The long in gestation ‘Independence Day’ sequel is moving forward, with or without the first movie’s lead actor, Will Smith. Earlier it had been reported that Smith would not appear, but subsequent reports indicate that the actor is in talks to star in the film. Director Roland Emmerich has revealed that two separate scripts are being prepared, one that includes Smith’s character, Captain Steve Hillard, and one that doesn’t.
‘Independence Day’ made Smith an overnight sensation. Previously, he had been well known as a rapper and sitcom star, but the alien invasion spectacle made him a bonafied Hollywood A-Lister and leading man. But it’s possible he’s become too big a star to go “back home.” He still demands millions in salary, but his most recent movies, like ‘After Earth’ have not drawn the audiences like his earlier films did.
Emmerich was promoting the Blu-Ray release of ‘White House Down’, when he addressed the process of crafting ‘Independence Day 2’ as “A daily battle … The budget, the schedules, the actors … [but] It’s looking good.” He then revealed that screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt was indeed penning two versions of the script, one with the Hillard character, one without, but he mentioned that the one that does include the kick butt alien fighter pilot as “looking good.”
On the other hand, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum are expected to reprise their roles and Michael B. Jordan is heavily rumored to be up for a role, most likely as Hillards’ son, who was a child in the first movie.
If Smith does come on board, he may demand changes to the script. He famously turned down the role of Django in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ after the director refused to alter the screenplay to give the character more screen time.
It sounds like Emmerich is covering all his bases by prepping two scripts. Only small bits of information about the film have been revealed so far and depending on Smith’s involvement, the plot could change drastically.
What do you think? Would you like to see Smith return to the role that made him a star?