Welcome to Earth, everyone, where news of whether Will Smith is in a movie or not can remain a hot ticket item for eight months even though nothing has changed. Last June, we reported that director Roland Emmerich claimed Smith was too expensive to bring back for his upcoming Independence Day sequels. Well now Will Smith himself is saying Will Smith won’t reprise Will Smith’s role of fighter pilot Stephen Hiller for ID Forever Part 1. I guess we’ll all have to return to burning mass piles of After Earth DVDs and Big Willie Style CDs for Smith-centered entertainment.
As you can imagine, this still isn’t the final nail in the coffin, as Smith has jumped back and forth between returning and staying away. As Deadline states, the Oscar-nominated actor reportedly told Fox that he is no longer interested in coming back, and that he will probably soon have a similar conversation with Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin.
The filmmakers are planning on getting this film up, running, and completed either way. They’re still shooting for a July 4 weekend release in 2016 in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original. Smith’s involvement has played a large role in the direction of the plot of the sequels, but Emmerich was wise enough to keep a back-up plan in case Smith didn’t pan out. He and Devlin conceived two different versions of the story, and Amazing Spider-Man screenwriter James Vanderbilt has been handling two different screenplays. One of them centers on Hiller’s heroic character, while the other one leaves him out of the alien-battling story altogether.
I’m over Smith as a leading man, so his absence will not be so heartfelt in my household. It’s far more important to me that Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman have already agreed to come back. There are a shit ton of actors in Hollywood that can lead an action movie, but no one gives a crowd-pumping speech like Pullman’s President Whitmore, and no one can ever be like Goldblum, in any capacity.
I’d still like them to follow through on bringing Hiller’s stepson into the mix, and the Michael B. Jordan would be an incredible choice to lead the film, even though he isn’t an action star. But he might be too busy with his potential upcoming tent pole slate that would make this impossible. Whatever happens, we can all rest assured that no one wants Jaden Smith involved in any way.
Smith will soon be seen in Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s romantic drama Focus, with Margot Robbie, and Akiva Goldsman’s fantasy drama Winter’s Tale. Maybe after a couple of years of non-blockbusters, Smith will try and make it back for ID Forever Part 2, but maybe he’ll just take some time off to chill out, max and relax all cool, while shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school. Are you guys behind a new actor leading this franchise? Or you hung up on the Fresh Prince?