Roland Emmerich is the man behind a fair share of ridiculous big budget movies — Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, etc. But one stands out amongst the rest as his biggest, his most successful, and by far his best: Independence Day.
Emmerich is returning to the alien invasion genre with a top secret project titled The Zone. Known for his over-the-top action set pieces, Emmerich reportedly hasn’t worked with a budget of less than $100 million since Stargate. That was 1994 — seven films ago. The Zone will be shot in the “found footage” style (think Cloverfield or Paranormal Activity) for the low, low price of $5 million. Details after the jump.
True to the descriptor “secret,” not too much is known about the plot of the film. But Heat Vision has caught some of the broader strokes. The script, by French writer/director Guillaume Tunzini, revolves around an alien invasion. The production will feature relative unknowns with a heavy reliance on improvised dialogue. Two leads were just cast: “a haggard journalist in his 40s or 50s” and “a black man in his early to mid 20’s, the cameraman.” Emmerich is currently “gearing up to shoot,” implying The Zone will get in front of cameras post haste.
This is crazy, right? $5 million was probably the craft services budget on 2012. But darn if I’m not excited to see what a subdued Emmerich film looks like. The Zone could turn out terribly, stripped of all the things that make an Emmerich feature enjoyable. Or it could be concentrated awesomeness. Way too early to tell. But I love it when a filmmaker self-imposes limitations in the hopes it begets creativity.
(On the other hand, isn’t alien invasion found footage the domain of Cloverfield? And, of course, Cloverfield 2? Let’s come back to that question at a later date. Or in the comments.)
Emmerich’s next film is similarly off the beaten path a bit: the Shakespeare-centric period drama Anonymous hits theaters September 23, 2011.