SYDNEY: You know your country has made it when its most famous landmarks get completely and utterly annihilated by some bad-ass aliens... on the silver screen that is.
And at the hands of apocalyptic wizard Roland Emmerich (White House Down, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) no less.
Singapore was all atwitter when early trailers for Independence Day: Resurgence (IDR) showed the triple towers of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and the Central Business District being obliterated. And that was exactly the kind of reaction the German filmmaker was looking for when he chose to include the country's skyline in his highly anticipated sequel to the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day, which he also directed.
“Why Singapore? Because it’s a very attractive skyline. It’s very nice looking!” Emmerich told Channel NewsAsia during an interview in Sydney, Australia. “I always say it’s the recognisability of the landmarks which count for me ... and that’s a little bit in a way the trademark of Independence Day. In the first one, I famously used a lot of American landmarks. This time, we kind of spread it out.”
IDR takes place 20 years after the events of the first film as the international community recovers from the original invasion and the UN creates a defence programme to protect the planet using recovered alien technology. Of course this being the sequel, it’s only a matter of time before the aliens turn up, intent on planetary destruction.
So, by systematically going through all the world’s landmarks to destroy, is this Emmerich’s idea of cinematic globalisation?
“Exactly! It’s the true democratic way to make movies,” he replied with a laugh. “We think about it a lot. We like Singapore because it’s a very unique skyline. And I think you have to stand there (in front of the landmark) to understand.”
The 60-year-old director also revealed that he travels to Singapore often, because he has a boat in Thailand. The island is his stop-over when he travels from London to Phuket. He added that he enjoyed collaborating frequently with Singaporean actor Chin Han, who he first cast in his other apocalyptic blockbuster 2012. In IDR, the actor, whose full name is Ng Chin Han. plays the leader of the Chinese Space Squadron and supervisor of Liam Hemsworth’s U.S. pilot Jake Morrison, joining the original 1996 team of Jeff Goldblum. Vivica A. Fox and Bill Pullman.
“Chin Han has become a very good friend of mine,” he said. “He’s a very nice man and a great actor.”
So with his appreciation of Asia and its actors, does this mean there might be a possibility he will make his next film entirely in this part of the world or even Singapore?
“Oh I don’t know! I don’t know what or when,” he said. "Maybe a TV show?”
Independence Day: Resurgence opens around Asia on Jun 23.