Supersize filmmaker Roland Emmerich, he of bombastic spectacles like "Independence Day," "Godzilla," and over-the-top disaster porn pics, "The Day After Tomorrow " and "2012" -- pictures that all featured some kind of catastrophe hitting the earth -- is going to attack the world once more. However, this time he's going to be doing it in a much quieter fashion
Or at least a much cheaper one. THR reports that Emmerich is prepping "The Zone," a more lo-fi alien invasion picture that will cost only $5 million dollars instead of the usual $100 million-plus ("2012" reportedly cost north of $200 million and he hasn't made a film for less than $100 million since 1994’s "Stargate"). Like "Cloverfield," "District 9" or "Paranormal Activity," Emmerich will use a smaller canvas to tackle a big, high-concept idea.
Also like those aforementioned pictures "The Zone" will also apparently feature mostly unknown actors. It's apparently also super-secret (evidently not that secret), will be improv-based, will use "found footage" (i.e. cameras pretending to capture YouTube-like clips), and nothing is known about the plot other than it will center around an alien invasion (guys, we've seen this kind of picture before, you're probably not really hiding anything major story-wise that we can't imagine).
While this may seem like Emmerich's first scaled-down picture, it's not and it's actually a continuation of what he's started with "Anonymous," a more modestly budgeted historical, political thriller about who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare -- possibly Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford -- set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her. It's being slated for a September 23, 2011 by Sony who may also distribute "The Zone" (officially they're keeping mum, but they've been in the Emmerich business for a while and probably want to stay there).
French writer-director Guillaume Tunzini penned the script and a November start is being eyed. Evidently the two male leads have already been cast -- both of them apparently playing some kind of newsmen, one a journalist, the other an African-American cameraman -- but it's unknown who they are (probably because they're not big stars). As much as we like the idea of Emmerich going less bombastic, nothing about this story so far sounds particularly unique and the whole "Cloverfield," You-Tube-y footage thing has been done. Here's hoping it's something more.