Roland Emmerich (born November 10, 1955) is a German film director, writer, and producer.
Emmerich was born in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As a youth, he pursued painting and sculpting, but after watching the Irwin Allen productions of the early 1970s and Star Wars, decided to turn his attention to filmmaking. He attended film school in Munich from 1977 to 1981 and his student film, The Noah's Ark Principle, went on to open the 1984 Berlin Film Festival. The feature became a huge success and was sold to more than 20 countries.
Hoping to tap into the American market, Emmerich began directing English-language supernatural fantasy features in his native Germany. Eventually, his science-fiction film Moon 44, went straight to video in the United States and featured Dean Devlin.
Having caught the attention of producer Mario Kassar, Emmerich was invited to America to direct Isobar. Devlin would subsequently become Emmerich's writing and producing partner once Emmerich set up shop in Hollywood, and quickly penned a new script for the proposed feature. When studio executives opted for the initial screenplay that was to be used, Emmerich dropped out of the production. Kassar then abandoned the project altogether.
Instead, Emmerich was hired to replace director Andrew Davis for the action movie Universal Soldier. The film was followed by two made-for-television movies and a theatrical sequel.
Emmerich next helmed the science-fiction film Stargate, an unexpected success that spawned the television shows Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.
Emmerich then hit his blockbuster stride with Independence Day. The alien invasion feature became the first film to gross $100 million in less than a week and went on to become one of the most successful films of all time.
His next film, the much-hyped Godzilla, did not meet its anticipated box office success, and was a critical failure.
After a change of pace directing the American Revolutionary War film The Patriot, Emmerich returned once again to directing a visual effects-laden adventure with 2004's The Day After Tomorrow.
Emmerich is currently directing 10,000 BC, a film about the journeys of a prehistoric tribe. The film was originally slated to open in theaters in the summer of 2007, but due to numerous script revisions (including one by Robert Rodat), its release date has been postponed to March 7, 2008.
Emmerich founded Centropolis Film Productions in 1985, and later renamed it Centropolis Entertainment. The company later incorporated a digital effects branch, but Emmerich dissolved the film production aspect of the company in 2001 and has since founded another production company, Reelmachine. Centropolis has recently teamed up with Mythic Entertainment and Electric Entertainment to foray into the online computer game market. He was also hired to direct the live action Dragon Ball Z movie by 20th Century Fox, however, he decided to drop out to make other films.
Shortly after the success of Independence Day, Emmerich and Devlin created the show The Visitor for the Fox Network. It was cancelled after one season.
In 2006, he pledged $150,000 to the Legacy Project, a campaign dedicated to gay and lesbian film preservation. Emmerich, who is openly homosexual, made the donation of behalf of Outfest, making it the largest gift in the festival's history.
He and Devlin are currently writing a new script for Isobar, the film Emmerich was asked to direct in 1990. The movie will be about a dangerous stowaway on a subterranean luxury liner train on its trip from the United States to Japan.