The Day After Tomorrow, Roland's big-budget disaster epic depicting a modern Ice Age, caught the attention of environmentalists as they embraced it as a warning about the dire consequences of greenhouse-gas emissions.
His father, Hans Emmerich who owns and operates a company called Solo, is an important backer of his films. Roland used to make his early films in his dad's warehouses and has relied on his father's checkbook to insure completion of his works.
Roland was chosen Audience Favorite for Best Director in the 1998 European Film Academy Award for his remake of the movie Godzilla.
Roland has a sister Ute Emmerich, who is also produced many of his movies and co-owns of his Centropolis Entertainment company.
Roland's favorite films are The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno and Earthquake.
In 2001 Roland directed an advertisement clip for the Daimler-Chrysler car company.
In 1984 his student project film The Noah's Ark Principle opened the Berlin Film Festival. This movie very succeeded and was shown in more than 20 countries.
Roland was supposed to film Transformers, Die Another Day and Spider-Man, but producers preferred other directors.
Roland frequently films the objects crashing into the camera.
His nickname is Das Spielbergle aus Sindelfingen, which is German for Little Spielberg from Sindelfingen.
In 1985 Roland created the Centropolis Film Productions company.
In 1997 Roland won a Saturn Award as best director for Independence Day.
Roland was educated at Munich Film and Television School, in Germany.
Universal Soldier was his first directed movie in Hollywood.
In 2005 Roland was a president of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Roland: (on "The Patriot") Everybody accuses me of doing the typical summer fare. Well, here's a movie that's different. It's very dark. It's very long. It's a historical drama.
Roland: (on filmmaking) Most important: do what you like best. Stay with what you enjoy doing. Don't take a job just because it's money or it will help your career. I like science fiction, that is what I stick with.
Roland: I think sport in general affects what people see in movies. I always try to explain to people in Hollywood that we have to make movies more like sport because, in sport, everything can happen and it's so much better than movies in some ways.
Roland: Everybody is obsessed with Hollywood movies worldwide. And even though everybody hates the Americans, they're still watching American movies.
Roland: Nobody makes movies bad on purpose.
Roland: (talks about The Day After Tomorrow) It doesn't really matter if this movie's a success or not, because it's already out there.
Roland: I'm only a stupid filmmaker.
Roland: When you find something where you can give people a message and still make it an exciting movie, you get very, very excited about something. You probably even work harder than you normally do.
Roland: I'm a filmmaker, not a scientist.
Roland: (talks about "The Day After Tomorrow") Well, there's like a rule in Hollywood: Stay away from water and stay away from snow. And I had both.
Roland: (talks about "Independence Day") I had this feeling that there is some terrorist watching my movie in some cave and saying he should do it like the aliens.
Roland: (of creating "Independence Day") I went to Dean Devlin, and Dean always said, "Who wants to have another alien invasion movie?" And I start describing it to him, because I had immediately images in my head. I said to him, "Look out of your window," he lives in Beachwood, and there's Los Angeles, "the whole - you will not see the sky anymore, that's how big the spaceships are."
Roland: (of being technologically inept) But I'm still technically an idiot. I know a lot about computer effects but I'm never ever on the computer. I know people who get so caught up in the computer, and sit in front of the computer when they do a visual effect shot, they don't see the bigger picture anymore. I think that helps me a lot, staying out of it but knowing a lot about it to give suggestions which I could probably otherwise not see because I would be too interested in the small little details.