Roland Emmerich (German: [ˈʁoːlant ˈɛməʁɪç]; born November 10, 1955) is a German film director, screenwriter, and producer. His films, most of which are Hollywood productions filmed in English, have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide. His films have grossed just over $1 billion in the United States, making him the country's 14th-highest grossing director of all time. He began his work in the film industry by directing the film The Noah's Ark Principle as part of his university thesis and also co-founded Centropolis Entertainment in 1985 with his sister.
Emmerich directed White House Down.
Emmerich best known for his action films and most identifiable with his trademarks, which include blowing up national landmarks, destroying cities, and focusing heavily on extravagant special effects. Emmerich joked that White House Down actually was a step down from his previous more over-the-top action films. Emmerich directed Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, White House Down
Emmerich owns homes in Los Angeles, New York City, London and Stuttgart. Emmerich likes to decorate his homes in a self-described "outlandish" manner, adorning them with rare Hollywood memorabilia, murals and portraits of dictators and Communist figures, and World War II-Militaria.
Emmerich's extensive collection of artwork includes a painting of Jesus Christ wearing a Katharine Hamnett-styled t-shirt during his crucifixion, prints of Alison Jackson's works of a Princess Diana lookalike making obscene gestures and engaging in sex acts, a wax sculpture of Pope John Paul II laughing as he reads his own obituary, and a Photoshopped image of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a homoerotic pose. Emmerich, who is openly gay, and a financial supporter of U.S. progressive politics, states that the decorations and pieces aren't declarations of any beliefs, but rather reflections of his "predilection for art with a political edge".
Emmerich has claimed that he witnessed overt racism when producers and studio executives were opposed to allowing him to cast Will Smith for the lead in Independence Day, and reluctant to allow him to portray an interracial couple in The Day After Tomorrow. He has also claimed that he has encountered homophobia from the same groups, and is vocal in his opposition of such behavior. He has stated that sometimes he does "[not like working in] the movie business", describing it as a sometimes "very cold, brutal business", but his motivation to keep directing is that he genuinely "like[s] making movies".
In 2006, he pledged $150,000 to the Legacy Project, a campaign dedicated to gay and lesbian film preservation. Emmerich made the donation on behalf of Outfest, making it the largest gift in the festival's history. In 2007, on behalf of the LGBT community, he held a fundraiser at his Los Angeles home for Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Emmerich is in favor of the campaign for stunt performers to receive recognition at the Academy Awards, and has worked to raise awareness over the issue of global warming. He once was a chain-smoker who was known to smoke as many as four packs of cigarettes a day, Emmerich has often included in his films characters who are trying to quit smoking, and/or warn against the dangers of tobacco use. Along with several other celebrities, he is a producer of The 1 Second Film, a non-profit project intended to raise money for women's rights in the developing world.
He is a collector of art and an active campaigner for the LGBT community, himself being openly gay. He is also a campaigner for an awareness of global warming and equal rights.