Roland Emmerich Wants To Destroy The World Again With Another Global Warming Movie [Exclusive]

Some men just want to watch the world burn ... or freeze. Since the '90s, writer/director Roland Emmerich has made a name for himself by doing just that, imperiling the planet in increasingly epic ways for box office success. From Terminator riff "Universal Soldier" to "Stargate" to "Independence Day," the decade was filled with action bangers courtesy of the German filmmaker who has earned his fair share of fans and haters. Emmerich contains enough multitudes to hold both a Razzie award for "Godzilla" (1998) and a Kids Choice Award for "Independence Day."

One sandbox he keeps returning to is global warming, a subject near and dear enough to his heart to prompt him to infuse the environmental crisis into "The Day After Tomorrow," a 2004 adaptation of Art Bell and Whitley Strieber's 1999 book "The Coming Global Superstorm." Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid, the film raised alarm bells on global weather disasters caused by climate change. Catastrophe struck again just five years later in "2012," another sci-fi disaster picture which functions as a modern spin on the biblical flood story. A fine array of works peppered the 2010s for the storyteller: "White House Down," "Midway," and an "Independence Day" sequel all enjoyed varying forms of success as Marvel, DC, and Star Wars increased their box office dominance. Throughout his career, Emmerich has wowed moviegoers with impressive visual effects and a grand sense of scale, and that arc continues with this year's "Moonfall."

Starring a hefty cast (appropriate for a disaster movie) including Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, and Donald Sutherland, "Moonfall" concerns the moon being knocked towards a collision course with Earth. It drops in theaters this Friday, and /Film's Jacob Hall sat down with Roland Emmerich to talk about the cinema of calamity and what he'd like to do next. Spoiler: Emmerich wants to watch the world burn again.

"Are we really worth saving?"

"Moonfall," Hall notes, occasionally shares a rosy-cheeked faith in humanity with "Independence Day." Meanwhile, "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012" sit in contrast to that vibe, almost shrugging their shoulders at worldwide collapse and only providing "sucks to be you" gallows humor in the face of tragedy. While he has doubts about the effectiveness of Adam McKay's acerbic climate change satire "Don't Look Up," Emmerich sees "Moonfall" and "Independence Day" as different sides of the same coin. He tells /Film:

"Well, "Independence Day" and "Moonfall" have a lot to do with each other. They're from the same kind of cloth. And "Day After Tomorrow" and "2012" were more sarcastic looks at our Earth, and are we really worth saving? That kind of thing. But I have to kind of say, I now feel the need ... I'm just waiting a little bit until the pandemic [has] passed. In two, three years, I want to make a big movie about what will happen to Earth because the effect of climate change is unstoppable. I think we are totally past the breaking point, and there will definitely be effects of that. And let's say in 15, 20 years, there will be hundreds of millions of refugees, and that will change our world totally."

Asked what sort of story that urgency might be wrapped up in, Emmerich fired off a summary from the hip:

"Probably the story of, maybe in Africa, a doctor [from Doctors Without Borders] with his family is friends with the whole hospital, and he's the last one to leave, and he cannot leave without taking these people with him. Because of that, he gets really, really in trouble. And sometimes they have to help him, and he has to help them, but it's more of a travelogue where you kind of see the whole world, in a way, be totally changed. The biggest problem, probably, is the ending here, because you want to keep a little bit of hope that things will change."

For all of the glee Roland Emmerich takes in tearing the planet apart, he seems to think that the world is still a fine place worth fighting for.

"Moonfall" arrives in theaters on February 4, 2022.