With a nickname like 'the Little Spielberg from Sindelfingen', Roland Emmerich has earned a reputation as both a showman and ringmaster in Hollywood. He's got big visions - often spelling doom for a landmark near you - but just as importantly, he knows how to make them happen. Having just trashed the White House for the third time, he shared some of his plans for global destruction over the next few years with the Empire Podcast.
Currently taking shape like an errant neutrino are celebral sci-fi Singularity, and, on a smaller scale, a dramatisation of the New York Stonewall riots of 1969 that he may end up self-financing. Looming largest, though, is a (potentially) Will Smith-less, two-part sequel to Independence Day for 20th Century Fox.
ID4EVER, or ID4-Ever (or possibly ID4EVS) or Independence Day 2, has a release date scheduled for July 3, 2015, but as Emmerich points out, that's more a reflection of tentpole politics than the readiness of the project. "You have to set a release date otherwise another film moves into it," he explains. "[But] Independence Day is my next movie, if I get the right script. I should get the script pretty soon, then I'll try to get it into good shape for one or two months, and if that happens, we'll announce it and start production."
According to Emmerich, the plan remains for a cliffhanger to divide the two sequels. Intriguingly, he'll eschew the Peter Jackson approach of shooting both films at once in favour of a costlier suck-it-and-see strategy. "We'll only do the first part," he says, "because we want to have the audience decide if they want to see the second, otherwise it feels arrogant. But I'm pretty confident, with the right script..."
With James Vanderbilt and long-time collaborator Dean Devlin helping with that side of things and some key cast members already committed, this looks a lot like a go-project. Now might be the time to start moving valuables to an underground bunker. "The idea for it came out of 2012," Emmerich enthuses of the likely carnage, "and what you can do with technology these days." And the setting? "It's a parallel history," he explained. "Humans rebuild whatever they have - bigger, newer, shinier - and then they forget. Maybe, 20 years later, [the aliens are] never coming back..." And if they do, can we assume they'll have better virus protection? "They won't fall for that again."
Expect plenty more insight into the alien threat, and its motivation, than we got from the squidy villainy of Independence Day. "We've created a mythology around these aliens," says Emmerich, "which is really cool. You have to create a mythology because people want to see a bigger picture."
And what of Singularity? "That is on very, very good grounds again. We just overdid its complexity, we packed too much in it, but we lost two or three subplots and suddenly realised, 'Oh my God, this works!' I definitely want to make this movie."
Another project that has been lodged in the Emmerich in-tray for some time is a planned adaptation of Isaac Asimov's sci-fi epic Foundation. If it happens, and a stymied Emmerich is doubtful that it will, it will be a small screen concern. "We're trying to do it as a big mini-series, but even there you would have to change the story itself and set it in a time when the galaxy has fallen apart - and then you're pretty much making a TV show with all these characters and playing all the scenes out. You can [do that] and we'll see what happens. We tried so hard [to make it into a movie], honestly, because it's one of my most favourite books. I just love it."
His intriguing Asteroids project, meanwhile, "is not happening" - at least, not with him behind the camera. "[Producer] Lorenzo di Bonaventura offered it to me first and it had exactly what I like - a two brothers story that was very interesting for me - but I had so many other projects and they didn't want to wait around for me."
Click below to listen to our Emmerich interview in full, or head to a cinema where White House Down is playing now. You can check out our podcast photo gallery here... and subscribe to the Empire Podcast via our iTunes page or this handy RSS feed.