Roland Emmerich on Shakespeare and Foundation is in Jackson Hole, WY chatting to Roland Emmerich about his new film 2012 that hits theaters on November 13th and he talked a bit about the William Shakespeare project he’s been working on for quite some time, as well as the adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation:

Q: Could you talk a little bit about the movie you’re planning to do about William Shakespeare?

Roland Emmerich: It’s been eight years I’ve been trying to do this project. It was always supposed to be my next movie, but this time I’m really doing it because I’m already set to shoot on March 22nd and I’m in the casting process right now, which for me is the most kind of nerveracking because you have to make decisions, and I start shooting in four or five days the first plates in England.

Q: What is it about?

Emmerich: It’s about how it came to be that William Shakespeare was not the author of his plays. It’s not Marlowe, it’s De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. It’s kind of like a political thriller. It’s about who will succeed Elizabeth and the cause of that thriller, the Essex Rebellion, we take on and we learn how the plays were written by somebody else.

Q: In what context does the action take place?

Emmerich: Well, it’s very well-researched. The writer is John Orloff and he’s been working on the script for two years before I got involved and he did a really, really good job and I just discussed it with several actors who are very knowledgeable about that time and I’m really pleased how accurate it is. Naturally, for dramatic reasons you sometimes alter facts but it’s pretty well-researched.

Q: With Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series, how do you plan to handle such a large mythology? Will it be an original take or a literal adaptation?

Emmerich: Well, I was interested in Asimov before and I think with “I, Robot” they changed everything and fans kind of hated the movie so I didn’t want to do that. On the other end, the “Foundation” is a similar problem in that you have all these short stories and then they were combined into a book and so in a way there is not one character and I spoke with the Rob and he said we have to consolidate the characters and that’s what we did and it worked really, really well in the context and I think if Asimov would have conceived this as a science fiction trilogy or series from the very beginning, he would have done that too but he didn’t, so I think in spirit it’s totally “Foundation” but has consolidated characters that go through the three movies.

Q: Have you read the script yet?

Emmerich: No, but he keeps calling me and saying, “It’s fantastic, Roland! I’ve never read such a good script!” and I say, “Well, maybe you should send it to me?” I love him. He’s a great, great guy but I think I’ll get it soon. He promised me he’d get it to me before “2012” comes out.


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