'White House Down' director unfazed by 'Olympus'
In this Tuesday, June 18, 2013 photo, Roland Emmerich. director of the film "White House Down," poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. The action-packed film starring Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States of America and Channing Tatum as his impromptu bodyguard releases Friday, June 28, 2013. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roland Emmerich knows all about disasters.
The 57-year-old filmmaker laid waste to several landmarks in "Independence Day," turned New York into an ice cube in "The Day After Tomorrow" and leveled most of the world in "2012." However, when it comes to his latest film, "White House Down," the biggest catastrophe might not be that terrorists have commandeered America's most famous home.
It's perhaps that the action-packed film starring Jamie Foxx as the President of the United States and Channing Tatum as his impromptu bodyguard is being released Friday — just three months after "Olympus Has Fallen," which featured a strikingly similar under-siege White House plot with Aaron Eckhart and Gerard Butler in the parallel roles.
Yet Emmerich doesn't think the coincidence is the end of the world.
"You do your film," said Emmerich. "They do their film. I remember when there were two volcano and two meteor movies. I thought, 'Isn't Hollywood stupid to do that?' All of a sudden, I was in the same situation, and I said, 'I'm not stopping.' I like my script. I have the two coolest dudes I always wanted to work with together in one film. I'm not stopping.'"
This film publicity image released by Columbia Pictures shows Channing Tatum in a scene from "White House Down." (AP Photo/Sony Columbia Pictures, Reiner Bajo)
"White House Down" focuses on Sgt. John Cale, a Capitol police officer played by Tatum who is touring the White House with his daughter right after tanking an interview for a Secret Service job. When rogue former soldiers and government employees begin wreaking havoc on Pennsylvania Avenue, Cale must step up to rescue his daughter and the president.
While there are more than a few similarities between the films, there are some differences. The "Olympus Has Fallen" baddies were led by a former North Korean terrorist who kept Eckhart's President Asher in captivity for most of the movie. The "White House Down" villains are a rag-tag band of mercenaries who spend their time hunting down Foxx's President Sawyer.
The biggest contrast is that FilmDistrict's "Olympus Has Fallen" was rated R and Sony's "White House Down," which was originally set for a November launch, is rated PG-13. It's a lighter, less violent occupation of the presidential palace. Emmerich said he encouraged just as many jokes from Tatum and Foxx as he did stunts during filming last year in Montreal.