Roland Emmerich to Direct Isaac Asimov’s Foundation

Sci-fi buffs will remember the announcement that came back in July about Warner Brothers developing an adaptation of the first book in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. At the time, it seemed this might have been a part of an emerging trend in Hollywood this year to get back to “thinking man’s science-fiction”, but alas, all hope of this being a deep, intellectual film has now vanished with the announcement of a director for the project. The job has fallen to blockbuster helmer Roland Emmerich (10,000 B.C., The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day). Why on earth would they choose a guy who is known for explosions and special effects to direct a story with no action in it?

According to Variety, the reason that the project has changed gears is because it has also changed hands. Apparently Fox sunk some development money into this project at one point, so Warner Brothers was forced to auction off the rights to avoid a repeat of the painful Watchmen lawsuit. In the end, it lead to a bidding war with Sony swooping in and stealing the rights out from under them. The naming of Emmerich as director is made all the more upsetting by the fact that the WB’s top choice was Alex Proyas (Dark City, I, Robot). Sure I, Robot wasn’t the best Asimov adaptation ever put to celluloid, but I certainly have more confidence in him than Roland Emmerich. Thoughts?

  • Something is very wrong with the executives who decided an extremely generic director who is stuck in the 90s should be anywhere near this. Emmerich was kinda fun until around 1998.

  • Connor

    My initial reaction is “WTF”, but after thinking about it I feel like maybe Roland should be given a chance to create an intellectual film before he is completely written off. You never know he could be a lot better at it than we realize, we’ve just never been given the chance to notice it.

  • Paul Andrews

    I quite like Emmerich – looking forward to 2012. Foundation was a good story, so this could be an interesting film. It’s about time someone had another crack at Dune though. Get Peter Jackson in there and then we’d have something to look forward to !

  • Doc

    to connor:

    i think we should give the guy another chance, but not with foundation series….come on, this books are way to important to let them be ruined but this guy :P

    he should have a chance with any other film….but he should stay away from anything that has the ISAAC ASIMOV signature….



  • Luis Miguel Diazgranados

    I don’t see how the Foundation trilogy can be adapted into a good movie. It would be a really difficult task. None the less I would go to the theather and watch it….if it was directed by a skillful director. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Independence day, The Patriot and even the Day After Tomorrow. But I robot was an insult and to even think that Foundation will be the same kind of action adaption of a non-action story get me nauseous. Science-fiction fans all over the world should unite to stop this nightmare from becoming real.

  • I don’t understand why there aren’t more adaptations of Isaac Asimov’s books. I wouldn’t say his books are intellectual. The character drama is pretty negligible. The dialog is straight-forward. What makes his stories great are the plot twists.

    The Foundation series is space opera like Star Trek and Star Wars. Hell, I’d be happy if someone just filmed the book. (Not literally, but using it as the shooting script.)

    P.S. I enjoyed Bicentennial Man.

  • The Reader

    What an insanely bad idea. Let’s take a man who gave us such breaindead creations as Godzilla, 10,000 BC, or Independence Day, and put him at the helm of the greatest epic in the history of science fiction. This is an undertaking that requires talent, subtlety, and intelligence. Putting Emmerich in charge is akin to having a butcher perform plastic surgery. No offense to the butchers, of course.

  • fish

    Emmerich will no doubt destroy Asimov’s masterpiece.
    If it were up to me, there would be precisely three directors whom I would allow to direct the film.

    My first choice would be Ridley Scott.
    My second choice would be James Cameron.
    My third choice would be Francis Ford Coppola.

    That’s it. That’s the only living directors who could possibly hope to do justice to the trilogy.

  • Among ingredients you need for a good movie recipe, please do not forget the script…
    Rob Rodat (The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, …) is on the way to write (i hope) one the the best scenario ever.

    A good story writer + a blockbuster director = a good trilogy!


  • Nic

    The major problem with adapting the Foundation Trilogy is the timespan… If anything it should be done as a TV series, not as a film. Several reasons for this:
    most of it is dialogue driven, set inside, perfect for studio filming.
    second, the fact there are time jumps and hosts of new characters every thirty pages (read, 35-40 minutes?) is going to be difficult to work around in the film format unless they are just dismissed…
    If anything, it should resemble the BBC’s “I Claudius” from ages ago, or Sky could do it like their Terry Pratchett Adaptations… I dread to see what Hollywood will do to it…

  • Greetings, true Sci-Fi fans from all over the world!

    If you are against the idea of Emmerich screenwriting and directing this chef d’oeuvre, please, join me in my Petition!
    The Petition in question is first addressed to… ALL of us, *true* Sci-Fi fans, in order to raise our awareness level; next, it will be addressed to Sony/Columbia Pictures, of course.

    Hopefully, something *good* is to come out of all these…

    Thank you, in advance!