Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Emmerich unfazed by Olympus movie

Roland Emmerich directs on White House Down
Roland Emmerich directs on White House Down
Jamie Foxx plays the US President in White House Down

Roland Emmerich has said he isn't too concerned that his latest film about terrorists at the White House is being released just months after a similar action movie.

The 57-year-old filmmaker - known for blockbusters such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow - sees his latest big screen epic White House Down released in the US this weekend.

The film stars Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States and Channing Tatum as his impromptu bodyguard, and comes out just three months after Olympus Has Fallen, which featured a strikingly similar under-siege White House plot with Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler in the parallel roles.

Emmerich doesn't think the coincidence is the end of the world.

"You do your film," he said. "They do their film. I remember when there were two volcano and two meteor movies. I thought, 'Isn't Hollywood stupid to do that?' All of a sudden, I was in the same situation, and I said, 'I'm not stopping.' I like my script. I have the two coolest dudes I always wanted to work with together in one film. I'm not stopping."

White House Down focuses on Sgt John Cale, a Capitol police officer played by Tatum who is touring the White House with his daughter right after messing up an interview for a Secret Service job. When rogue former soldiers and government employees begin wreaking havoc, Cale must step up to rescue his daughter and the president.

While there are more than a few similarities between the films, there are some differences. The Olympus Has Fallen baddies were led by a former North Korean terrorist who kept Eckhart's President Asher in captivity for most of the movie. The White House Down villains are a rag-tag band of mercenaries who spend their time hunting down Foxx's President Sawyer.

The biggest contrast is that FilmDistrict's Olympus Has Fallen was rated R and Sony's White House Down, which was originally set for a November launch, is rated PG-13. It's a lighter, less violent occupation of the presidential palace. Emmerich said he encouraged just as many jokes from Tatum and Foxx as he did stunts during filming last year in Montreal.

"You have to release a lot of tension with humour," said Emmerich. "I personally don't like movies that are too intense. I just don't like them, so when I'm making something as intense as this when a girl is constantly at gunpoint, you have to figure out ways to laugh in between. Otherwise, it becomes too fast and not enjoyable any more."

Emmerich said he hasn't actually seen Olympus Has Fallen - and doesn't intend to for a while. "I will probably watch it at Christmas when all is said and done," he said.

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