We were honored to be invited by Lionsgate to interview Roland Emmerich on his new film Midway, at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, CA. The movie set to be released during Veterans Day weekend this year. Emmerich has had a long career of directing films, as audiences recognize his work his work from films like the Patriot & Independence Day. Midway tells the story of the battle between US and the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWI while highlighting the experiences of the men who fought in this historic battle.
For the past two decades, Emmerich has been wanting to make this movie and stated it was worth the wait because of the cgi technology has helped the story line evolve to make this films come to life better. Additionally, a lot of new information from documentaries, books and historians emerged just in time for the filming process. Emmerich expressed that this film is a good reminder to the audiences and younger audiences that there were young people in our past history who were fighting for democracy. Further hoping that this film both educates and entertains audience’s as they also realize what a united America can do contrast to the current divide of people we see in society today. An insight to upcoming projects, Emmerich has shared that he plans to work on a silent movie, sending a love letter to how films have evolved over time, stating how much he loves and enjoys his career making films.
In addition to the Midway premier in San Diego, the USS Midway Foundation provided $696,000 to organizations (both local and national) in support to veterans, first responders, and active duty personnel along with their families.
Get ready to soak up some history this Veterans Day weekend – Catch ‘Midway‘ flying to a theater near you on Friday, November 8th!
Host: Machelle Noel here over at the USS Midway in San Diego – Joining me right now is director, Roland Emerich, who’s here to talk about his upcoming film, Midway! Hey Mr. Roland, how are you doing today?
Roland Emerich: I’m very good this morning.
Host: Welcome to San Diego.
Roland Emerich: Yes… It was a busy drive down here.
Host: Oh yeah, traffic can be a little bit crazy here.
Roland Emerich: Took me forever.
Host: It’s a little bit cold too. So, for the past two decades, you’ve been wanting to make this film, Midway. What inspired you to direct and… what was the reason why you wanted to bring this particular film in the big screen?
Roland Emerich: Well it’s like kind of, the biggest comeback story of WWII. Because it starts you know, kind of like… the attack on… Pearl Harbor. And… a lot of people lost, a lot of lot of, friends and-and family…and so, uh, and out of that… came this kind of like push to… to kind of change the course of the war. That American’s were really really the underdogs. In this kind of fight. It’s amazing actually to tell the story of these young men…uh in, you know uh, how they managed to kind of uh… defeat you know… actually the biggest battle of the WWII. Navy Battle… [in the war].
Host: I actually saw the movie, a couple weeks ago in San Diego Premiere, what kind of research did you go into the process? Did you actually talk to WWII historians? Pearl Harbor Survivors?
Roland Emerich: Yes, We did everything. We did everything, we did…. we read every book there is to read, watch a lot a lot of documentaries about um, what-what happened then and um… and then actually we got a lot of support from the Navy. And everybody [constantly] called… and asked questions. This was very important. And then we have, on the set, always, military you know like, Historians with us.
Host: You also directed one of our favorite films Independence Day (1996), how do you compare the scope of that project to this project in the film making process?
Roland Emerich: [It’s been more than 20 years] since I did Independence Day. A lot has happened, especially in visual effects [and technology]. I actually wanted to make… Midway [back then, 20 years ago] but, at the time… I had just signed a huge deal with Columbia Tristar. When I learned how expensive this movie then would have been, and um… maybe people don’t know that but it’s now like Sony Pictures. And then they already had bought that studio, they just didn’t want to go for it. To make a movie like that expensive… about a battle that they lost. But! It’s good that I do the movie now, because the technology is so much better. Also, I think it’s good to remind people today you know like, the rising nationalism and the totally divided America, what like a united America could do, can do. And how, at the time people faught for freedom against Fascism. And you know what, it’s like, we always kind of like think, Oh this could never ever happen again. But you know, it could. And it’s good to remind all the young people, that like kind of people their age you know put their life on the line, fighting for democracy.
Host: Absolutely. There’s so much history to soak up in this storyline. What do you want the audience to get from this message, especially the younger generation when it comes to Pearl Harbor and WWII stories?
Roland Emerich: To educate them… First, I want to entertain them because I think it’s a relatively entertaining movie. With some… incredible flying scenes, but it’s also to… educate them, [on] what happened there. Because a lot of people know the word Midway, but they don’t know what exactly went down. And that’s why we also like kind of describe not only the battle, we try to describe the whole 6 months leading up to the battle. And… yeah, that’s kind of the main purpose.
Host: You’re a huge fan of historical films, is there any other projects that you hope to work on next time? When it comes to historical film events?
Roland Emerich: Well… I’m planning actually a movie about the silent movie days. Because I’m uh… I think… like me working 40 years in film… I want to just uh, make a love letter to the… job I have. It’s such… a pleasure to make movies you know? And it’s such a cool… thing to do. And I just want to do a love letter to what I do.
Host: Awesome! Okay! Well Roland thank you so much for joining us today. Folks be sure to catch Midway. I’m Machelle Noel with director Roland Emmerich, and we’ll hope to see you guys next time. Bye Bye!
Danielle Bawit | Writing Contributor
B.A. | Media Studies | Cal State Univ – San Marcos
Hello! My name is Danielle Bawit. I attended MSJC- Mt. San Jacinto’s Community College and received two Associate’s for Communication and Liberal Arts. I am currently in my last semester at CSUSM-California State University San Marcos, and I will be receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies. I grew up with watching DC heroes on the screen, wrestling with my family, Disney movies and listening to Kpop. I have been always involved with my education by joining choir’s and becoming part of MSJC’s communications club as a Historian. I have promoted events for the club at my previous school, and I have promoted and volunteered for Khip-hop concerts. I aspire to one day work in the entertainment world while promoting artists and music. Additionally, I also hope to share written stories to people in my career due to my love for writing.| Instagram @Charice_Danielle| View My Articles
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