Independence Day Resurgence: What we learned on set, interviews, & more!

I was fourteen years old in the summer of 1996. Like many kids that age, I was there opening night to see INDEPENDENCE DAY, having been counting the days until it’s arrival since Entertainment Tonight aired the iconic teaser that showed the White House being blown up by an alien ship. At the time I was obsessed with two things – Star Trek and Star Wars – and INDEPENDENCE DAY played into my love of both. I was especially excited by the fact that director Roland Emmerich and writer-producer Dean Devlin were coming off STARGATE, a movie that rocked my thirteen-year-old brain when it came out the year before.

Flash forward twenty years, and INDEPENDENCE DAY is finally back with the long awaited sequel, INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE – or rather IDR. A sequel to the original had been rumored for years and considering that ID4 was among the most successful movies of the nineties, it’s amazing it took so long to happen. I remember my old fanboy standby’s, Cinemascape and SCI-FI Universe being chockfull of rumors, with one of the more intriguing ones being that the ID4 sequel would also function as a remake of FANTASTIC VOYAGE, with Will Smith’s Steven Hiller and Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson being shrunk down to microscopic size to do battle with an alien virus planted inside President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) head.

President Whitmore is back, but he's not the same

Obviously, this never happened, but funny enough, the alien probe of Whitmore has a part to play in the sequel. I found out during my set visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico that the sequel would feature a returning Whitmore (played by an awesomely bearded Pullman) who, years after his presidency is called back to help deal with a second alien invasion, with the idea being that the probe somehow affected his sanity, leaving him a recluse. Sela Ward plays the current president, who we learn lost most of her family in the original invasion.

What happened to Will Smith's Steven Hiller?

Now, obviously Pullman isn’t the only one who’s back. In fact, I learned during my set visit that nearly the entire cast would be returning – with a few notable exceptions. Will Smith, the breakout megastar from the first film is not back as Hiller and while at the time we didn’t know whether the character was still alive, months later the viral campaign confirmed that the character is in fact dead. That said, Hiller is still part of the mythology and on a tour of the art department I stumbled upon something maybe I wasn’t supposed to see, which featured mock artwork of a comic book featuring Smith’s likeness as Hiller on the cover, tying into the fact that he’s become a near-mythic, heroic figure in the IDR universe.

Jeff Goldblum returns as Levinson along with his Dad and a possible new love interest

While Smith is sitting this one out, fan-favorite Jeff Goldblum is back, and they even brought back the character’s dad, eighty-year old Judd Hirsch as Julius, who, as revealed by still images has written his tell-all memoirs and still seems to be annoying his now-ultra famous son. Goldblum, who we interviewed (link) looks like a tougher Levinson this time around, with some great costume test images showing him in Africa and possibly romancing Charlotte Gainsborough’s character.

The new generation of heroes and a fully functional moon base

The leads this time are Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, and Jessie Usher. Hemsworth plays a rebellious, Maverick-style hot shot pilot who’s now part of the Earth Defense Force, and is stationed on a moon base. On the visit, we learned that the EDF uses Alien technology from the first film in order to build a huge space defense league, with Hemsworth a member of this team, In the scene we were allowed to observe, he’s giving a dressing-down by his superior for being such a hot-shot and is restricted to base. While maybe a bit of a cliché, this character seems to fit well into the heightened reality of the INDEPENDENCE DAY world, and Hemsworth showed a lot of charisma in the bit we saw shot. Monroe plays the now grown-up Patricia Whitmore, who also seems to be a member of the EDF and is apparently in a relationship with the Hemsworth character. For his part, Usher plays Steven Hiller’s now-grown-up adopted son, also part of the EDF, with Viveca A. Fox returning as his mother. Also back is Brent Spiner as Roswell scientist Dr. Okun.

Everything is bigger with destruction on a global scale

As we visited the set early in production, Fox was very nervous about what they could and couldn’t show us, but suffice to say the scale of the film seems to be massive. If you thought the carnage wreaked by the aliens in the first film was massive you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, with concept art revealing a truly global scale – something the first film lacked.

While some may question the  wisdom of making an INDEPENDENCE DAY sequel twenty-years after the original came out, two movies release since the set visit prove Emmerich and Devlin (working together for the first time since 2000’s THE PATRIOT) may have been on to something – STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and JURASSIC WORLD. Never underestimate nostalgia, and with the good buzz coming off the first teaser, it looks entirely possible that INDEPENDENCE DAY – RESURGENCE might be a giant hit in the making.

Hankering for more IDR exclusives? Check out my 1:1 interviews with Roland Emmerich, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Vivica A. Fox, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward, and Brent Spiner!

Jeff Goldblum

Roland Emmerich

Liam Hemsworth

Maika Monroe & Jessie Usher

Bill Pullman & Sela Ward

Brent Spiner & Viveca A. Fox

Extra Tidbit: INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE opens June 24th, 2016
Source: JoBlo.com



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