Filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin met 10 years ago in Germany, when Emmerich was filming the feature Moon 44, in which Devlin had a starring role. Impressed with the actor's talent for improvising dialogue, Emmerich enlisted his help in writing the screenplay for his next feature, the science fiction action film Universal Soldier, and an enduring creative partnership was born. The two subsequently re-teamed for Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Patriot, under the banner Centropolis Entertainment, with Emmerich directing and Devlin producing, and both of them sharing screenplay credit on all but The Patriot.
The two movie buffs often discussed their favourite films with one another. In particular, they both loved the low-budget B-movie thrillers of the 1950s and early 1960s, such as Them or Tarantula, films whose enduring popularity over the years has earned them classic status and made them a genre unto themselves.
As Devlin recalls, "we were wondering if there was a way to recreate that kind of film with more sophisticated visual effects and state-of-the-art production values, to bring it into the modern era but not lose the charm and humour that made those films distinctive in the first place."
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