Born and raised in New York City, he attended Yale University, where he sang with the a capella group the Yale Spizzwinks. He attended NYU Film School where he wrote and directed an award winning short film called "The Painter." Emmerich came to prominence with starring roles in the cult hit Beautiful Girls (1996) and the Jim Carrey blockbuster The Truman Show (1998). He is considered a real "actor's actor," noted for his understated, subtle realism and his deep emotional presence on screen. His production company, Sandbox Entertainment, has a first-look production deal with New Line Cinema. His older brother is Toby Emmerich.