Roland Emmerich is a German screenwriter and film director best known for his blockbuster films. These include Independence Day, the 1998 Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 B.C., 2012, Anonymous, White House Down, and Independence Day: Resurgence.
Emmerich and his writing partner, Dean Devlin, were approached early on by TriStar Pictures following completion of the original script - written by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot - for the unmade 1994 Godzilla film by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot. While Devlin was reportedly on board with the project initially, Emmerich immediately refused, wondering why Sony thought he would ever be interested in directing such a movie given that he had never been a big fan of the franchise. Ultimately, the pair decided to pass on the offer, feeling they wouldn't be able to make it properly.
Following the departure of the original director, Jan De Bont, in December of 1994 due to budgeting disagreements, TriStar approached Emmerich and Devlin once again to direct the film. While Emmerich initially refused once more, he eventually accepted the project on the condition that he could re-write Rossio and Elliot's script and handle the movie in his own style.
TriStar agreed and Emmerich was brought on as the film's new director with Devlin as the producer; the pair acted as co-writers for the new script. However, with the film being long anticipated, there was much pressure on the release date and Emmerich made it a priority to release the film around Memorial Day in 1998.
As development of the film progressed, Emmerich and Devlin's intent to stay true to their word was clear. The pair had their special effect supervisor and creature designer, Patrick Tatapoulos, redesign Godzilla as a smaller and faster monster with a brand-new look that bore little resemblance to the original monster. They made their version of the famous kaiju reproduce asexually, while also being vulnerable to man-made weapons (F-18 Hornet missiles) and retreating from the military.
The film was finally released on May 20, 1998 and grossed about $136,314,294 domestically and $379,014,294 worldwide. However, critics and fans alike expressed displeasure with the new take on Godzilla.
Emmerich later admitted that he was never a fan of the earlier Godzilla films, stating “I was never a big Godzilla fan, they were just the weekend matinees you saw as a kid, like Hercules films and the really bad Italian westerns. You’d see them with all your friends and just laugh.” Emmerich also stated that he regretted rushing the film to meet the Memorial Day deadline, ultimately admitting that he should not have been chosen to direct the film. After TriStar's rights to the Godzilla series reverted to Toho in 2003, Toho re-trademarked the version of Godzilla from Emmerich's film for their own use, naming it "Zilla" and introducing it in the film Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004. Zilla has subsequently appeared in other media licensed by Toho.
While Emmerich's film didn't get a motion picture sequel, it did spawn an animated series known as Godzilla: The Series with Devlin and himself serving as executive producers on the show. The series received acclaim for making Godzilla true to his namesake by giving him invulnerability to modern weapons and giving him back his fearless nature.
In May of 2014, Emmerich said on Twitter that he planned to see the new American Godzilla film, as he had faith in the director of that film, Gareth Edwards, and had no intention of comparing it to his own film.
- Wilde Witwe (1979)
- The Noah's Ark Principle (1984)
- Joey (1985)
- Hollywood-Monster (1987)
- Moon 44 (1990)
- Universal Soldier (1992)
- Stargate (1994)
- Independence Day (1996)
- Godzilla (1998)
- The Patriot (2000)
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
- 10,000 BC (2008)
- 2012 (2009)
- Anonymous (2011)
- Dark Horse (2012)
- White House Down (2013)
- Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
- Midway (2019)
- Eye of the Storm (1991)
- The High Crusade (1994)
- The Visitor (1997)
- Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)
- The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
- Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
- Trade (2007)
- Hell (2011)
- Last Will & Testament (2012)
- Altosax (1980)
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