Director Emmerich Explains The Character(s) Of Foundation

Illustration for article titled Director Emmerich Explains The Character(s) Of Foundation

The movie adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy is gathering momentum, as director Roland Emmerich recently addressed just how his version would condense the massive source material into a manageable movie. The key appears to be shortening the cast list.


In an interview with Collider, Emmerich explained how his Foundation adaptation would grapple with the hundreds of years worth of events in galactic history that Asimov's books portray. For those fans wondering how Emmerich plans to balance the stories of mathematician Gaal Dornick, mayor Salvor Hardin, trader Limmar Ponyets, and merchant prince Hober Mallow...well, it might be time to get used to the idea of Gaalvor Ponlow, mathematically and politically inclined trader extraordinaire.

According to Emmerich:

Well I was interested in Asimov before and I think with "I, Robot" they changed everything and fans kind of hated the movie so I didn't want to do that. On the other end, The Foundation is a similar problem in that you have all these short stories and then they were combined into a book and so in a way there is not one character and I spoke with the Rob [Rodat, writer of "Saving Private Ryan"] and he said we have to consolidate the characters and that's what we did and it worked really, really well in the context and I think if Asimov would have conceived this as a science fiction trilogy or series from the very beginning, he would have done that too but he didn't so I think in spirit it's totally "Foundation" but has consolidated characters that go through the three movies.

Emmerich also mentioned that writer Rob Rodat is yet to send him the screenplay for Foundation, but he's optimistic it will be finished before his disaster epic 2012 comes out. The timeline for Foundation is still somewhat unclear, but it's at least one movie down the road for Emmerich; his next movie will be Anonymous, a political thriller about the authorship of William Shakespeare's plays.




Ehhh. Some books just *shouldn't* be made into movies — 'Foundation' is one of them. Structurally it's so uncinematic I have to ask: why would you even try?

As far as 'I, Robot' is concerned, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable movie — not *great*, but solid. I suppose it was always clear to me that it *wasn't* an adaptation of the short story collection — because you can't adapt a collection of short stories into a movie. That would just be stupid. (They should probably have called the movie something something different.) At the same time, I'm against the idea of a 'Foundation' film doing the same thing — probably because I care a lot more about that book's overarching story. (I don't feel as strongly about 'I, Robot' — most of my favorite Robot stories aren't even in it.)

Trying to condense multiple characters together and shoehorn that century-spanning book into a standard-length movie would be even worse, though. I *like* multi-generation stories. Honestly, they'd be better off just leaving 'Foundation' alone.

Anyhow, if you *have* to do an Asimov adaptation, why not do the 'Lucky Starr' books?