Only a few days after Roland Emmerich's latest film, Anonymous, opened in theaters, another well-known Hollywood director came out of the shadows and dropped a bombshell on us all. Steven Spielberg sat down with GPS and set the record straight on what was thought to be Emmerich's best film, Stargate. "Roland Emmerich did not direct Stargate," Spielberg told us. "I did."
The Hugo-nominated sci-fi picture has always been a favorite of mine, so the news that Emmerich had a ghost director on it came as a huge shock. When asked whose idea it was, Spielberg said "It was mine. Roland was an up-and-commer back then, and we all wanted to help him out. He had a lot of enthusiasm. A lot of ideas. They just weren't coming together. I was initially brought in as a consultant, but it quickly became apparent I needed to step in and take over."
Spielberg shows Emmerich how to not let special effects overshadow actors' performances.
Spielberg was quick to defend the decision to keep his directorship secret, saying, "Look, I was riding high off the whole Oscars thing. I had just won twice for Schindler's List. I didn't want to over-do it. After some thought, I decided to give Roland credit for that one. So sue me."
Spielberg, left, during "the whole Oscars thing."
The thought then occurred that maybe, just maybe, all of Emmerich's films have been directed by others. When asked to comment, Spielberg played stupid. "I don't know anything about that. All I know is that I did Stargate. I might have given him a few suggestions for Independence Day, but that's it. I swear." I mentioned The Patriot, and after a long silence, Spielberg said "No, no. Not me." Alright, but there's also The Day After Tomorrow, which, in an alternate universe, I could see being directed by him. After another long pause and a few squirms in his chair, Spielberg denied that one as well. "I do quite like that one, but no. I really am proud of Jake's performance, though. Bravo. But, um, I was never on that set. I don't even know where it was filmed. In fact, what year was it made? '91 or something? Hell, I don't even know. What movie are we talking about again?"
In 1997, Emmerich's film, Independence Day, was nominated for a Razzie award as one of the Worst Written Film[s] Grossing Over $100 Million. Again, in 1999, Emmerich was nominated as Worst Director for his work on Godzilla. Most prestigious, however, was Emmerich's 2009 Honorary Bambi award win under the category of Germans in Hollywood. A Bambi awards rep recently told us they have never heard of Werner Herzog.
Emmerich gives a sad speech to his fans after narrowly losing out to Gus Van Sant's Psycho in 1998's Razzie award for Worst Remake or Sequel.
Police released this mug shot of Gus Van Sant after he was picked up for doing a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
Emmerich couldn't be reached for comment, but a rep for the maybe-director told us that "Roland's name is on every poster of every movie. He's listed as Director for 15 - count 'em - 15 titles on IMDB. I think his record speaks for itself."
As Spielberg was walking out of the interview, our worst-behaved intern shouted out "What about Universal Soldier?!?" The 3-time Oscar winner turned around, glared, and pointed at him while mouthing the words "just leave it" before hauling ass away from our property.