Exclusive: Emmerich On Fantastic Voyage

The director talks sci-fi remake

As you may have heard, Roland Emmerich, the man who obliterated The White House in Independence Day and flooded much of Manhattan in the unfairly maligned Day After Tomorrow, is planning a remake of camp sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage. Empire sat down with the director recently and he talked about his long history with the project and some major changes he's planning to the film before he gets behind the camera.

“I was attached to this project 15 years ago with [former producing partner] Dean Devlin and then we gave it back because we wanted to do some other original projects we had developed,” Emmerich remembers of his long association with the much mooted remake of the 1968 movie, in which a titchy crew in a tiny submarine is injected into a human body to do battle with corpuscles. “Then James Cameron came in and worked on the project. Two years ago Jim called me up and said ‘Roland I want you to look at the script for Fantastic Voyage – it’s not there yet’. And he sent it over and I hated the script.”

Key among Emmerich’s gripes was the screenplay’s futuristic setting. “ I said why have you put this in the future? I said let this happen now. It’s so much more cool and fun when we can say to a normal person from now, 'well we’re going to make you microscopic and put you in some submarine which we will shrink down and you have to do this stuff inside a body.’"

The signature Cameron militarism also didn't sit well with Emmerich's vision. “There were two submarines in the body. It was like a Navy SEALS film. And then the president of production at Fox – me and my partner and him all go surfing together – says 'Well, will you do it with a page one rewrite and we won’t start until you’re happy with the script?' So then I said yes. The key is I won’t do it unless it’s going to be a good movie.”

Marianne and Cormac Wibberley (National Treasure 2) are currently rewriting the script. It seems unlikely that shooting will commence pre-strike, so we could potentially be looking at a 2010 release for the movie.