- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

We always knew the aliens could come back for round 2. And so did “Independence Day” cast members Jeff Goldblum and Vivica A. Fox.

“They’ve been talking about making the film for at least 15 years,” Miss Fox told The Washington Times during a swing through the District this spring to promote the sequel, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” opening Friday.

In the original 1996 film, a swarm of alien craft come to Earth on July 4 weekend intent on destroying all of mankind. Putting aside all differences, humanity successfully fights back and drives the evil E.T.s back into outer space.

“It flew by like that,” Miss Fox said of the intervening 20 years, during which several sequel ideas were batted around by original director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devil before “Resurgence” finally got the green light. “We were glad it was finally happening,” Miss Fox said of the end of the waiting period.

Miss Fox co-starred in the original alongside Mr. Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and Will Smith, who was then best known for “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” All have returned to the sequel except for Mr. Smith. The reasons given for his absence vary from a salary dispute to his rather busy schedule and tiredness of sequelae.

Whatever the ultimate explanation, Mr. Smith’s character’s son Dylan (Jessie T. Usher) will take center stage in “Resurgence.” Miss Fox called this a fine opportunity to mix returning cast members with newbies.

“We get a chance to introduce Generation Next to what it’s like to kick some alien butt,” she said with a smile. “I’m really happy about that.”

“Resurgence” opens with humankind having rebuilt its society, most of which was destroyed by the aliens, as well as utilizing the extraterrestrial technology to increase their defenses if a second attack from beyond the stars should occur. The aliens do return, this time with bigger guns and even better technology.

Mr. Goldblum, a veteran of the “Jurassic Park” films, “The Fly,” “The Big Chill” and the current Apartments.com TV spots, returns as the brainy scientist David Levinson, who successfully cracked the alien technology in the first film. “Resurgence” reunites him with Judd Hirsch, who played his father Julius in 1996.

“It was great playing father and son again; we laughed and cried and we had a great time,” Mr. Goldblum said of working with the Oscar-winning Mr. Hirsch.

Miss Fox and Mr. Hirsch also worked together in the 2014 horror camp sequel “Sharknado 2: The Second One.”

“The sci-fi world just loves us,” she said. “We go from ‘Sharknado’ back to fighting aliens. It was cool.”

Mr. Pullman, who played President Whitmore in 1996, has been succeeded in the White House — er, whatever was built after the first one was blasted to bits by the aliens — by actress Sela Ward as the new President Lanford.

“I make a damn good president,” Miss Ward, a veteran of “CSI: NY” and the medical drama “House” said of her fictional chief executive, adding she will next be seen in “Graves,” in which she portrays a former first lady.

“And here you are in Washington,” Mr. Goldblum nudged his cast mate.

“If only I knew much about politics,” Miss Ward smiled in reply. “I’ll have to brush up a little bit.”

Miss Fox says that the new “Independence Day” — colloquially known as “IDR” in keeping with the first film’s “ID4” moniker — will show how familiar characters like Jasmine, David Levinson and former President Whitmore have evolved in the two decades since we last saw them.

In fact, Jasmine was a stripper in the first film but is now a hospital administrator, and Miss Fox laughs at the memories of “researching” her character in the mid-90s.

“I went to an actual strip joint, and the very first time I showed up, [my trainer] said, ‘Look, you can show up with track shorts and a G-string on. We’re gonna work our way to taking it off,’” she said. “So by the time we filmed the scene, I didn’t even realize my ass was all out when I walked in the dressing room, I was so comfortable wearing the G-string,” she said, adding that her mother gasped audibly seeing the scene in the finished film.

“But the boys loved it,” she added.

“I rehearsed the first movie in the same costume,” Mr. Goldblum said in his typical deadpan manner.

“In the G-string?” Miss Fox responded.

“I don’t know why they had me in that,” Mr. Goldblum added, causing his co-star to giggle.

While the details of the sci-fi sequel are under tight wraps until Friday, Miss Fox previously told The Times the new film would be “bigger and badder.” At the same time, she described getting the old alien-stomping cast back together as “like a wonderful high school reunion.”

“And this beautiful lady here,” she said, indicating Miss Ward, “I’ve been a fan of for years. When they let me know that you were cast as the president, I was like, ‘Way to go, Roland!’ Way to think forward.

“She carries herself [in a way] that she would service that role as the first female president.”

“Don’t be so critical,” Miss Ward responded somewhat bashfully in her native Mississippi timbre.

While box-office prognosticators will be watching the weekend returns carefully, Miss Fox predicts that more “Independence Day” films will be in the offing so long as audience continues to show up.

“They wanted this sequel, so I guarantee they’ll be requesting more,” she said.


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