Ten years after a failed space mission, disgraced ex-astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson, 48) has lost control of his life while his former colleague Dr. Jo Fowler (Halle Berry, 55) makes a career at NASA. Conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (John Bradley, 33) approaches Harper with an incredible discovery: the moon has been knocked out of its orbit and is about to fall to earth.
In “Moonfall” Roland Emmerich (66) once again addresses his favorite topic, the destruction of the earth, as in films like “Independence Day” or “2012”. When the latter was released in cinemas in 2009, the director announced that it would be his last disaster film. Emmerich explains why he has relapsed in an interview with the news agency spot on news.
In your new film, the moon is racing towards the earth, the story is based on the “hollow moon” conspiracy theory. When did you first come across this theory and what fascinated you so much about it that you decided to make a film out of it?
Roland Emmerich: About ten years ago I wrote a book called Who Built the Moon? [„Wer hat den Mond gebaut?“] had read. That influenced me a lot. Every time I’ve seen the moon, I’ve wondered if it could really be that it’s artificial. This gradually gave rise to the idea for a story in which the moon falls to earth and at the same time you find out that it is built.
How did you acquire the knowledge of the moon necessary to write this screenplay?
Emmerich: I picked out what is important. There are so many different theories going on on the moon.
Did you also come across a theory during your research that sounds so plausible that it could be real?
Emmerich: Not really. I am a relatively skeptical person and do not believe in such things at all. But for a movie, it’s a fantastic idea to imagine being able to fly into the moon and see things you couldn’t have imagined before.
Would you dare to do that? Can you at least imagine taking a flight into space?
Emmerich: I’ll let the others go first. So far, such flights only last a few minutes, then they fly down again. I’ll wait a few years and see if accidents happen. If it seems safe to me, I’ll do it too.
Has the corona pandemic complicated the filming and production of “Moonfall”?
Emmerich: Because of Covid-19, we had five and a half million dollars in additional costs, so we had to save on the days of shooting. I originally planned for 70 days, but in the end we had to squeeze it into 61 days of shooting. That was hard. I can imagine that the pandemic will also affect the number of visitors in the cinemas. The target group for my films is a bit older and I think many are still reluctant to go to the cinema because of the pandemic.
You wrote the screenplay for Moonfall before the pandemic. Did you change anything after the fact based on what happened in the real world?
Emmerich: No, it still felt good the way it was written. But the corona pandemic felt like a Roland Emmerich film in slow motion. (laughs)
What message do you want to send with the film?
Emmerich: The film is very personal for me. Both main characters have children. Halle Berry’s character Jo Fowler, in particular, doesn’t initially think of going into space because she doesn’t want to leave her son behind. For both of them, however, it is also about ensuring the survival of their children. Even though I don’t have any children myself, this storyline really moved me.
Is that also a parallel to our reality? We must preserve the earth to ensure the survival of our children?
Emmerich: At some point I will make another film that really deals with climate change. I think in 10 to 20 years there’s going to be a future that’s going to be totally awful.
We are confronted with real disasters, such as the climate crisis, all day long. Why do millions of people still flock to the cinema to see how Roland Emmerich destroys the earth?
Emmerich: My films actually have a relatively light tone. I want to entertain with them. I think viewers have learned over the years that my films are fun.
You once said “2012” would be your last disaster film. So why did you relapse multiple times?
Emmerich: I gave myself five years after reading the book ten years ago. But the moon is just a super topic, I couldn’t help it. But I think this is really my last. (laughs)