So here’s the baseline for Roland Emmerich’s unholy adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation: it won’t be as bad as the adaptation of Asimov’s I, Robot.

This is like me promising you that your next beating won’t be as bad as the one that put you in a coma. But it’s a step forward – at least Emmerich has provided us with a basement for our expectations. Says the director, ‘I don’t want to repeat that disappointment; I want to give people exactly what the Foundation trilogy is. You have to tell a story that represents the books but also works as a film.’

Emmerich tells Empire that Robert Rodat has handed in his first draft, which comes in at a whopping 240 pages (the rule of thumb is that one page of script equals one minute of screen time); Emmerich has asked him to cut it down to under 200. What’s weird is that reading between the lines of the piece on Empire it’s sounding like rather than make a trilogy out of Foundation, Rodat and Emmerich are condensing it all into one film. How could they possibly do such a thing?

Glad you asked. Says Emmerich: ‘I worked with Bob on the story for weeks, sitting in a room trying to figure out how to make all the loose stories [work] and put them in a box called ‘Foundation’. Bob’s perfect for this thing – he also knows as a writer he has to find the hero and a bad guy in the piece. We had to come up with characters that go through [the series], which is very hard.’

It sounds like Emmerich and Rodat are making up characters for their film. And it sounds like they’re making them either immortal or cutting the timeline of the story way down, since Asimov’s books take place over a millenia. Expect to see Hari Seldon outrunning the literal crumbling of the Galactic Empire before trading blows with The Mule as the Second Foundation explodes around them! (In 3D mocap, of course)