Roland Emmerich Directing Asimov's Foundation Trilogy
by Brandon Lee Tenney
January 16, 2009
We originally announced last summer that Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy was headed to the big screen. After bouncing around between multiple production companies, the master of disaster, Roland Emmerich, and Columbia Pictures won an auction Thursday for the screen and development rights to Foundation. Best known for his disaster blockbusters (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and the forthcoming 2012), Emmerich will be using Foundation as a directorial vehicle - this time on a galactic scale. Emmerich and Columbia won the rights over others like Alex Proyas and Warner Brothers.
Foundation is an epic saga spanning hundreds of years where humanity finds itself scattered throughout the galaxy under the oppressive rule of the Galactic Empire. Originally published in serial format as five separate short stories beginning in 1942, Foundation tells the story of a group of scientists, the Psychohistorians, who are doing all they can to preserve knowledge as the colonies around them steadily regress. The study of psychohistory equates every possible outcome of a large society into readable, predictable mathematics, allowing its practitioners to accurately predict long-term events. Through this insight, a discovery with disastrous consequences is made and a plan is set in motion to avert it.
Although Columbia did acquire the rights to the trilogy, there's been no word yet on whether Foundation will be a single film venture, or if the entire Foundation trilogy will eventually make its way to the big screen. We're expecting Sony to test the waters and see how this first film does before they greenlight any sequels, given the size of the production. Whatever the case, Emmerich seems to be the perfect fit. However, I am weary of the difficulty to adapt Asimov's saga. With such lengths of time and a plot reliant on long-term, plodding effects, can Emmerich make it exciting while still being faithful to the source material?