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Emmerich To Direct Foundation
Asimov's sci-fi classic headed to screen

19 January 2009  |  Written by Helen O'Hara  

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Here's a story to file firmly in the, "wait, whaaaa?" category: Roland Emmerich is set to direct Foundation, the first of Isaac Asimov's books about the collapse of a galactic civilisation and the single planet that may hold the key to rebuilding it.

The book's a science fiction classic, but one not heavy on the explosions or giant lizards or sabretooth tigers that are the usual hallmark of the Emmerich metier. The story is hinged around the development of something called "psychohistory", a cross between sociology and mathematics that makes it possible to predict the path that a civilisation will take.

The founder of this science, Hari Seldon, foresees the collapse of the galactic empire of his day, and establishes a colony on a planet called Terminus. This outpost is supposedly to compile an Encyclopaedia Galactica that will preserve technology and history through the dark ages, but in fact serves as an experiment in psychohistory, a planet whose very existence will change the destiny of the kingdoms around it as the empire collapses. The first novel, essentially a collection of short stories, sees Terminus weather the first 175 years of its existence - but there's a whole series of books in the series, including a slightly more action-y prequel and another on the second planetary colony that preserves the secrets of psychohistory itself.

It's probably fair to say that it's not the most Emmerich-y science fiction ever written, but it fits in nicely with his apocalyptic visions (99% of civilisation collapses; a few brave souls fight back) at least. And it is one of Asimov's stronger and more intriguing ideas even though, as he often did, he milked it dry over the series of sequels.

Emmerich's currently working on 2012, another vision of the apocalypse, but there's no writer yet attached to this adaptation so we've got some breathing room before we see it. Watch this space for further developments.

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Your Comments

Don't screw it up and call it good!
I'm very excited for this movie. To me, when watching the film, if it makes me think of the book in a "good" way (well done), then I'll like it. I'm reading the Foundation novels over again starting with Prelude; I'm just finishing Fdn's Edge now. :D More

Posted by CooLDsteR at 02:11 on 26 January 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Emmerich To Direct Foundation
I've loved the books since I was a kid. I just don't see the story as a cinematic one unless they put loads of giant robotic lizards, space battles and bare nekkid ladies in it. I feel that a quality tv series would be a better vehicle for the Foundation trilogy. armies of Foundation fight the evil Empire lead by the Mule and Will Smith appearing as a hologram from the past every so often p; Be careful what you wish for... More

Posted by FGT at 09:26 on 20 January 2009 | Report This Post

cross between stargate and titan AE
titan AE wa spretty good animationa dn this could be a similar concept More

Posted by miketang99 at 05:21 on 20 January 2009 | Report This Post

Oh dear...
Well, it was a fun idea while it lasted... More

Posted by Evil_Monkey25 at 19:52 on 19 January 2009 | Report This Post

RE: :(
I've never considered the Foundation novels to lend themselves to film adaptations either. I'm not holding out too much hope for this one. More

Posted by HitchHiker at 16:24 on 19 January 2009 | Report This Post

RE: :(
I've never thought that those books made for particularly filmic stories. I suppose if they combined Foundation and Foundation and Empire you would at least get some spaceships and a 'villian'.   Would be interesting if this and Dune came out at the same time as the series of books by both authors was almost a back and forth argument about the merits of psychohistory.   But I am prepared for a movie where the armies of Foundation fight the evil Empire lea More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 15:51 on 19 January 2009 | Report This Post

Unless Emmerich possesses a hidden talent for producing a strong narrative and some excellent performances, as well as perhaps a decent sense of discovery and acheivement (of psychohistory) rather than simply a capability to make effects shots this is bad news for any fans of decent thought provoking sci fi. i'll probably end up loving 2012 now and have to hastily rethink my assessment... More

Posted by richCie at 13:56 on 19 January 2009 | Report This Post

Doesn't sound like much fun does it?
Can't imagine audiences thrilling to the 'psychohistory' - unless Emmerich jettisons all that for loads of really cool galaxy sized explosions. Give him his due he is an articulate and competent filmaker, even despite the mis-step of 10,000 BC (Imagine the pitch for that one "It's Apocalypto.....for kids!"). Maybe he should just remake Zardoz, that's a film ripe for the reimaginng More

Posted by TheMadFatChickKiller at 13:00 on 19 January 2009 | Report This Post

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