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Exclusive: Emmerich Talks Foundation
Robert Rodat delivers first draft

01 March 2010  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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Judging by the next two projects on Roland Emmerich's slate, the German director is fast tiring of planet-pummeling cataclysms. Next up is Anonymous, shooting this month, with the Elizabethan political thriller likely to be followed by his long-planned Isaac Asimov adaptation Foundation.

That's right - he's moving onto galactic civilisation-pummeling cataclysms. Or is he? “Well, it depends on the script,” Emmerich told us when we spoke to him. “We’ve got a script from Robert Rodat now and it’s 240 pages long! I said, ‘You know what guys? Edit it down to at least under 200 pages.’”

Of course, Rodat’s first draft of The Patriot was similarly epic and the task of condensing Asimov’s seven volume series into something filmable was always likely to be Sisyphean. Emmerich isn’t deterred from his quest to bring the seminal sci-fi to the screen: “I’m really into it. I worked with Bob on the story for weeks, sitting in a room trying to figure out how to make all the loose stories [work] and put them in a box called ‘Foundation’. Bob’s perfect for this thing - he also knows as a writer he has to find the hero and a bad guy in the piece. We had to come up with characters that go through [the series], which is very hard.”

No word yet on how the narrative or how the pair will impose a three-act structure on out of the creation of future-predicting psychohistory, the collapse of civilisation and the establishment of a new colony on the planet Terminus but, the director assures us, his take on Foundation will avoid the pitfalls of previous Asimov adaptations. “I, Robot as a book was so much more than it was as a film and I think, because of that, fans were very disappointed. I don’t want to repeat that disappointment; I want to give people exactly what the Foundation trilogy is. You have to tell a story that represents the books but also works as a film. That’s the challenge.”

Emmerich confirmed that, should it get the green light, Foundation would see him dip into James Cameron’s box of tricks. As MTV Movies Blog recently revealed, he’ll use 3D performance-capture to generate Asimov’s take on Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “I want to create everything - I want it to be a full CG film, so [performance capture] is perfect for that.” For a full Foundation synopsis, click here.


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Your Comments

Not sure how their going to do this. Is he going condense the first 3 novels into one or shoot them as 3 seperate films?? Plus theres the other 4 books More

Posted by mogwatch at 09:42 on 06 March 2010 | Report This Post

RE: RE:
L: Rgirvan44 I suspect the movie will have Hari Seldon literally outrunning the collapsing Empire. ill he have a problem with his son and repressed feelings for his ex-wife, brought together by a massive calamity? More

Posted by Deviation at 00:38 on 03 March 2010 | Report This Post

RE: RE:
Its not really a trilogy. While in three books, Foundation is really a collection of short stories spanning a long period of time. I suspect the movie will have Hari Seldon literally outrunning the collapsing Empire. More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 22:04 on 02 March 2010 | Report This Post

RE: RE:
L: relativelyrelative "edit it down to at least 200 pages"?!?!?! What the devil is going on here?! Foundation is fantasically complex, and there's no WAY you can slim it down without losing something. It really looks like we've learned nothing, NOTHING from dune. 40 pages would do ok for the first part of the trilogy..... More

Posted by Overmind at 19:30 on 02 March 2010 | Report This Post

RE:
"edit it down to at least 200 pages"?!?!?! What the devil is going on here?! Foundation is fantasically complex, and there's no WAY you can slim it down without losing something. It really looks like we've learned nothing, NOTHING from dune. More

Posted by relativelyrelative at 17:53 on 02 March 2010 | Report This Post

I've never actually read any of Asimov's stuff, but I get the impression that Foundations is sort of hallowed ground. When it comes to Emmerich it seems like his next couple of projects are really going to see him expand as a film maker. I'm really intrigued to see what he can do when he's not destroying the world. Obviously the scale isn't a problem as he can (and does) do that in his sleep. The problem is when it comes down to characters, or any other moment that isn't all about spectacle. Thi More

Posted by evildave69 at 14:43 on 02 March 2010 | Report This Post

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