Roland Emmerich says Hollywood blockbusters should focus more on climate crisis

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Roland Emmerich speaks before the "Midway" screening at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on October 20, 2019. (Photo by Marco Garcia/Getty Images for Lionsgate Entertainment)

Disaster movie specialist Roland Emmerich has stated that Hollywood should focus more of its big movies on dealing with the impending climate crisis.

The director behind eco-nightmare The Day After Tomorrow said the "biggest crisis in history" ought to play a more prominent part in the blockbusters that dominate multiplexes all over the world.

He told Variety that the fear of confronting climate change on the big screen is "a little bit of what I hate about Hollywood" in the modern era.

Read more: Emmerich would love to take on Bond film

The 63-year-old said: “They could very easily, in one of the Marvel movies, create a situation which is clearly a climate crisis. But they don’t.”

Emmerich added that he struggled to convince studios to maintain the bleakness of The Day After Tomorrow back in the early noughties.

Released in 2004 and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid, the movie followed the impact of a series of superstorms triggered by the effects of global warming.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Roland Emmerich's environmental disaster movie 'The Day After Tomorrow' from 2004. (Credit: Fox)

The director said several of the studios asked whether he could "explode an atomic bomb or break a dam" to resolve the situation and give the movie a more traditional, satisfying ending.

Fox eventually ended up securing the rights to the movie and approved Emmerich and Jeffrey Nachmanoff's script, but balked at the lack of hope at its climax, which marked the beginning of a new ice age.

Read more: Harrison Ford called hypocrite after climate speech

“When they finally saw the movie, they had a little trouble with it,” Emmerich said.

“They said: ‘Oh, my God, there is no real happy ending.’ It was there on the page, but it really hit them when they saw it.

"I said: ‘Guys, I can’t make this a happy ending because if humanity keeps going like this, there will be no happy ending.’”

The film was controversial in the scientific community for its sensationalised depiction of an environmental crisis compressed into a matter of hours, but received praise for drawing attention to climate change issues.

Roland Emmerich comes to his special screening of the Second World War drama 'Midway'. (Photo by Ursula Düren/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Emmerich hinted that he is beginning to see the path to a new movie dealing with the climate crisis, focusing on the displacement of millions of refugees who are no longer able to live off their land.

He added: “Brexit is the result of that. Nationalism is a result of that. This could be the biggest crisis in history.

“Not only will a lot of people die: wars will be created, life will change.”

Read more: Emmerich says superhero movies have ripped him off

Emmerich’s new movie is Second World War actioner Midway, which follows US Navy sailors and pilots during the Battle of Midway, which took place six months after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans and Aaron Eckhart lead the cast.

Midway is released into UK cinemas on 8 November.