Q&A: Brace Yourself for ‘Moonfall’ With Director Roland Emmerich and Actress Kelly Yu

Widespread flooding, snowstorms and life as we know it coming to an end—sound familiar? No, we’re not talking about the East Coast’s weather forecast. That’s just some of the backdrop for Roland Emmerich’s new film, “Moonfall.”

Hitting theaters today, Feb. 4, “Moonfall” stars Halle Berry as Jocinda Fowler, an astronaut unexpectedly tasked with solving the moon’s sudden and severe departure from its path of orbit. To avert the moon’s collision course with Earth, Jocinda has to team up with her former co-pilot Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and local “planetary megastructure” expert K.C. Houseman, played with loveable glee by “Game of Thrones” star John Bradley. Kelly Yu, Charlie Plummer and Zayn Maloney also star.

Ahead of the film’s premiere, we got to chat with Yu and Emmerich over Zoom about the making of “Moonfall.” Read on to find out what inspired Emmerich, the similarities Yu shares with her character and why you need to catch this film in theaters.

Roland, what were some of your inspirations for this story?

Roland Emmerich: Maybe nine or 10 years ago, I read a book called ‘Who Built the Moon,’ which fascinated me. I had never heard of anything like that. Then I was naturally reading more books about it—the crazy theories out there. Whenever I was looking at the moon, I was saying, like, ‘Oh, my God, can this be a constructed object?’ Then I said, ‘What would happen if the moon falls on Earth, and through that we learn it’s not a natural object?’

“It’s a movie where there’s an end to everything,” says Emmerich. (Photo by Reiner Bajo.)

How did you get involved with the film, Kelly?

Kelly Yu: I was in Vancouver, Canada and [the casting directors] were looking for a local Asian girl who could speak both Mandarin and English. So I was right there for them. When I first heard that [Roland] wants to return to disaster movies, that was really good news for me. I feel really confident that he’s doing this; he’s going to do great.

What would you say is unique about your character?

KY: [Michelle] is saving the people that she loves and really cares about. Saving the world is too much of a job [for] anybody. You can’t really save the world, but you can definitely save the people you love, or at least try, because that’s the most important thing. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so you might as well enjoy today and treasure whatever you have right now.

“It’s also about people, about the people you love, the most important people in your life,” says Yu, right. (Photo by Reiner Bajo.)

What do you think is so fun about watching a disaster film right now, as we’re in the midst of a global disaster?

RE: People can totally see what [the film] is, and we made it a little bit more fun by not cutting out as many jokes as we normally do. I’ve always shot a lot of jokes and then timed it a little bit, because you don’t want to have a comedy. But we left maybe three, four or five more laughs in there, to have people laugh about it. And it’s a movie where there’s an end to everything. It will give people hope this will soon be over.

KY: This movie is not just about disasters and destruction. It’s also about people, about the people you love, the most important people in your life that you realize when these kinds of things happen, that you have to protect and be with.