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Roland Emmerich on 2012

Published November 11, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Columbia Pictures
2012 Poster2012
At this point, Roland Emmerich could just destroy the world in a montage and people would go. He doesn’t have to indulge the formalities of a story, but he still does. 2012 isn’t just carnage.

Roland Emmerich Destroys the World by 2012


“I’ll tell you now, as short as I can, it’s the story of people who know that the world is coming to an end, and people who don’t know,” Emmerich said. “The people who know secretly build ships. It’s the government of the world, secretly building ships and not telling the people. Then they kind of discover that the world comes much faster to an end than they anticipated and they have to race to these ships. That’s the one story. The other story is like a totally normal person goes with his kids to Yellowstone, and learns from a crazy radio host that the world is going to end. Because a lot of things what this guy says happens, starts to believe in it and then rescues, he’s a divorced father, his first thought is like kind of his children and his ex-wife and then he rescues them. In the rescue attempt he has to go all the way, he has to bring them to China, he kind of reconciles with his wife and his kids.”

Then along the way, everything west of Las Vegas just sinks into the ground. Let the man tell you, it’s not easy to make that happen. “We have more and more to say in our visual effect review, every day. We’re kind of like sitting for two or three hours, in a room, I sit, they sit even much longer. They sit there another two or three hours because they review everything before I see it. So we have this thing: never, never, never, give up. It’s like Winston Churchill. And it’s a really true thing for visual effects, because you can only abandon visual effects, and then you’re like born too early, you’re late and you’re kind of pissed at yourself. So because we’re like three guys, everybody has to be happy. It’s really a democratic process.”



It’s not just the Mayans who think 2012 is the end. Any environmentalist believes we’re on our way out. That’s not really the point of 2012 though. Emmerich already did that in <B>The Day After Tomorrow</b>. “It doesn’t have an environmental message, because I would have repeated myself, but it has a very kind of cool philosophical base. Yu have to actually see the movie to understand what I mean, because there’s constantly discussions going on. Is this right what we’re doing? This one person constantly gives you the feeling, yeah, it’s right what your doing, but then this lingering like kind of doubt. Throughout the movie, the one who has the lingering doubt is the one who wins out.”

Even if we survive this one, don’t get too comfy. The cycle is just bound to repeat itself. “It’s pretty much nature. It’s nature. It’s a curse every like 640,000 years. It’s a little bit like, look, I have the feeling and it’s like my feeling, so I cannot prove it or anything, but I have the feeling that kind of like this earth in a way has a replay, a restart and it’s just like a gigantic restart. I think all the flood myths have that too. My last movie actually was based on one of these theories, it was of course the lost civilization theory, it was also like kind of the big cataclysm and they were kind of destroyed, these cultures. It’s just something I believe in, and a lot of people actually believe in, but regular science naturally cannot confirm this.”

2012 opens to theaters on November 13th.

For the trailers, clips, posters and more movie info, go to the 2012 Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Columbia Pictures
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