Director Roland Emmerich Talks Working on an Accelerated Production Schedule, Paying Homage to DIE HARD, & More on the Set of WHITE HOUSE DOWN
Roland Emmerich is known to be a big shot in Hollywood. Emmerich has the tendency to surprise people and always make things interesting. For instance, if you’ve seen the trailer for White House Down, you know he’ll surprise you with much more. This film stars Channing Tatum as a secret service agent who protects the President (Jamie Foxx) when the White House is invaded.
Emmerich was interviewed and he spoke about why he transitioned from his sci-fi movie Singularity to an action-thriller-White House Down. He also spoke about how the film fell into place and why he filmed most of the film on soundstages, why he cast Channing Tatum as lead and much more.
So you’re sitting at home, working on Singularity, it’s got a release date and then White House Down. What made you decide to ump ship and do this?
Roland Emmerich:Well it’s like this, we had got a little bit stuck with Singularity. We had this idea to bring Ray Coursewell onboard, which was a really good idea and start pretty much from scratch. And all of a sudden this project, which was a “go” project was all of a sudden, you know… I talked with Sony about it and they were totally okay and so they knew. It was roughly two weeks before they offered me White House Down and they pretty much brought the project on a Friday at night or so and they thought it was perfect for me and I kind of think they were right. (Laughs)
You’ve done many movies. Is this the fastest you’ve ever done anything?
Emmerich:No. 2012 was also very fast.
Specifically with this one, you got the project so quick and as we were discussing earlier, it’s like fourteen months from when they bought it to when it’s going to be in theaters, which is crazy.
Emmerich:Well then also it’s good, because you’re… I don’t necessarily think longer is better. It’s just tougher, because nobody really does it any more like that, but let’s say in the 80s and 90s, especially in the 90s when I came to Los Angeles, it was not so unusual to start a production and have it in 14 months in the theater. The Fugitive for example was like that, or even less. So the good thing is when it’s right, it’s right, so you’re not fiddling around on it too long and we had also had, let’s say bad luck, that the actor we wanted was Channing Tatum and Channing Tatum had another movie to shoot come the tenth of October, so we have just his end date and that forced us to accelerate the whole preproduction, which is tough on the production designer, but he pulled it off and then it’s maybe tough on editing and visual effects, but that’s the only department where it really matters that you have less time.
If you had more time, would you have shot more or at all in DC or anything like that?
It would always be in stages you think?
Emmerich:No, it’s like a movie which takes place in two hours or three hours and you would never get that look… I also, since we have digital cameras, the blue screen composites are so good that I would rather shoot on a stage than there, especially the complicated sequences. The sun never sets in a studio stage.