Roland Emmerich, who is planning to direct a trilogy of films based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, is getting ready to read Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan)'s screenplay for the first Foundation. Rodat has already warned Emmerich that the script is an unmanageable length, so Emmerich will have to do some editing.
"Bob is writing," Emmerich said today in a news conference at Comic-Con San Diego, where he was promoting 2012. "He already announced to me it's a very long script, so prepare myself. I don't know, I haven't read it yet, but I said, 'How long is it, Bob?' He said, 'When I wrote The Patriot [first draft] it was first 240 pages.' [I said,] 'Jesus, is it longer than that?' He said, 'You can cut it down.' We have to. He's a writer who just writes it out, writes it out and just said he has to spit it out on paper. He loves to write, write, write and uses you as the director more as an editor who edits him down and condenses it."
Known for bombastic end-of-the-world movies like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, Emmerich is taking a different approach to Foundation. He said he is focusing on character, because the Asimov series was not written with any narrative thread. One was a collection of short stories, another a complete novella, but the film trilogy has to be an actor's vehicle.
"It was never really meant to be one narrative," Emmerich continued. "When you make a movie, you need one narrative. You need one actor, one character leads us through, one bad guy leads us through. That was the tricky thing to figure out. It was just difficult to figure that out."
Perhaps this will be Emmerich's Lord of the Rings trilogy, that even makes haters respect him as a filmmaker? "I hope so," he said. "Foundation is just a book series I was very fortunate to get, because a lot of people wanted to have it. I'm just developing the first of actually three planned movies. First is Foundation, then Foundation and Empire, then Second Foundation."