolis Film Productions, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Michael Paré and Lisa Eichhorn and co-starring Brian Thompson.- Plot :...

. Theatrically, these were only released in and nearby his native country, although Emmerich filmed them in English and went against conventional German styles
Cinema of Germany
Cinema in Germany can be traced back to the late 19th century. German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film.Unlike any other national cinemas, which developed in the context of relatively continuous and stable political systems, Germany witnesses major changes to its...

 in an attempt to appeal to a larger market. This subsequently resulted in Moon 44 being released direct-to-video
Direct-to-video
Direct-to-video is a term used to describe a film that has been released to the public on home video formats without being released in film theaters or broadcast on television...

 in the U.S. in early 1991. Joey and Hollywood-Monster eventually also saw home video releases in the U.S. (as Making Contact and Ghost Chase, respectively) once Emmerich achieved more prominence in America.

1990s


Producer Mario Kassar
Mario Kassar
Mario F. Kassar is a film producer and industry executive whose projects are frequently in association with Andrew G. Vajna.Kassar was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Working for Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures, he was executive producer of several movies starting with Victory in 1981...

 invited Emmerich to come to the United States to direct a futuristic action film entitled Isobar. Dean Devlin
Dean Devlin
Dean Devlin is an American screenwriter, producer, television director and former actor. He is the founder of the production company Electric Entertainment.-Personal life:...

, who appeared in Moon 44, soon joined Emmerich as his writing and producing partner, and served in this capacity until 2000. Emmerich subsequently refused the offer to direct after producers rejected Devlin's re-write of the script, and the Isobar project was eventually scrapped. Instead, Emmerich was hired to replace director Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis (film director)
Andrew Davis is an American film director, producer and cinematographer, noted for the action films Code of Silence, The Fugitive, Chain Reaction, Collateral Damage, Above the Law, The Guardian and Under Siege.-Biography:Born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, Davis has directed several films...

 for the action movie Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier (1992 film)
Universal Soldier is a 1992 American science fiction action film directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as soldiers who kill each other in Vietnam but are reanimated in a secret Army project along with a large group of other previously dead...

. The film was released in 1992, and has since been followed by two direct-to-video sequels, a theatrical sequel, and another sequel released in 2010
Universal Soldier (series)
Universal Soldier is an American action science fiction film series started from the 1992 original same title film written by Richard Rothstein, Christopher Leitch, and Dean Devlin; directed by Roland Emmerich; and distributed by Sony Tri-Star....

.

Emmerich next helmed the 1994 science-fiction film Stargate
Stargate (film)
Stargate is a 1994 American adventure-military science fiction film released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco Pictures. Created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the film is the first release in the Stargate franchise...

. At the time, it set a record for the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film released in the month of October. It became more commercially successful than most film industry insiders had anticipated, and spawned a highly popular media franchise
Stargate
Stargate is a adventure military science fiction franchise, initially conceived by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The first film in the franchise was simply titled Stargate. It was originally released on October 28, 1994, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco, and became a hit, grossing nearly...

.

Emmerich then directed Independence Day
Independence Day (film)
Independence Day is a 1996 science fiction film about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4 – the same...

, an alien invasion feature, released in 1996, that became the first film to gross $100 million in less than a week and went on to become one of the most financially successful films of all time, at one point having been the second-highest grossing film in terms of worldwide box office. Emmerich and Devlin then created the television series The Visitor
The Visitor (TV series)
The Visitor was a science fiction television series created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin which aired on Fox from 1997–1998. It starred John Corbett as Adam McArthur who was abducted by extraterrestrials 50 years earlier and escapes back to Earth to help improve life for...

, which aired on the Fox Network during 1997–1998 before being cancelled after one season.

His next film, Godzilla
Godzilla (1998 film)
Godzilla is a 1998 science fiction monster disaster film film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. It is a loose remake of the 1954 giant monster classic Godzilla. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The film relates a tale of a nuclear incident...

, opened in 1998. An extensive advertising and marketing campaign generated significant hype during the months leading up to the film's release. The film was a box office success but was met with mostly negative reviews from critics and near-universally negative reactions from fans.

2000s


Taking a short break from science-fiction, Emmerich next directed the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 epic The Patriot
The Patriot (2000 film)
The Patriot is a 2000 historical war film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat, and starring Mel Gibson, Chris Cooper, and Heath Ledger. It was produced by the Mutual Film Company and Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

. Only the second film (Universal Soldier being the other) Emmerich has directed in which he did not contribute to the screenplay, the film received generally favorable critical and commercial response, and is Emmerich's best-reviewed film to date. After teaming up with new screenwriting partner Harald Kloser
Harald Kloser
Harald Kloser is an Austrian-born film composer and writer who has won the BMI Film Music Award in 2005 for both of his scores of Alien vs...

, Emmerich returned once again to directing a visual effects-laden adventure with 2004's blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American science-fiction disaster film that depicts the catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling which leads to a new ice age. The film did well at the box office, grossing $542,771,772 internationally...

, another disaster film about a rapidly oncoming Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 brought upon by the effects of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. Soon afterward, he founded Reelmachine, another film production company based in Germany.

In 2008, Emmerich directed 10,000 BC
10,000 BC (film)
10,000 BC is a 2008 American fantasy film from Warner Bros. Pictures set in the prehistoric era. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin...

, a film about the journeys of a prehistoric tribe of mammoth
Woolly mammoth
The woolly mammoth , also called the tundra mammoth, is a species of mammoth. This animal is known from bones and frozen carcasses from northern North America and northern Eurasia with the best preserved carcasses in Siberia...

 hunters. It was a box office hit, but consistently regarded by professional critics as one of the worst movies of the year. He was slated to direct a remake of the 1966 science-fiction film Fantastic Voyage
Fantastic Voyage
Fantastic Voyage is a 1966 science fiction film written by Harry Kleiner, based on a story by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby.Bantam Books obtained the rights for a paperback novelization based on the screenplay and approached Isaac Asimov to write it....

, but the project slipped back into development hell
Development hell
In the jargon of the media-industry, "development hell" is a period during which a film or other project is trapped in development...

. His most recent film is 2012
2012 (film)
2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

, an apocalyptic disaster film inspired by the theory that the ancient Mayans prophesied the world's ending
2012 phenomenon
The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar...

 on December 21, 2012. Emmerich usually finishes production of a large-scale movie both in a time frame shorter and on a budget lower than what is typically requested by other directors.

His next film, Anonymous
Anonymous (film)
Anonymous is a political thriller and historical drama which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011. Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff, the movie is a fictionalized version of the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan...

, scheduled to be released 28th October 2011, is based on the premise that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford was an Elizabethan courtier, playwright, lyric poet, sportsman and patron of the arts, and is currently the most popular alternative candidate proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare's works....

 is the real author of the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. According to Emmerich, "It’s an historical thriller because it’s about who will succeed Queen Elizabeth and the struggle of the people who want to have a hand in it. It’s the Tudors
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 on one side and the Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

s on the other, and in between [the two] is the Queen. Through that story we tell how the plays written by the Earl of Oxford ended up labelled 'William Shakespeare.'" The film should be listed under contrafactual history, inasmuch as the likelihood of Emmerich being correct about De Vere and Shakespeare is zero. The release date for Anonymous co-incides with the completion of the 13th Baktun
Baktun
A baktun is 20 katun cycles of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days, equivalent to 394.26 tropical years. The Classic period of Maya civilization occurred during the 8th and 9th baktuns of the current calendrical cycle. The current baktun will end, or be completed, on...

, the date which marks the empirical base for Emmerich's film 2012, as this is celebrated by the surviving indigenous Maya, specifically the Quiché
Quiché
K'iche' , are a Native American people, one of the Maya ethnic groups. Their indigenous language, the K'iche' language, is a Mesoamerican language of the Mayan language family...

 people.

Criticisms


Reviewers often criticize that Emmerich's films rely too heavily on visual effects, and suffer from cliché
Cliché
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...

 dialogue, flimsy and formulaic narrative, scientific and historical inaccuracies, illogical plot development, and lack of character depth. Emmerich contends that he is not discouraged by such negative criticism, and that he aims to provide enjoyable "popcorn" entertainment to movie-going audiences. Stating that he is "a filmmaker, not a scientist", he creates his own fiction based on actual science or history to make the messages he sends "more exciting".

In response to accusations of insensitivity for including scenes of New York City being destroyed in The Day After Tomorrow, less than three years after the September 11th attacks, Emmerich claims that it was necessary to depict the event as a means to showcase the increased unity people now have when facing a disaster, because of 9/11. When accused of resorting too often to scenes of cities being subjected to epic disasters, Emmerich says that it is a justified way of increasing awareness about both global warming, and the lack of a government preparation plan for a global doomsday scenario in the cases of The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 respectively.

Acknowledging what he was told were flaws with Godzilla, Emmerich admitted he regretted having agreed to direct it. He stated that his lack of interest in the previous Godzilla movies, the short time he promised it would take for him to complete the film, and the studio's refusal to screen it for test audiences were all factors that may have negatively affected the quality of the final product, and cited the former reason as to why he turned down an offer to direct Spider-Man
Spider-Man (film)
Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film, the first in the Spider-Man film series based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. It was directed by Sam Raimi and written by David Koepp...

 as he could not imagine himself as getting enthusiastic about the project because he was never intrigued by comic books and superhero
Superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

-related fiction. However, Emmerich still defends Godzilla, noting that the film was highly profitable and claiming that, of all his movies, people tell him Godzilla is the one they and their kids watch the most repeatedly.

Personal life and advocacy


Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, London and Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

. Emmerich likes to decorate his homes in a self-described "outlandish" manner, adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, and World War II-Militaria
Militaria
Militaria are artifacts or replicas of military, police, etc., collected for their historical significance. Such antiques include firearms, swords, knives, and other weapons such as; uniforms, helmets, other military headgear, and armour; military orders and decorations; challenge coins and...

.

Emmerich's extensive collection of artwork includes a painting of Jesus Christ wearing a Katharine Hamnett
Katharine Hamnett
Katharine E. Hamnett CBE is an English fashion designer best known for her political t-shirts and her ethical business philosophy. She graduated from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design....

-styled t-shirt during his crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

, prints of Alison Jackson
Alison Jackson
Alison Jackson is an English artist known for her lookalike photographs of celebrities. She has won a BAFTA for BBC 2's series Doubletake...

's works of a Princess Diana lookalike making obscene gestures and engaging in sex acts, a wax sculpture of Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 laughing as he reads his own obituary, and a Photoshopped image of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a homoerotic
Homoeroticism
Homoeroticism refers to the erotic attraction between members of the same sex, either male–male or female–female , most especially as it is depicted or manifested in the visual arts and literature. It can also be found in performative forms; from theatre to the theatricality of uniformed movements...

 pose. Emmerich, who is openly
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

 gay, and a financial supporter of U.S. progressive politics, states that the decorations and pieces aren't declarations of any beliefs, but rather reflections of his "predilection for art with a political edge".

Emmerich has claimed that he witnessed overt racism when producers and studio executives were opposed to allowing him to cast Will Smith
Will Smith
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. , also known by his stage name The Fresh Prince, is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood...

 for the lead in Independence Day, and reluctant to allow him to portray an interracial couple in The Day After Tomorrow. He has also claimed that he has encountered homophobia
Homophobia
Homophobia is a term used to refer to a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay and in some cases bisexual, transgender people and behavior, although these are usually covered under other terms such as biphobia and transphobia. Definitions refer to irrational fear, with the...

 from the same groups, and is vocal in his opposition of such behavior. He has stated that sometimes he does "[not like working in] the movie business", describing it as a sometimes "very cold, brutal business", but his motivation to keep directing is that he genuinely "like[s] making movies".

In 2006, he pledged $150,000 to the Legacy Project, a campaign dedicated to gay and lesbian film preservation. Emmerich made the donation on behalf of Outfest
Outfest
Outfest is an LGBT-oriented film showcase and festival in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1982 as the "Gay and Lesbian Media Festival and Conference", the name was changed to Outfest in 1994.-Programs:...

, making it the largest gift in the festival's history. In 2007, on behalf of the LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 community, he held a fundraiser at his Los Angeles home for Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Emmerich is in favor of the campaign for stunt performers
Stunt
A stunt is an unusual and difficult physical feat, or any act requiring a special skill, performed for artistic purposes in TV, theatre, or cinema...

 to receive recognition at the Academy Awards, and has worked to raise awareness over the issue of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. A chain-smoker who has been known to smoke as many as four packs of cigarettes a day, Emmerich has often included in his films characters who are trying to quit smoking, and/or warn against the dangers of tobacco use. Along with several other celebrities, he is a producer of The 1 Second Film
The 1 Second Film
The 1 Second Film is a non-profit collaborative art project being created by thousands of people around the world, including many celebrities....

, a non-profit project intended to raise money for women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 in the developing world
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

.

Filmography


In addition to film, Emmerich also co-created and produced the short-lived television series The Visitor
The Visitor (TV series)
The Visitor was a science fiction television series created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin which aired on Fox from 1997–1998. It starred John Corbett as Adam McArthur who was abducted by extraterrestrials 50 years earlier and escapes back to Earth to help improve life for...

, and, in 2001, directed a one-minute commercial
Television advertisement
A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product...

 entitled "Infinite Possibilities" for DaimlerChrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

.

Films

Year Title Credited as
Director Producer or
Executive Producer
Writer or
Co-writer
Actor
1979 Franzmann
1980 Altosax (Television film)
1984 The Noah's Ark Principle
Das Arche Noah Prinzip
The Noah's Ark Principle is a 1984 West German science fiction film written and directed by Roland Emmerich as his thesis at the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München ....

1985 Making Contact
Joey (1985 film)
Joey, also known as Making Contact, is a 1985 West German fantasy film from Centropolis Film Productions . The film was co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich...

1987 Ghost Chase
1990 Moon 44
Moon 44
Moon 44 is a 1990 science fiction, action film from Centropolis Film Productions, directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Michael Paré and Lisa Eichhorn and co-starring Brian Thompson.- Plot :...

1991 Eye of the Storm
1992 Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier (1992 film)
Universal Soldier is a 1992 American science fiction action film directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as soldiers who kill each other in Vietnam but are reanimated in a secret Army project along with a large group of other previously dead...

1994 The High Crusade
Stargate
Stargate (film)
Stargate is a 1994 American adventure-military science fiction film released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco Pictures. Created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the film is the first release in the Stargate franchise...

1996 Independence Day
Independence Day (film)
Independence Day is a 1996 science fiction film about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4 – the same...

1998 Godzilla
Godzilla (1998 film)
Godzilla is a 1998 science fiction monster disaster film film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. It is a loose remake of the 1954 giant monster classic Godzilla. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The film relates a tale of a nuclear incident...

1999 The Thirteenth Floor
The Thirteenth Floor
The Thirteenth Floor is a 1999 science fiction film directed by Josef Rusnak and loosely based upon Simulacron-3 , a novel by Daniel F. Galouye...

2000 The Patriot
The Patriot (2000 film)
The Patriot is a 2000 historical war film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat, and starring Mel Gibson, Chris Cooper, and Heath Ledger. It was produced by the Mutual Film Company and Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

2002 Eight Legged Freaks
Eight Legged Freaks
Eight Legged Freaks is a 2002 comedy horror directed by Ellory Elkayem and stars David Arquette, Kari Wührer and Scott Terra. The plot concerns a collection of spiders that are exposed to toxic waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions and begin killing and harvesting...

2004 The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American science-fiction disaster film that depicts the catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling which leads to a new ice age. The film did well at the box office, grossing $542,771,772 internationally...

2007 Trade
Trade (film)
Trade is a 2007 American film directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner and starring Kevin Kline. It was produced by Roland Emmerich and Rosilyn Heller. The film premiered January 23, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and opened in limited release on September 28, 2007...

2008 10,000 BC
10,000 BC (film)
10,000 BC is a 2008 American fantasy film from Warner Bros. Pictures set in the prehistoric era. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin...

2009 2012
2012 (film)
2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

2011 Anonymous
Anonymous (film)
Anonymous is a political thriller and historical drama which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011. Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff, the movie is a fictionalized version of the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan...

2011 Hell

TV series

Year Title Credited as
Director Producer or
Executive Producer
Writer or
Co-writer
1997–1998 The Visitor
The Visitor (TV series)
The Visitor was a science fiction television series created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin which aired on Fox from 1997–1998. It starred John Corbett as Adam McArthur who was abducted by extraterrestrials 50 years earlier and escapes back to Earth to help improve life for...


Rotten Tomatoes Ratings

Film All Critics Top Critics Audience
Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier (1992 film)
Universal Soldier is a 1992 American science fiction action film directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as soldiers who kill each other in Vietnam but are reanimated in a secret Army project along with a large group of other previously dead...

 
22% 29% 48%
Stargate
Stargate (film)
Stargate is a 1994 American adventure-military science fiction film released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco Pictures. Created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the film is the first release in the Stargate franchise...

 
47% N/A 75%
Independence Day
Independence Day (film)
Independence Day is a 1996 science fiction film about an alien invasion of Earth, focusing on a disparate group of individuals and families as they converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4 – the same...

 
60% 65% 75%
Godzilla
Godzilla (1998 film)
Godzilla is a 1998 science fiction monster disaster film film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. It is a loose remake of the 1954 giant monster classic Godzilla. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The film relates a tale of a nuclear incident...

 
26% 33% 38%
The Patriot
The Patriot (2000 film)
The Patriot is a 2000 historical war film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by Robert Rodat, and starring Mel Gibson, Chris Cooper, and Heath Ledger. It was produced by the Mutual Film Company and Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

 
62% 47% 80%
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American science-fiction disaster film that depicts the catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events that usher in global cooling which leads to a new ice age. The film did well at the box office, grossing $542,771,772 internationally...

 
45% 43% 57%
10,000 BC
10,000 BC (film)
10,000 BC is a 2008 American fantasy film from Warner Bros. Pictures set in the prehistoric era. It was directed by Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle. The world premiere was held on February 10, 2008 at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin...

 
9% 10% 44%
2012
2012 (film)
2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures...

 
39% 31% 63%
Anonymous
Anonymous (film)
Anonymous is a political thriller and historical drama which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011. Directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff, the movie is a fictionalized version of the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan...

 
46% 40% 66%
Average 39% 37% 60%

External links