The sequel to ‘Independence Day’ is now officially titled ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, director Roland Emmerich revealed in a live-stream event with the cast.
Twentieth Century Fox will release the alien action thriller on 24 June 2016, nearly 20 years after the original film hit theatres on 3 July 1996.
The cast assembled for the live stream included franchise newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe and Sela Ward as well as returning actors Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch, who revealed details of the upcoming movie. Will Smith is not returning to the sequel. Other actors in the cast include Charlotte Gainsbourg and Singaporean Chin Han.
Emmerich described how he got involved in the movie: “While doing ‘2012’, I jokingly asked visual effects supervisor Volker Engel, who did the visual effects for the first film. what could we do if we had the same technology back then. He said that it would be a different movie. Of course, after that, I started thinking about all these images in my head, and then I just needed to get these images on the screen.”
Director Roland Emmerich on the set | Photo: 20th Century Fox
The director said the sequel will take place 20 years after the alien attack that Smith's and Goldblum's characters fought off in the first film.
In the ensuing time, the human race has joined forces to organise a global defence system using alien technology to preempt future invasions.
Sela Ward, who plays President Lanford, elaborated on how things have changed in the movie: "It’s a totally different political landscape. She’s entirely different (from Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore). She’s tougher, more decisive, not afraid to use force, she’s more aggressive. She’s a very different animal because it’s a very different time.”
The cast and director of 'Independence Day 2: Resurgence' | Photo: YouTube screenshot
Ward said: “We’ve been preparing for 20 years for the inevitability of an invasion. We don’t know by whom or when. So there’s a very different climate in terms of the tenor of the movie. Especially for the president.”
Goldblum revealed his scientist David Levinson is the director of the new initiative.
"It's my job to lead the way in making sure everyone is safe on this precious planet. Having faced that last challenge, we're all working in a beautiful way under one (goal). Borders are no longer relevant in the same way, and that’s a very beautiful idea. We're working together," he said.
Spiner, whose character appeared to be killed in the first film, said his character would be "as manic and excitable" as in the new instalment (and he would have a different hairstyle).
He declined to say whether his character, Dr Brakish Okun, would be alive — but said working with the first film's cast again was like "like swimming in a rainbow with thousands of naked cherubs".
Liam Hemsworth plays Jake Morrison, who lost his parents in the attack in 1996.
“He eventually joined the military and ended up in the best of the best of the fighter pilots. And he made a bad mistake, a bad decision, and put someone’s life at risk, and got the great job of driving this Moon Tug, which is basically a forklift on the moon. (It) is not really an exciting job for a fighter pilot like himself,” Hemsworth said of his character.
The Moon Tug is one of the spaceships made by “harvesting” the crashed remains of the alien invasion from 1996.
The Moon Tug | Photo: 20th Century Fox
Another cast member joining the franchise is Jessie Usher, who plays the son of Will Smith's fighter pilot Captain Steve Hiller.
"He grew up in the world that his dad saved, so you can only imagine what being the son of the world's savior is kind of like. It's a lot of pressure, he's under that shadow, but it's not a negative thing at all. He took it for what it was and made a good thing out of it,” Usher said.
In a bid to win over Asian audiences, particularly the China market, Chinese actress Angela Yeung, better known by her stage name Angelababy, plays Rain, a fighter pilot whom she calls a "tough girl".
The actress is the latest in the recent wave of Chinese actresses including Fan Bingbing ('Iron Man 3', 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'), Li Bingbing ('Transformers: Age of Extinction) and Zhou Xun ('Cloud Atlas) who have acted in Hollywood films.
‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ opens in cinemas 24 June 2016