Roland Emmerich

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Roland Emmerich
Image of the person
Biographical informations
Birth (1955-11-10) November 10, 1955 (age 62)
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Nationality German
Informations about family
Relatives Ute Emmerich (sister)
Professional informations
Occupation Film director, producer and screenwriter
Years active 1984—present
Stargate universe-related informations
Related film(s)/series Stargate
Occupation in Stargate Writer,

Roland Emmerich (German: [ˈʁoːlant ˈɛməʁɪç]) (born November 10, 1955) is a German 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 directors. His films have grossed just over $1 billion in the United States, making him the country's 14th-highest grossing director of all time.[1][2][3] He began his work in the film industry by directing the film The Noah's Ark Principle as part of his university thesis and also co-founded Centropolis Entertainment in 1985 with his sister. He is a collector of art and an active campaigner for the lesbian and gay community, himself being openly gay.[4] He is also a campaigner for an awareness of global warming and equal rights.

Emmerich has directed many successful films, mostly disaster films such as Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and 2012 (2009); also Stargate (1994) and The Patriot (2000). Although many of his films have been successful in the box office, others such as Universal Soldier (1992), Godzilla (1998) and 10,000 BC (2008) have been panned by critics.[5]

Early life[edit]

Emmerich was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and grew up in the nearby town of Sindelfingen.[6] 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.[7] In 1977, he began attending University of Television and Film Munich with the intention of studying to become a production designer.[7][8]


After watching Star Wars, he instead decided to enroll in the school's film director program.[7][9] 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 in 1984.[8]

In 1985, he founded Centropolis Film Productions (now Centropolis Entertainment) in partnership with his sister, producer Ute Emmerich, and directed his major film debut, a fantasy feature named Joey.[7] He subsequently directed the 1987 comedy Hollywood-Monster and the 1990 science-fiction film Moon 44. Theatrically, these were only released in and nearby his native country, although Emmerich filmed them in English and went against conventional German styles in an attempt to appeal to a larger market.[7][10] This subsequently resulted in Moon 44 being released direct-to-video 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.

Hollywood director[edit]

Producer Mario Kassar invited Emmerich to come to the United States to direct a futuristic action film entitled Isobar.[11] Dean Devlin, who appeared in Moon 44, soon joined Emmerich as his writing and producing partner, and served in this capacity until 2000.[10] Emmerich subsequently refused the offer to direct after producers rejected Devlin's re-write of the script, and the Isobar project was eventually scrapped.[11] Instead, Emmerich was hired to replace director Andrew Davis for the action movie Universal Soldier. 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.

Emmerich next helmed the 1994 science-fiction film Stargate. At the time, it set a record for the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film released in the month of October.[12] It became more commercially successful than most film industry insiders had anticipated,[10][13] and spawned a highly popular media franchise.

Emmerich then directed Independence Day, an alien invasion feature, released in 1996, that became the first film to gross $100 million in less than a week[14][15] and went on to become one of the most financially successful films of all time,[16] at one point having been the second-highest grossing film in terms of worldwide box office.[17] Emmerich and Devlin then created the television series The Visitor, which aired on the Fox Network during 1997–1998 before being cancelled after one season.

His next film, Godzilla, 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 mixed reviews. It garnered a Saturn Award for Best Special Effects, a BMI Film Music Award, and the Audience Award for Best Director at the European Film Awards while also receiving a Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel. On IMDb, it rates a 5.0/10.0 [18] and has only a 26% fresh rating (38% fresh for Audience ratings) on Rotten Tomatoes.[19]

Taking a short break from science-fiction, Emmerich next directed the American Revolutionary War epic The Patriot. 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,[20] and is Emmerich's best-reviewed film to date.[21][22] After teaming up with new screenwriting partner Harald Kloser, Emmerich returned once again to directing a visual effects-laden adventure with 2004's blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, another disaster film about a rapidly oncoming Ice Age brought upon by the effects of global warming. Soon afterward, he founded Reelmachine, another film production company based in Germany.

In 2008, Emmerich directed 10,000 BC, a film about the journeys of a prehistoric tribe of mammoth hunters. It was a box office hit, but consistently regarded by professional critics as one of the worst movies of the year.[23] He was slated to direct a remake of the 1966 science-fiction film Fantastic Voyage,[24] but the project slipped back into development hell. In 2009, Emmerich directed 2012,[25] an apocalyptic disaster film based on the conspiracy theory that the ancient Mayans prophesied the world's ending on December 21, 2012.[26] 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.[8][10]

His next film, Anonymous, released on 28 October 2011, is based on the premise that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford is the real author of the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare.[27] 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 on one side and the Cecils 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.'"[28] The release date for Anonymous coincided with the completion of the 13th Baktun, the date which marks the empirical base for Emmerich's film 2012, as this is celebrated by the surviving indigenous Maya, specifically the Quiché people.

Personal life[edit]

Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, Manhattan, London and Stuttgart.[7][29][30][31][32] Emmerich likes to decorate his homes in a self-described "outlandish" manner,[32] adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures, and World War II-Militaria.[7][31]

Emmerich's extensive collection of artwork includes a painting of Jesus Christ wearing a Katharine Hamnett-styled t-shirt during his crucifixion,[32] prints of Alison Jackson's works of a Princess Diana lookalike making obscene gestures and engaging in sex acts,[30][33] a wax sculpture of Pope John Paul II laughing as he reads his own obituary,[30][33] and a Photoshopped image of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a homoerotic pose.[32] Emmerich, who is openly gay,[4] and a financial supporter of U.S. progressive politics,[34] states that the decorations and pieces aren't declarations of any beliefs,[32] but rather reflections of his "predilection for art with a political edge".[33]

Emmerich has claimed that he witnessed overt racism when producers and studio executives were opposed to allowing him to cast Will Smith for the lead in Independence Day, and reluctant to allow him to portray an interracial couple in The Day After Tomorrow.[35] He has also claimed that he has encountered homophobia from the same groups, and is vocal in his opposition of such behavior.[35] 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".[7]

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, making it the largest gift in the festival's history.[36] In 2007, on behalf of the LGBT community, he held a fundraiser at his Los Angeles home for Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.[31]

Emmerich is in favor of the campaign for stunt performers to receive recognition at the Academy Awards, and has worked to raise awareness over the issue of global warming.[37][38] He once was a chain-smoker who was known to smoke as many as four packs of cigarettes a day,[39] 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, a non-profit project intended to raise money for women's rights in the developing world.[40]

Involvement in the Stargate universe[edit]

Screenwriter, director[edit]



Year Title Function Notes
 ???? Independence Day 2 producer announced
2013 White House Down producer post-production
2012 Last Will & Testament executive producer
2011 Anonymous producer
2011 Hell executive producer
2009 2012 executive producer
2008 10,000 BC producer
2007 Trade producer
2004 The Day After Tomorrow producer
2002 Eight Legged Freaks executive producer
2000 The Patriot executive producer
1999 The Thirteenth Floor producer
1998 Godzilla executive producer
1996 Independence Day executive producer
1994 The High Crusade producer
1991 Eye of the Storm executive producer
1990 Moon 44 producer
1985 Joey co-producer
1984 Das Arche Noah Prinzip co-producer
Year Title Function Notes
2012 Dark Horse executive producer TV movie
1998-2000 Godzilla: The Series executive producer TV series, 40 episodes
1997 The Visitor executive producer TV series


Year Title Function Notes
2013 White House Down Director post-production
2011 Anonymous Director
2009 2012 Director
2008 10,000 BC Director
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Director
2000 The Patriot Director
1998 Godzilla Director
1996 Independence Day Director
1994 Stargate Director
1992 Universal Soldier Director
1990 Moon 44 Director
1987 Hollywood-Monster Director
1985 Joey Director
1984 Das Arche Noah Prinzip Director
1979 Franzmann Director
1979 Wilde Witwe Director Short
Year Title Function Notes
2012 Dark Horse Director TV movie


Year Title Function Notes
 ???? Independence Day 2 characters announced
2009 2012 written by
2008 10,000 BC written by
2004 The Day After Tomorrow screenplay / story
1998 Godzilla screenplay / story
1996 Independence Day written by
1994 Stargate written by
1990 Moon 44 story
1987 Hollywood-Monster
1985 Joey written by
1984 Das Arche Noah Prinzip
1979 Franzmann writer
Year Title Function Notes
2012 Dark Horse TV movie
1998 Stargate SG-1 Excerpts TV series, uncredited, landing of Ra's mothership in "Politics"
1980 Altosax TV movie


Production Designer
Year Title Function Notes
1979 Smash - Gefahr aus der Unendlichkeit Production Designer Short
1979 Wilde Witwe Production Designer Short
Special Effects
Year Title Function Notes
1985 Joey Special Effects Film
Camera and Electrical Department
Year Title Function Notes
1985 Joey second camera Film
Year Title Function Notes
1980 Altosax Actor TV movie
Year Title Function Notes
1979 Franzmann Editor Film

Awards and nominations[edit]

Emmerich won six awards.

Year Award Category Work Result
1984 Golden Berlin Bear Das Arche Noah Prinzip Nominated
1986 International Fantasy Film Award Best Film Das Arche Noah Prinzip Nominated
1987 International Fantasy Film Award Best Film Joey Nominated
1995 International Fantasy Film Award Best Film Stargate Nominated
1997 Saturn Award Best Writer Independence Day Nominated
1997 Saturn Award Best Director Independence Day Won
1997 Amanda Award Best Foreign Feature Film (Årets utenlandske spillefilm) Independence Day Won
1998 Audience Award Best Director Godzilla Won
1999 Saturn Award Best Director Godzilla Nominated
2009 Honorary Bambi "Germans in Hollywood" Won
2012 Film Award in Gold Outstanding Feature Film (Bester Spielfilm) Anonymous Nominated


  1. "Roland Emmerich". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  2. "Roland Emmerich". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  3. "The top 25 highest grossing film directors". The New Politickler. January 16, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Robert Urban (January 23, 2007). "Powerful Gay Men in Hollywood". AfterElton. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  5. "Roland Emmerich". Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  6. Rebecca Ascher-Walsh (August 22, 1995). "Space Under Fire". Entertainment Weekly.,,293332_4,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 By Hilary Whiteman (March 7, 2008). "Roland Emmerich, the accidental director openly gay". CNN. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 By Hilary Whiteman (March 10, 2008). "Roland Emmerich: Making it big". CNN. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  9. The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials, [2004]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Richard Corliss (July 8, 1996). "THE INVASION HAS BEGUN!". TIME.,9171,984815-5,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Patrick Lee, Maria Virobik (21-JULY-06). "Devlin's Isobar Moves Forward". Sci Fi Wire. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  12. "TOP OPENING WEEKENDS BY MONTH". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  13. Rebecca Ascher-Walsh (July 28, 1995). "Space Under Fire". Entertainment Weekly.,,293332,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  14. A.J. Jacobs (July 19, 1996). "The Day After". Entertainment Weekly.,,293427,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  15. Film History of the 1990s Retrieved on July 8, 2008.
  16. "Independence Day." Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on July 8, 2008.
  17. "William Fay Bio." Retrieved on March 4, 2008.
  18. Godzilla (1998). [review]. Internet Movie DataBase. Accessed 7 June 2012.
  19. Godzilla (1998). [review]. Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed 7 June 2012.
  20. "The Patriot". Metacritic. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  21. "Roland Emmerich (search results)". Metacritic. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  22. "Roland Emmerich". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  23. "Tomato Picker 2008 films with <10% "fresh" ratings". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  24. Fleming, Michael (August 15, 2007). "Emmerich to captain 'Voyage'". Retrieved August 15, 2007. 
  25. Fleming, Michael (February 21, 2008). "Sony buys Emmerich's '2012'". Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  26. Pawlowski, Agnes (January 27, 2009). Apocalypse in 2012? Date spawns theories, film. CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  27. Coming Attractions
  28. de Semlyen, Phil (February 25, 2010). "Roland Emmerich's Next Is 'Anonymous' About Shakespeare". Bauer Consumer Media (Empire Online). Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ugo
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "BRILLIANT OR BAD TASTE? Director Roland Emmerich's Knightsbridge Townhouse". Cottage Industries. September 5, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 "LGBT hold fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at Roland Emmerich's Hollywood Home". July 22, 2007. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Kathryn Harris (25 October 2008). "There's no manifesto". London: The Guardian. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Hruska, Rachelle J. (October 7, 2008). "Roland Emmerich's Far From Conservative Style". Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  34. "FUNDRACE 2008". The Huffington Post. 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2009. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 The Day After Tomorrow Director/Producer DVD Commentary (2004)
  36. "Hollywood director helps save gay and lesbian films". January 25, 2006. Retrieved March 28, 2007. 
  37. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CC
  38. "An interview with Roland Emmerich". May 1, 2004. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  39. Rebecca Ascher-Walsh (July 12, 1996). "SPACE UNDER FIRE". Entertainment Weekly.,,293332,00.html. Retrieved July 8, 2008. 
  40. "Roland Emmerich". Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
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Facts about "Roland Emmerich"
Birth countryGermany +
Birth dateNovember 10, 1955 +
Director ofStargate (movie) +
Has directed inWhite House Down (film) +, Anonymous (film) +, 2012 (film) +, 10,000 BC (film) +, The Day After Tomorrow (film) +, The Patriot (film) +, Godzilla (film) +, Independence Day (film) +, Universal Soldier (film) +, Moon 44 (film) +, Hollywood-Monster (film) +, Joey (film) +, Das Arche Noah Prinzip (film) +, Franzmann (film) +, Wilde Witwe (short) + and Dark Horse (TV movie) +
Has written in2012 (film) +, 10,000 BC (film) +, The Day After Tomorrow (film) +, Godzilla (film) +, Independence Day (film) +, Moon 44 (film) +, Hollywood-Monster(film) +, Joey (film) +, Das Arche Noah Prinzip (film) +, Franzmann (film) +, Dark Horse (TV movie) + and Altosax (TV movie) +
Infobox imageRoland Emmerich.jpg +
Month-Day birthNovember 10 +
MovieStargate (movie) +
NameRoland Emmerich +
NationalityGerman +
OccupationDirector +, Producer + and Screenwriter +
Producer ofIndependence Day 2 (film) +, White House Down (film) +, Last Will & Testament (documentary) +, Anonymous (film) +, Hell (film) +, 2012 (film) +, 10,000 BC (film) +, Trade (film) +, The Day After Tomorrow (film) +, Eight Legged Freaks (film) +, The Patriot (film) +, The Thirteenth Floor (film) +, Godzilla (film) +, Independence Day (film) +, The High Crusade (film) +, Eye of the Storm (film) +, Moon 44 (film) +, Joey (film) +, Das Arche Noah Prinzip (film) +, Dark Horse (TV movie) +, Godzilla: The Series (TV series) + and The Visitor (TV series) +
ProvRoland Emmerich +
SisterUte Emmerich +
Stargate occupationWriter + and Director +
Writer ofStargate (movie) +
Year active start1984 +