Birthday: November 10, 1955
Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Roland
Born in: Stuttgart, Germany
Famous as: Film Director, Screenwriter
father: Hans Emmerich
siblings: Andreas Emmerich, Ute Emmerich, Wolfgang Emmerich
City: Stuttgart, Germany
Founder/Co-Founder: Centropolis Film Productions, Centropolis Entertainment
education: University of Television and Film Munich
awards: Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Order of Merit of Baden-Württemberg
Roland Emmerich is a German film director, producer, and screenwriter. Growing up amidst the independent era of German cinema where small time directors like Rainer Werner and Wim Wenders were earning name and fame due to their low budget artsy endeavours, Roland Emmerich aspired to become a big time filmmaker. Born and raised in Germany, Roland started his film career with the student film ‘The Noah’s Ark Principle’, which happened to be the costliest student film ever. He then moved on to Hollywood, to make a long lasting career in the big budgeted disaster genre films and rightly so he became what he aspired to be - one of the most bankable Hollywood directors. He made ‘Universal Soldier’ in 1992, which was a success and followed it up with ‘Stargate’. ‘Independence Day’ was the film which finally settled him in the big leagues of American filmmakers and he continues to be one till date. The film filled with loud violence and CGI imagery, became one of the most iconic alien invasion films despite being criticised for being too cheesy for ‘smart audiences’. He still remains one of the rare directors whose films are constantly criticized for being mindless and yet he remains one of the most successful directors of all times.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on 10th November 1955 in Stuttgart, Germany, Roland Emmerich was a creative kid. While in school, he would come home and spend hours on sculptures and paintings, eventually developing a flair for designing aliens and monsters. He grew up in West Germany’s Sindelfingen and hailed from a wealthy family, which enabled him to embark on frequent vacations across Europe. He did his early schooling from his hometown and eventually went on to study at University of Television and Film, Munich.
His tryst with filmmaking happened early as he used to devour American and native German films in high volumes. Although he admired the German directors and their independent spirits at that time, he always wanted to achieve a bigger name and fame as a production designer, which made him get attracted to Hollywood. He studied production design at the Munich University, and a life changing event happened to him when he went and watched ‘Star Wars’ in the theatres. He changed his mind and started dreaming of becoming a film director, and enrolled himself in University’s film direction program.
For the completion of the programme, he needed to submit a short film, but he went ahead with a feature length film, which he himself wrote, produced and directed. The film was called ‘The Noah’s Ark Principle’ and in the year 1984, it was showcased at the Berlin Film Festival, where it met with polarising reviews. But getting his film showcased in a film festival as big was a victory and an amazing feat in itself, making him one of the most talented young filmmakers to look forward to.
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Excited with the response he received for his student film, Roland Emmerich decided to start a film production company of himself, with the help of his sister. He borrowed money from his father, who happened to be a prolific businessman, and laid the foundation of Centropolis Entertainment. Under his newly found production house, Roland made his first feature film titled ‘Joey’, which was a fantasy film. In order to appeal to Hollywood producers, he made his film in English language, which was not usual for a German film. His intentions were clear; he wanted to flee to Hollywood on the first chance he got.
One other film of his, ‘Hollywood Monster’ got a home video release in America and the gamble of making them in English language paid off, as it made him sort of a famous entity among the Hollywood film community. However, his most successful film in America was ‘Moon 44’, an English language science fiction film, which caught the attention of producer Mario Cassar, who contacted Roland and invited him over for a meeting. He wanted Roland to make a film titled ‘Isobar’, for which Roland got excited. But eventually, the creative differences led the film to get scrapped.
‘Universal Soldier’ was the film with which Roland made his Hollywood directorial debut in the year 1992. He was a replacement to Andrew Davis, who walked out of the project for some reasons. The film released and fared nicely on the box office, but earned critical backlash, to some degree. But the box office returns worked in Roland’s favour and he went on to direct his second Hollywood venture ‘Stargate’ which released in 1994 and became one of the highest grossing films that year, establishing Roland into the ranks of the most successful fresh American film directors.
His next venture ‘Independence Day’ became one of the highest grossing American films of all times and the follow up to that, ‘Godzilla’ was also a mammoth box office success. Despite the money coming in, the films were poorly received by the critics for their cheesy and brainless treatment but Roland could care less. And yet, he changed gears, as his next film was ‘The Patriot’, which was a moderate budget period drama film and went on to receive good reviews and still remains, to this date Roland’s best reviewed film. Roland proved that he can indeed make a hardcore commercial film to critical and commercial success.
For his next venture, he returned to the CGI laden hardcore commercial genre of filmmaking with ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ in 2004, a film about the growing dangers of global warming, which was a box office success. The next one was ’10,000 BC’, a film about ancient tribesmen of mammoth hunters which although was a box office hit, was poorly received by the critics and known, to this date as his worst film. In 2009 came ‘2012’, a disaster film about the world coming to an end in the year 2012, which was again, a commercial success but a critical dud.
Roland followed the success with ‘Anonymous’ and ‘White House Down’, both the films were made on big budgets and made ample money for the producers. And in June 2016, came ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, Roland’s sequel to ‘Independence Day’ and proved to be a commercially successful film. Roland’s next venture is slated to be about the Battle of Midway, which occurred during the Second World War. And it would be very interesting to see his point of view, due to the fact that he is a German and works in America, two biggest enemy countries at each other’s throats during the Second World War.
Personal Life & Legacy
Roland Emmerich is one of the very few celebrities who have claimed to be openly gay. However, he keeps his personal life private, and most of the information about his dating life is largely unknown.
Roland is strongly against racism and exposed Hollywood’s mindset during the making of his film ‘Independence Day’. Will Smith, although a great actor now and one of the biggest Hollywood superstars, was not supposed to be playing one of the lead characters in the film, due to the fact that he was black, despite being the first choice of Roland. The studios and executive producers locked horns with Roland and asked him to cast a white actor for the role, but Roland refused. The same happened with ‘The Day after Tomorrow’, where he portrayed an interracial couple. Miffed from this discrimination, Roland once said that if it wasn’t for the love he has towards cinema, he would have left Hollywood already.
He is an avid supporter of LGBT rights, anti-smoking campaigns and women empowerment.