Moviegoers didn’t flock to Independence Day: Resurgence, but the sequel will likely do well enough on home video and find some more fans there (it’s really not that bad). And the original Independence Day will continue to be a classic of the alien invasion subgenre. In a new interview at The Guardian promoting the UK DVD release of the follow-up, much of the focus was on that first movie, and one of the more interesting revelations is how Independence Day got that title.
“We wrote the concept around the release date,” director and co-writer Roland Emmerich explains. They needed to hit that mark in order to beat Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! into theaters, not just to be the first alien invasion flick of the summer but to arrive before something so parodic. And it was due in August. “[Co-writer and producer Dean Devlin] said: ‘Let’s just call it Independence Day; we can come up with something better later.'”
Later, after they also wrote the movie around the American holiday, they changed their minds about changing the title. The studio was still planning on going another way, but then they saw the scene where President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) gives his now iconic speech declaring it not just the U.S.’s indepence day but the world’s, Fox was into the name. The studio also had to be convinced on the casting of Will Smith, while Emmerich had to compromise on all the patriotic shots of American flags.
“The whole world thought I was Mr Superpatriot,” he says. “But what no one saw was this was an African American, a Jewish man, and a white-bread politician saving the world as a team. Then my next film was The Patriot. But politically I was always more on the left, and I felt concerned about that. So I did The Day After Tomorrow, which criticised America quite a bit.”
Head over to the Guardian for the rest of the interview, including Emmerich implying Marvel movies all copy Independence Da and Pullman talking about working with Will Smith the day of the O.J. Simpson verdict. And check out the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, which is already out on DVD and other formats in the States.
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