'Moonfall' director Roland Emmerich talks disaster, destruction and the inspiration for his moon-crashing new film (video)

The latest amazing, action-packed apocalyptic movie from the master of mayhem, the captain of calamity, Roland Emmerich is about to hit the big screen.

In the movie "Moonfall" — which arrives in theaters across the U.S. on Friday (Feb. 4) — for reasons unknown, Earth's only natural satellite is on a collision course with our little blue-green planet. The film focuses on a former astronaut-turned-NASA executive (Halle Berry) who must team up with an astronaut from her past (Patrick Wilson) and a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley) to save Earth from this impending calamity. Joining them are Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak and Donald Sutherland.

Emmerich already has an impressive list of how many times he's destroyed the Earth. The Stuttgart-born writer/director gave us "Independence Day," the underrated "Godzilla" (1998), "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012" to name just a few. 

Related: 'Moonfall' is an epic disaster movie, but how accurate is the physics?

Roland Emmerich on the "Moonfall" set. Could this be the last annihilation epic from the master of disaster? (Image credit: Lionsgate)

Surely, given the amount of disaster and devastation in the real world today, it must get harder to make cinematic catastrophe on a truly blockbuster scale. "I kind of believe that every one of my movies looks totally different," Emmerich told Space.com. "I also don't want to compete with real-life disasters because they're so terrible."

"I also have the feeling I should stop making disaster movies because ... probably there's a moment which has already passed," he said, referring to the context of real-life disasters. "It's like, there's a moment of no return when it comes to global warming. And I will do everything in my power to help, with my movies or with my filmmaking ... because that really concerns me."

Related: Watch the first 5 minutes of 'Moonfall,' Roland Emmerich's new sci-fi

When asked about what inspired him to make "Moonfall," Emmerich said, "I read a book called 'Who Built the Moon' by two English authors [Christopher Knight and Alan Butler]. And then I started to look at the moon and say, okay, so that's quite interesting ... So [the moon] falls on Earth, and through that occurrence people find out the first time that the moon is not real," he said with a laugh.

"What's also great is [that] a guy like KC Houseman [played by John Bradley], who always believed that the moon is like a megastructure in our own backyard, is kind of person who has to explain things, which is really funny. So, uh, that was like just for me, you know. And I think I went a little bit more into the humor of it than I normally do," he laughs again.

"Moonfall" arrives in theaters across the U.S. on Feb. 4, 2022.

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Scott Snowden

When Scott's application to the NASA astronaut training program was turned down, he was naturally upset...as any 6-year-old boy would be. He chose instead to write as much as he possibly could about science, technology and space exploration. He graduated from The University of Coventry and received his training on Fleet Street in London. He still hopes to be the first journalist in space.