Director Roland Emmerich has blown up national landmarks and depicted war on a massive scale, in films like INDEPENDENCE DAY. Now he turns his talents to the true story of the battle of Midway, which was a turning point in the War in the Pacific during World War II. In MIDWAY, Emmerich directs a massive ensemble cast to recreate the heroism and seat of the pants thinking that turned Midway into a massive success for the Allies.
We spoke to director Roland Emmerich, about the film, and also talked to actors Patrick Wilson, Dennis Quaid, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson, and Luke Kleintank.
Emmerich says that he became interested in Midway many years back. "Twenty years ago I saw a documentary which made me interested in this battle. What I like about [Midway] is that so many different aspects had to come together. You had to show Pearl Harbor, and how unprepared the pilots felt," adding that "they were true underdogs." This was also a departure for the filmmaker. "There's a certain responsibility, making a World War II movie," he said. "It's also the first time where I wanted to tell a story exactly as it happened."
While Emmerich is known for his massive setpieces, we were surprised to discover that even an experienced master doesn't always nail it the first time. For some pivotal diving scenes, he recalls that "everything was nearly done, then I said 'throw it all away, it's not as impressive as I thought [they] should be." He went back to "work on it again" with a focused team, and came away with something great.
Here's our conversation with Roland Emmerich:
Dennis Quaid deadpanned that "we're just two of many," referring to the roles he and Patrick Wilson have in the sprawling cast. Quaid got serious when talking about playing his character, Admiral William Halsey, Jr. Real footage was key to developing his performance. "I've always been a student of history, but for this, there was a whole documentary series on the Enterprise, and a big part of that included Bill Halsey. There was so much film, you could viscerally feel what was going on."
Check out our full conversation here:
All images courtesy of Lionsgate.