Home CINEMA CELEBRATING ‘INDEPENDENCE DAY’ (1996)

CELEBRATING ‘INDEPENDENCE DAY’ (1996)

As aliens attack, Earth battles back! Combat reports from LA, NY & DC!

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Independence Day (1996) - Will Smith (Captain Steven Hiller) and Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson)
Independence Day (1996) - Will Smith (Captain Steven Hiller) and Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson)

INVASION: NEW YORK

DISASTER AREA

In New York for Independence Day, Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin stage a little mass destruction

by Dan Yakir

It’s a steamy summer day, but thousands of New Yorkers pay no attention to the sweltering heat. They’re facing the crisis of a-lifetime: aliens have invaded and are about to reduce their town to rubble! People are throwing suitcases and packages out of windows down into the intersection of Grand and Greene Streets in SoHo, which is teeming with bumper-to-bumper traffic, full of panicky individuals trying to escape destruction. In all this mayhem, one cyclist seems to have something else on his mind as he rides hastily against the traffic. The biker’s name is David. He was the first to detect the aliens. Played by Jeff Goldblum, he may also find a way to keep the invaders at bay.
“Cut!” says director Roland Emmerich, wiping his brow. He has just finished the second day of location shooting in Manhattan on
the SF epic Independence Day, whose title marks the date of the alien invasion. During a short break in the shoot, Emmerich explains, “The aliens choose a day when, at least in America, everybody is on holiday. On the other hand, this is the day America got its independence, and they have the same problem again, only now it’s on a bigger scale.” Namely, this could signify the end of the world.
Calm and composed, the German-born filmmaker is a sight to behold. Where many Hollywood directors might lose their temper in the delays and the scorching heat, with the moneymen watching over every single budget increase, this filmmaker is cool, collected and making good time. Perhaps he doesn’t need to worry, because co-screenwriter/producer Dean Devlin does that for him. Still, Emmerich notes that “this is our first film for a studio—Fox—and it’s a different kind of responsibility.” In any case, Emmerich is not the kind of director who lets the millions slip through his fingers. Every dollar is up there on the screen.
Although shooting in New York is only a few days’ work, the task at hand is far from simple. For one thing, Emmerich marvels at the incredible heat and noise that the place generates. “Sometimes you can’t hear what a person next to you is saying,” he observes, astonished. Adds Devlin, “Anytime you shut down four or five blocks in NYC, especially in a popular place like SoHo over the weekend, you have a challenge. First, we establish the street in a quiet, normal day, and then we show the absolute panic as people are trying to evacuate.
“You can’t fake New York,” contends Devlin, who has previously teamed with Emmerich on Universal Soldier and StarGate. “The flair and the decor are unique and can’t be done on a backlot.” Emmerich is filming with three cameras that face different directions for maximum impact, and has cast NYC TV newscaster Ernie Anastos to report on the mayhem.
“The real burning and destruction stuff for NYC we will shoot in downtown Los Angeles,” chuckles the filmmaker, “because there’s one street you can totally block off and bring in huge wind machines, which you can’t do in NYC; they don’t allow it.” Both Emmerich and Devlin insist that despite what may sound like superficial similarities to 1950s alien invasion movies, their picture is no follow-up or update of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. “It’s more like the Irwin Allen disaster movies of the 1970s,” offers Devlin. “The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, [the non-Allen] Earthquake. We wondered how to best make it today, and we decided it needed an SF twist. We started with the assumption: ‘What if they came over and they were neither good nor bad, just intent on taking over? What if. instead of a super-villain, we have a force of nature?’ Now we’re the bugs and they’re the exterminators.”
Elaborates Emmerich, “They simply don’t care too much about us; they only want to have our planet.” Although the movie deals with the aliens as morally neutral. it also presents them as “a disaster, a kind of battle between good and evil.” Therefore, while the earthlings are “good,” the aliens are “bad” because they attack. “They simply come like locusts over us and want to have our space, our planet, and that’s it,” continues Emmerich. “And we never go into the personal side of them; it’s like an earthquake coming over us. It’s so big and overpowering.”

O Say Can You See
The day before, Emmerich was shooting on the Brooklyn Bridge, where a bunch of Big Apple residents were gaping at the sky with amazement and terror. But as with most special FX films, they were staring at absolutely nothing. The FX will come later. Suffice it to say that the alien ships are enormous. ‘‘Within the movie’s first half-hour,” says Devlin, “we’ll see round, 15-mile-wide spaceships hovering above the 30 big cities of the U.S. When they’re over a city, they dominate the entire view. You see the ship’s underbelly and you feel it’s moving over the city. In NYC, it looks especially impressive, because you don’t see much sky anyway. But we also have battle sequences with 150 American jets fighting 200 alien attackers which fly out of 15-mile-wide city-destroyer spaceships that have come from a 640-mile-wide mothership.”
According to the director, the aliens will be a “faceless enemy,” and he admits that the movie uses trickery in terms of showing what they look like. “It’s a surprise,” he says, smiling. “I think we’ve found a new alien. The aliens from Alien and Predator were so specific and so well-done that it’s very hard to create new creatures that will improve on them. The fans expect a certain level of intelligence about the way they behave and a certain quality in the way they look. We used the same people who did StarGate to create not only a new look for the aliens, but a new system. The most important question about the alien is, what makes it tick? In Alien, it only wants to plant its eggs, and the Predator was a hunter. We came up with something that has never been seen before.”
The movie focuses on a dozen individuals, including an Air Force pilot (Will Smith) and the President of the United States (Bill Pullman). It follows “how they cope with the end of the world,” Devlin adds. “People have fantasized about this a lot, and they do so even more as we near the Millennium. Whatever our differences, we are all human, and it takes a foreign threat, an alien threat, to make us realize that—to conclude that our differences are petty in the face of total annihilation. This movie is truly about the human spirit. Throughout the film, we see the Israelis, the Syrians and the Iraqis working together, side by side, against the common enemy. This is also the film’s moral; we have a brotherhood of humans, and they come together most closely at a time of crisis.”
This is a decidedly relaxed “set.” Emmerich’s sister, Ute, who’s the executive producer and a partner at Centropolis with Emmerich and Devlin, is observing the shoot and provides silent moral support to the director, who is busy looking at a video monitor after each take to get a clear idea as to what the final outcome will look like.
One of the major challenges facing the filmmakers is to create a kind of realism that will force moviegoers to the edge of their seats. According to Emmerich, first come the characters—they must feel real for the audience. “But then you must also simplify things,” he adds. “For example, when you’re dealing with the President and what his role would be in a situation like that, you have to simplify certain things, because it’s incredibly complicated. We also didn’t want to make the whole thing too dark. We want people to enjoy the film, so we introduced a lot of humor—some of it dark, to be sure.
“That’s when we realized that what we really wanted to do was a disaster film. What this kind of movie does well is take a number of characters from different backgrounds and introduce you to diverse viewpoints regarding the same problem. Some characters are used only for comic relief, and I like that because in everything that happens to people, there’s always a funny side—they react in absurd or strange ways.
“In Independence Day, for example, we’re dealing with an alien invasion. There are many people who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens; what would they do? They would have a totally different take on it from the Secretary of Defense or the President. The fun of the movie is when it shows human nature reacting to something unbelievably big in totally different ways. And when all these people come together and form one crew, you get the feeling that society and mankind are fighting back, because there’s someone from everywhere in the spectrum representing us all. That’s what interests me about disaster movies. Independence Day is not going to look like a disaster movie of the 1970s, but it evokes some of the genre’s feeling.”

Home of the Brave
While an alien invasion as portrayed in the 1950s would have humans as technologically inferior and ill-equipped to deal with such an event, Emmerich contends that his movie takes several things into account. “First of all, everything becomes a big media event. Secondly, people do strange things. For example, the police have to warn citizens not to shoot at the spaceships, because at first they’re not aggressive and a violent reaction could trigger a war. Today there’s a totally different take than in the 1950s. In those movies, you would see one little radio or a TV report coming in at the beginning, and you would never be shown what the public thinks after that. You only concentrate on two or three characters fighting the threat.
“In our case,” he continues, “there’s more of a mass hysteria. Some people even keep living the way they did before because they don’t know where to run and hide. That’s pretty much the movie’s first 40 minutes. Then comes the second thing, the discussion about ‘What should we do? Should we get tanks on the streets? Should we alert the military?’ But when the aliens actually attack, it’s so overpowering that we all get wiped out anyway.”
So, is the human victory achieved thanks to technological wizardry or plain old heroism? “From the beginning, Dean and I made a conscious choice that on the one hand we should win with our human ingenuity and that it should be the David vs. Goliath equation,” responds the director. “It should be something so overpowering that you have a feeling there’s no chance, and in the end two or three people manage to do something by working together for that goal. It’s only a movie, but it sends a positive signal—that if we overcome our pettiness and join forces, we can use our intelligence and bravery and make them stand for something.” As if aware that many filmmakers have strong anti-message sentiments, Emmerich adds that he isn’t obsessed with the subject. He does, however, believe that motion pictures should reflect a certain world view. That’s why he embraced the disaster genre, “because in a crisis like that, people change and do things they normally wouldn’t do. There are brave people and there are fools and there are cowards. There are people who rise to the occasion and people who don’t. But in the end. you get the feeling that even those who don’t like each other overcome their differences and end up working together. I would like to see something like that happen.”
As examples of human heroism, Emmerich points out several characters: Jeff Goldblum’s David, who “realizes that the aliens are using our own communication system against us. They’re using our technology to communicate about our destruction.” David will later devise an outrageous plan that involves flying an alien craft into outer space, and he will have to be on it despite his fear of flying. Then, there’s Will Smith’s Captain Steve Hiller, a newlywed who takes on piloting the craft because nobody else can do it. at the risk of never seeing his wife again. “That’s heroic,” says Emmerich. And there’s Bill Pullman’s President, a man who doesn’t pull rank and isn’t averse to flying a fighter bomber when duty calls—especially since he used to be a pilot before assuming responsibility for the entire nation. According to the director, that too is heroic.
With these examples of heroism, Emmerich seeks to shake his audience out of their complacency. “We create these scenarios because life isn’t very adventurous anymore,” he maintains. “So what movies do is create adventures that people can live through, seeing the heroes transcend themselves. The Jeff Goldblum character is a typical underachiever, a guy who’s happy where he is. He’s highly intelligent and could have been a university professor, but he’s happy working for the cable company. And suddenly, he’s thrown into the biggest possible adventure. In the end, he’s technically one of the only guys who can solve things, and so he has to deliver. He rises to the occasion.”

So Proudly We Hailed
It seems that the thrills of Independence Day are…innocent. The movie is a far cry from the gore and violence present in some genre fare. Emmerich isn’t exactly delighted with this trend. In fact, he admits that after watching Universal Soldier some months after its completion, he was amazed at how violent it was. “I was determined not to be so specific about violence in the future,” he recalls. “And on this one, from the very beginning I said, ‘No blood.’ Why should you have to do that, if you can get the point across another way? We’re trying to make a unique movie without resorting to violence. This is a summer event film that means to be fun, and we were very careful not to brutalize the audience, which has been brutalized in the past five or six years as movies have become more and more nasty. In Independence Day, we do have one sequence where everyone who sees it falls silent for a minute because three major cities get destroyed. On the other hand, you never see anybody really getting killed. As shocking as it is, you never see anything really violent.”
Still, the violent images of exploding, say, the White House and the Empire State Building were created with miniatures, which is cheaper than destroying expensive set pieces and, according to the director, technological advances allow them to be used to greater effect than just a few years ago. “With computer technology, compositing people and models together is much easier than it used to be,” he explains. “We have one shot of the White House, and out of the spaceship comes this destruction beam; in front of the White House a helicopter lifts off and explodes, and then the White House explodes— and there are people in the shot. These are all elements which you shoot separately, and then you composite them together. In the old days of the optical printer, you had to go into the third, fourth, fifth generation of film material; now you do it all in the first generation, in the computer. But you still have to shoot all these elements with a film camera.”
Emmerich is ready now to reshoot the panic and mayhem scene in SoHo, coordinating the hundreds of extras and vehicles to create the rhythm of an impending apocalypse. This gives Devlin the chance to explain the duo’s unique collaborative process. “Not only do we have a producer/director relationship,” explains Devlin, “but we write the scripts together. What happens in Hollywood is a writer will write anything he can dream up, and say, ‘Well, it’s up to them to figure out how to do that.’ When we write it, I’m at the computer and he’s at the drawing table. So he’s showing me what it looks like and what kind of technique we can use.
“We form every single scene knowing exactly how we’re going to do it. This way we can really structure how to get the biggest bang for the least buck. And that’s why we think Independence Day will be bigger than any movie you’ve ever seen. We wrote the script in four weeks. StarGate took five years from the time we wrote it till we got it made, with a lot of heartache in rewrites and in trying to convince people it was worth making. We handed this script to the agents on Wednesday, they sent it to the studios on Thursday, and we sold it by Friday night. On Monday morning, we were in pre-production.”
For the rest of the afternoon, the extras in the street go through their paces for the camera under the watchful eyes of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. As their vision of the end of the world plays out in lower Manhattan, it is clear that audiences with a yen for wholesale destruction will find it this Independence Day.

* * *

INVASION: WASHINGTON D.C.

CAPITAL DESTRUCTION

In Washington D.C. for independence Day, the aliens take a vote on America’s future

by Lynne Stephens & John Sayers

As the end of the world continues, massive spaceships hover over Earth’s capitals. Just what they plan is unknown, but their presence is impressive, fearful, ominous. All over the world, people stare up in wonder at the skies and ponder the future.
These visitors couldn’t, wouldn’t have come all this way, from their homes out there in another galaxy….just to do humanity harm, would they?
The answer lies in the skies.
In Washington, in Moscow, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, the world’s governments debate the actions the aliens might take, the reactions mankind might offer and the consequences to all.  Minutes tick by, hours, then  days as America’s traditional Independence Day, as envisioned by director Roland  Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin, edges closer.
Humanity has its reply. The alien ships blast New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
In New York, the Empire State Building is the focus of the destruction. Just four blocks away, the Starlog editorial offices vanish in a paroxysm of fire. Everyone, including correspondent Dan Yakir, is presumed dead. The only survivor is, apparently, Starlog Managing Editor Michael Stewart, en route to Rome for his honeymoon. (He will later coordinate-with key contributors Kim Howard Johnson of Chicago, Will Murray of Boston and Tom Weaver of upstate New York-the completion of this issue and its publication at the magazine’s printers in Nebraska.)
At the same time in Los Angeles, the assault begins on another beachhead, laying waste to a vast area, setting the stage to turn this barren waste into a survival camp.
And in Washington D.C., a harvest of red claims the nation’s landmarks, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial. Thousands of government employees and tourists (including correspondents Stephens and Sayers, who tiled this initial story) are vaporized. Above the White House, the alien ship hovers, a beam razors down and the home to an American President is destroyed.
The invasion has only begun.

* * *

INVASION: LOS ANGELES

SURVIVAL CAMP

In Los Angeles for Independence Day, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum & Brent Spiner lead the attack on the invaders.

by Marc Shapiro

This movie centers on the three days leading up to the end of the world explains Independence Day producer/co-writer Dean Devlin weeks after the cast and crew have left New York for a now-abandoned Los Angeles aircraft plant where this cinematic attack continues. “This isn’t five minutes before midnight. This is five minutes after. This invasion is on and the question is, ‘What do you do?’ ”
The answer, if you’re Hollywood’s hot new genre team (thanks to the surprise success of StarGate) of co-writer/director Emmerich and Devlin, is to stage the end of the world and populate it with familiar Hollywood faces. And you don’t need to cast your line too far to snag a big one.
Jeff Goldblum, looking no less tired than on his Manhattan leg of this film spent cycling in SoHo and reacting to unseen invasions, emerges from his trailer and walks toward the soundstage. On the way, he stops and makes small talk with Judd Hirsch. Then, it’s through an open door into a massive warehouse and under a full-sized mockup of an alien destroyer, looking very. black and very ominous. Finally, the actor turns a comer and enters the heart of the film’s mystery: a long, sterile-looking, computer-studded lab known only as Area 51. Already on the set is Brent Spiner, quite grungy in long hair and funky shirt and pants, Robert Loggia and Bill Pullman, recently elected the President of the United States.
This group, minus Spiner, walks up a slight incline at the end of the set and into a mockup of a hallway, complete with elevator. A camera is already set up and the ever-animated Emmerich is barking commands. It’s a simple scene—military types approach the elevator, get in and the elevator door closes. But, given Emmerich’s reputation as a perfectionist. it comes as no surprise…
“Cut! It’s taking too long for everybody to get in the elevator!” Emmerich explains. “And that door is taking forever to close! Can we speed things up a little bit?”

By Dawn’s Early Light
Independence Day begins on an ordinary July 2 that becomes terribly extraordinary’. The world’s satellite communications are suddenly jammed. Strange atmospheric phenomena appear all over the world. People are perplexed by eerie fireballs in the sky. Suddenly, from out of those fireballs, monstrous alien spacecraft appear, and train then-deadly weapons on the world’s major cities. American defenses are useless as Washington D.C., Manhattan and Los Angeles are reduced to burning rubble. All is lost, unless a desperate group of scientists, military’ men and government officials can unlock the key to stopping this alien invasion in time to celebrate a different kind of Fourth of July.
Independence Day’s who’s-who-of-Hollywood cast includes Goldblum, Pullman, Spiner, Hirsch, Loggia, Randy Quaid, Will Smith, Mary McDonnell, Harry Connick Jr., Harvey Fierstein and Margaret Colin. Handling the death and destruction, to the tune of more than 300 special FX shots, is visual effects supervisor Volker Engel.
On the surface, Independence Day sounds pretty nifty, almost a variation on War of the Worlds. But don’t tell Devlin that.
War of the Worlds? Not really,” he decides. “War of the Worlds was about the battles and, while we have some incredible scenes of cities being destroyed, this is not that kind of movie. What we are attempting to do is less of a ‘super bad guy alien film’ and more of a modem version of a disaster movie.”
The writer/producer recalls that the idea for Independence Day came when, as most concepts do, they least expected it. “We were doing publicity for StarGate and one reporter asked Roland if he believed in aliens. Roland said no and the reporter got very upset with him, wanting to know how he could make a movie like StarGate while not believing aliens had visited Earth. Roland responded by saying that he did believe in the possibility’ that alien life existed and that it would be the most exciting event in the history of mankind if we were to wake up tomorrow and find 30 spaceships hovering over 30 major cities. Right after he finished that interview, Roland walked over to me and said, ‘We’ve got our next movie.’ ”
When it came time to cast this epic, the Independence Day team once again took the road less taken. “This was not intended to be a superhero guy movie. Independence Day is about the diverse face of humanity set against these extraordinary circumstances. So, we simply went for the best actors for the parts while keeping in mind that all those great disaster movies always had star-studded casts. We wanted this to be a situation where every time the audience turned around, there would be somebody exciting in a new role.”

The Rockets’ Red Clare
Independence Day began filming in Manhattan in August 1995, with multiple vehicle crashes and panic sequences featuring as many as 300 fleeing extras. Then, it was off to the Utah desert and the famed Bonneville Salt Flats for a myriad of sequences involving survivors of the alien attacks making their way across the desert. Then, it was on to Los Angeles.
“Hey! Don’t let anybody kid you about this movie,” chuckles Goldblum. “This is action! This is defeating the aliens! This is being a kid again!”
The actor, who had more than his share of playtime in Jurassic Park, jokingly claims that he prepared himself for Independence Day by taking a quick look at The Poseidon Adventure. Ultimately, his character was spelled out in black and white. “I’m the anti-establishment, unconventional scientist who’s trying to o get his former wife back when all this stuff happens. I’m one of the first people who gets the idea that the aliens are going to attack and then, ultimately, I’m the one who comes up with a plan to defeat them.
“But, before all that happens,” he chuckles, “I’m going to spend the next couple of days looking at dead aliens.”
Before Goldblum can get to those alien cadavers, there’s the continuation of the day’s previous scene. The group emerges from the elevator and walks through an array of scientific supernumeraries before meeting the ubernerd with alien knowledge, Dr. Okin (Spiner). They begin a slow, deliberate walk through the lab. After a couple of abortive starts, the group, led by Pullman, Hirsch and Loggia, comes to a halt in front of mad scientist Okin.
“Mr. President, it’s a pleasure,” Spiner intones. “They don’t let us out much.” As Spiner/Okin shows off the elaborate facilities, Hirsch turns to Pullman and cracks, “You didn’t think they spent $30,000 on toilets, did you?” Spiner turns with a flourish and says, “I guess you’d like to see the big tamale. Follow me.”
“Post-Star Trek, everybody was asking me if I felt I was going to be typecast,” chuckles Spiner, relaxing in a director’s chair between set-ups. “Well, look at me! There isn’t a chance in hell that anybody is going to mistake this character for Data.”
Spiner, however, points out that Dr. Okin does have some strange alien edges. “This is not a normal human being. There’s something off the wall and very angled about him. I don’t think Okin is the ultimate nerd, but I do know he hasn’t come up for air in 15 years and he hasn’t had too much contact with normal people.
“That plays into the whole tone of this film,” he offers. “It’s being played seriously, but there’s something inherently humorous about the whole concept. This is basically War of the Worlds with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.”
Spiner—who does not appear until three-quarters through the movie and then only has a few scenes—gives the intrepid group of alien fighters precious information and a look at a dead alien before his exit. “I won’t say how it happens, but if there’s an Independence Day II, there’s no way I’ll be back.”

The Flag was Still There
Engel spent the previous night scrunched behind a viewing reel, picking out special FX shots into the wee hours, all the better to keep pace with a breakneck editing schedule designed to get Independence Day into theaters on July 3rd. Consequently, he’s dragging a bit on a nearby soundstage where his crew is readying one of Independence Day’s major destructive sequences: the fiery destruction of the White House by a tidal wave of flame. The building, actually a detailed model, has been fastened to a large blackboard with the roof pointed out to accommodate various camera angles. Later, a fireball will be ignited below the model and a high-speed camera will record the destruction. The film will then be slowed down to a standard 24 frames per second, thus simulating the structure (and others like it) being literally engulfed in flames.
“It’s all pretty simple stuff,” says Engel as he watches his crew prepare the model. “But there’s just so much of it. It seems like every other day we’re blowing something up.”
But it’s not all fire and explosions. Independence Day, much like StarGate, is a mixture of old and new technologies where airplane models on wires guided by computer-controlled motion rigs are a common sight during the air battles between Earth’s finest and the alien invaders. Automobiles tossed about by the force of the extraterrestrial weaponry’ are. in actuality, toy cars shot at the camera by an air cannon.
“And shadows, especially in the beginning.” explains Engel. “Every time one of those huge ships passes over something, there has to be a shadow which is being added by computers in post-production. We’re not really inventing any new technologies. It’s all basically what’s available added to our own ingenuity. We’re adding a magic touch to all this, but it’s not an unrealistic kind of magic.”
Engel turns his attention back to the pending destruction of the White House. “How’s it going? Make sure it gets hot! Real hot!”
Back in “Area 51,” Bill Pullman is acting presidential.
It’s a new kind of role for the actor. “Playing the President of the United States is pretty heady stuff. You get a different kind of look at a president in this film. He’s an ex-fighter pilot who has risen through the congressional ranks to national prominence. For this character, it has all been a real kind of journey. Then on July 2, when the proverbial shit hits the fan, he’s thrown into the realization that, as a leader of the free world, he has the responsibility to orchestrate a retaliation and defense that has never been attempted before. So, he has a lot on his table.”
Including, reports Pullman, sequences in which he is possessed by an alien and must deal with sending young fighter pilots off to what’s an almost certain doom. “Doing this film has been a weird test for me. It’s very rare in movies that your sleep time is spent in the zone of the character. But I’ve been in this guy a lot. I’m always imagining being in this character and how; he would deal with the worst kind of catastrophe.”
Dealing with his own catastrophes is Emmerich, walking through a cluster of actors and extras, positioning them for upcoming camera angles, going over the pace of certain bits of dialogue and cracking self-deprecating jokes about the project’s enormity. Devlin, with some free time between last-minute rewrites, pulls up a prop chair and braves the question of how much it’s costing to stage the end of the world.
“The budget is slightly higher than StarGate he hints cautiously. “I would say $65 million is in the ballpark. The one thing we proved with StarGate was that you can make an enormous movie with a normal budget without going crazy. The script for Independence Day reads 10 times more expensive than Waterworld read. When you read this thing, you constantly wonder, ‘How the hell are they going to pull that off?’ In fact, that’s what Roland and I thought as we were writing it. But we’re on a crusade to change the way Hollywood makes these kinds of movies. And we’re trying to do that with Independence Day.”
Dean Devlin laughs at the notion that the surprise success of StarGate and the good buzz on Independence Day has suddenly made him and Emmerich the fair-haired boys of Hollywood.
“We’ve always worked independently, so nobody knew us. Many people thought we were crazy. Now, it’s like, ‘OK, let’s see what they do now.’ It’s certainly not a situation where we’ve been accepted yet. We may be the fair-haired boys right now, but all you need is one movie that doesn’t perform well and that hair color will change real fast.”

Starlog, N. 229 August 1996

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