Independence Day (1996) Poster


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According to producer/co-writer Dean Devlin, the U.S. military had agreed to support the film by allowing the crew to film at military bases, consulting the actors who have military roles, etc. However, after learning of the Area 51 references in the script, they withdrew their support.
The scene in which Will Smith drags the unconscious alien across the desert was filmed on the salt flats near Great Salt Lake in Utah. Smith's line, "And what the hell is that *smell*?" was unscripted. Great Salt Lake is home to tiny crustaceans called brine shrimp. When they die, the bodies sink to the bottom of the lake (which isn't very deep) and decompose. When the wind kicks up just right, the bottom mud is disturbed and the smell of millions of decaying brine shrimp can be very very bad. Apparently, nobody warned Will.
Production designer Patrick Tatopoulos presented Roland Emmerich with two concepts for the aliens. Emmerich liked both designs so much, he came up with the idea to use one design as the actual alien and the other to be a bio-mechanical suit the aliens could wear. Both of Tatopoulos's concepts appear in the film.
The President's speech was filmed on August 6, 1995 in front of an old airplane hangar that once housed the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima exactly fifty years earlier on August 6, 1945.
Dean Devlin said that most of the dialogue in the scenes Jeff Goldblum shared with Judd Hirsch and Will Smith was improvised.
Holds the record for most miniature model work to appear in one film. Model shop supervisor Michael Joyce estimated that more miniatures were used for this film than in any other two films combined. Due to the advances in digital technology since this film's release, most experts believe this record may stand forever.
Director Roland Emmerich was notified one day that Robert Loggia was very upset and refusing to leave his trailer. Several days earlier, producer Dean Devlin accidentally suggested to Loggia that he watch Airplane! (1980) for inspiration when he actually intended to suggest Airport (1970). Not familiar with either film, Loggia rented Airplane! and after watching it thought that he had unknowingly been participating in the production of a "spoof" movie.
In the briefing room scene at Area 51 behind Hiller and Grey there is a night vision pan of the base. What you are seeing are actual shots of the real Area 51 taken by a conspiracy theorist from a place called "Freedom Ridge". The ridge was commandeered by the U.S. government in the late 90s and is no longer accessible to the public.
The main helicopter used during the "Welcome Wagon" operation was a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane which was outfitted with an array of flashing lights. In the DVD commentary, producer Dean Devlin said that when they first test-flew the helicopter with the lights on, over 150 calls were received in Orange County from callers who spotted the helicopter and, unsure of what it was, reported it as a "U.F.O. sighting".
President Whitmore was originally intended to be a Richard Nixon-like figure. The role was originally written for Kevin Spacey, Dean Devlin's friend from high school. An executive at Fox refused to cast Spacey, insisting he didn't have the potential to be a big star. The part was re-written and Bill Pullman was then cast in the role. Kevin would later be cast as an alien in K-PAX (2001).
The film was banned in Lebanon under pressure from Hezbollah, because it included scenes where Israeli and Iraqi soldiers joined forces, in the montage where militaries around the world signed onto the U.S. plan to counter-attack the alien forces. For the last few decades, Lebanon officially boycotts any form of entertainment that features Israelis.
On the Bonneville Salt Flats, cast and crew wearing long pants still managed to get sunburns on their legs; the white salty surface reflected the sunlight up their pant legs.
Jeff Goldblum uses one of his lines from Jurassic Park (1993) in this film: "Must go faster, must go faster!", and is delivered with the same intensity.
Mary McDonnell accepted her role immediately after her agent pitched the film by simply saying "It's about fifteen mile-wide spaceships".
The final sentence of the President's speech was not in the original script and was added at the last minute for dramatic effect in an effort to convince 20th Century Fox not to avoid a legal battle to earn the right to name the film "Independence Day." At the time, the production was nicknamed "ID4" because Warner Bros. owned the rights to the title Independence Day, and Dean Devlin had hoped if Fox executives noticed the addition in dailies, the impact of the new dialogue would help them win the rights to the title. The right to use the title was eventually won two weeks later.
According to the liner notes from the recent La La Land Records limited release of the complete score by David Arnold, the drum rhythm heard during the invasion scenes near the beginning of the film are Morse Code letters D-I-E.
Over seventy mock news broadcasts were created for the film.
The huge hype that the film began generating in early 1996 caused Warner Bros. to postpone the release of Mars Attacks! (1996) from summer to Christmas, and Steven Spielberg (temporarily) cancelled his plans to direct War of the Worlds (2005).
Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich penned the script in four weeks. It was sent out on a Thursday, and they started fielding offers the next day. By Monday, they were in pre-production.
To achieve the look of Houston as seen from the air at night, the crew simply poked holes in a sheet of black construction paper, placed the paper in front of a bright light in a smoke-filled room, and photographed it using special lighting to accomplish the effect.
The White House interiors were originally built for The American President (1995), and were subsequently used for Mars Attacks! (1996) and Nixon (1995).
Shot in 72 days, an unusually short period of time for such a big blockbuster.
Along with Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Glory (1989), Crimson Tide (1995), and The Dark Knight (2008), this is one of only four films whose purely orchestral soundtracks won the Grammy Award for Best Score despite not being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Except for the bi-plane during the crop-dusting scene, any airplane seen in the air in this film is either a model or computer-generated effect.
Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin got the idea for the film while fielding a question about the existence of alien life during promotion for Stargate (1994). A reporter asked Emmerich why he made a film with content like that if he did not believe in aliens. Emmerich stated he was still fascinated by the idea of an alien arrival, and further explained his response by asking the reporter to imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and discover fifteen mile-wide spaceships were hovering over the world's largest cities. Emmerich then turned to Devlin and said, "I think I have an idea for our next film."
The producers wanted to find real-life material that reflected how a small but elite air force could face off against overwhelming power (like the alien armada) and they contacted the Israeli Air Force to request footage. The IAF agreed after clearing post-combat videos of any classified materials, and the footage helped Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin script and film the climactic battle.
"Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears was originally picked to play during the scene at S.E.T.I. before it was replaced by R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It".
The White House which exploded was built at 1/12 scale, just to be blown up (although it was also used in one other shot, when David and Julius stop the car in front of the White House). Nine cameras filmed the explosion at various speeds, one of which was twelve times faster than normal, then played back at normal speed to make the explosion seem larger and slower on film.
The highest-grossing movie of 1996.
Bill Pullman used the memory of a decayed tooth which was pulled from his mouth in order to come up with a terrified expression when speaking with the alien invaders.
When Will Smith enters the squadron locker room, the extras (pilots) watching television are real pilots from VMFAT-101, the Marine Corps FA-18 Training Squadron.
The abbreviation "ID4" was invented due to legal problems with the title "Independence Day". Before 20th Century Fox reached a deal with Warner Bros. for the rights to the title, they suggested the film be called "Invasion" or "Sky on Fire" among many other titles.
The alien spacecraft in Area 51 was a full-scale model measuring 65 feet wide.
In the Special Edition, Vivica A. Fox's character quits her job as a stripper. When she leaves, she says to her boss, "Nice working for you, Mario!" in a sarcastic tone. This is a jab at producer Mario Kassar, who forced Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin to cut some scenes from their last film, Stargate (1994).
The Macintosh laptop that David uses is shown as a Powerbook XXXX, a prototype model with no designation. Despite this, clips from the film, showing the laptop with its prominent Apple logo, were used a series of Powerbook ads at the time. The ads' slogan was "What kind of laptop would *you* choose to save the world?"
When Captain Hiller is talking to General Grey about returning to El Toro, the giant screen behind them is displaying some sort of night vision display and the bottom of the screen is endlessly rotating through various numbers and stats. At one point, instead of numbers, the screen reads "And now I see with eye serene the very pulse of the machine - Wordsworth", an excerpt of a William Wordsworth poem entitled "She Was a Phantom of Delight."
Spanish television advertisements for this movie, showing the large ships hovering over New York City, were mistaken by some Spaniards for real disaster news footage much as Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio play sparked alien-war panic.
Struggling to write the score, David Arnold secluded himself in a Los Angeles hotel room for almost four months to avoid the escalating hype for the film. But from his window he saw helicopters carrying banners with taglines to the film as part of a marketing campaign, which only stressed him out even more.
Traditionally, Roland Emmerich's regular film crew gives several cast members nicknames by the end of filming. Will Smith was given the nickname "Mr. Charisma". Jeff Goldblum was nicknamed "Nice" because of his tendency to say "Nice! Nice!" when agreeing with Roland Emmerich's direction. Robert Loggia was nicknamed "The Turtle" because despite his hard exterior, he was soft on the inside. And Julie Moran received the nickname "Evil" because her name appears in the credits at the same time the music turns ominous.
The "futuristic" looking computer in the control center at Area 51 are components of an IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the U.S. from a Soviet bomber attack. It was the largest and heaviest computer system ever built, the full system weighing 6,000 tons and taking up an entire floor of a bomb-proof blockhouse. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies who wanted futuristic looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. The components used in this film were previously used in The Time Tunnel (1966) and The Towering Inferno (1974) amongst many others.
In the Special Edition, during the scenes where David is searching for his ex-wife's telephone number, his computer screen displays humorous street names such as "Heresheis Avenue."
On the Special Edition DVD, deleted scenes are replaced that explain apparent inconsistencies in the Theatrical Version: . Upon arriving at Area 51, Russell Casse searches frantically for a doctor for his son Troy. He states that he has "a problem with his adrenal cortex". Since we've seen Troy vomiting and feverish earlier, he could be suffering from either Addison's Disease or Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, both which affect the Adrenal Cortex and have vomiting as a symptom. . Miguel refers to Russell by his first name for most of the movie. A deleted scene reveals that this is because, as Miguel tells Russell, "You're not my father. You're just the guy that married my mother." This also explains why Miguel looks very little like Russell. . When David is driving to Washington, D.C. to alert Constance, he tells his father, "She always keeps her cell phone listed for emergencies." When he calls her, she answers the phone and says, "David! How did you get this number?" A deleted scene explains how he tracked her secret cell phone number down by searching for various aliases she's used in the past - in this case, it was her married name. . When Jasmine is first seen dancing, it soon cuts to her saying, "I came to get my check and I got talked into working." If one wonders where her son is while she's working unexpectedly (no time to call a sitter), a deleted scene shows him and Boomer the dog in the manager's office waiting for her. This is part of the reason she quits - her boss yells at her for "bringing that kid in here."
Will Smith's squadron were stationed at MCAS El Toro. This is the same name as the air base from which the Flying Wing Bomber flew out of to drop the A-bomb on the Martians in the movie The War of the Worlds (1953). MCAS El Toro was a real air base in Orange County, California, from 1943 until its decommissioning in 1999.
Filming at the Los Angeles International Airport was delayed several days due to a threat from the Unabomber.
Shown on a computer monitor in the S.E.T.I. office is a diagram of "Deep Space Satellite Devlin" (named after Dean Devlin). The satellite is a miniature version of the Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) Death Star with solar arrays attached.
The line, "Eh, f**k my lawyer," was said by Harvey Fierstein and the expletive was dubbed over with "forget" in the final cut to keep the movie from getting an 'R' rating.
A scene in which Jeff Goldblum explains the nature of the alien signal and how it could be blocked was cut from the Theatrical Verson of the film, possibly to avoid controversy as Harvey Fierstein plants an unscripted kiss on an unsuspecting Goldblum. This scene was restored in its entirety for the Special Edition.
During the aliens' initial attack, the shots of cars landing on other cars was achieved by using cranes that released actual hollowed-out cars onto cars loaded with explosives.
The character of Dr. Okun, portrayed by Brent Spiner, is based on Jeffrey A. Okun, digital effects supervisor on Roland Emmerich's and Dean Devlin's earlier science fiction hit, Stargate (1994). It is an almost perfect representation of Okun, right down to the hair and mannerisms.
The phrases said by the pilots when firing their missiles is NATO brevity code for the types of missiles being launched. "Fox One" means a semi-active radar-guided missile (AIM-7 Sparrow), "Fox Two" is an infrared-guided (heat-seeking) missile (AIM-9 Sidewinder), and "Fox Three" is is an active radar-guided missile (AIM-120 AMRAAM).
When Ally Walker suddenly became unavailable at the last minute, there was a rush to find a new actress to portray Connie. When then 37-year-old Margaret Colin jokingly told an inexperienced casting assistant that she was only 22, the man assumed she was too young and called the producers to tell them she was unavailable. When the confusion was cleared up, Colin landed the role, and began filming scenes in Utah less than 24 hours after she was cast.
The man in the Los Angeles office building that is destroyed in the initial attack is played by Volker Engel, the movie's visual effects supervisor. The building also contains his initials on the exterior.
Dean Devlin, who served as the second unit director, and directed the close-up shots of actors in F-18 cockpits, let Harry Connick Jr. improvise several takes while doing impressions of various celebrities. His impression of Reverend Jesse Jackson is included in the film.
Dean Devlin wanted the alien invasion to be on a grand scale, because he disliked how in the movies, alien invasions always happened in a low-key manner (landing in cornfields, etc).
Most of the cast and crew, including Will Smith, were unpleasantly surprised to suffer severe sunburn on their legs during the filming in Utah of the Grand Canyon duel/crash scenes.
Within the first few minutes of the very first day of principal photography, a pigeon pooped on Dean Devlin's head. Locals were quick to inform Devlin that in New York City, this is considered a sign of good luck.
When David is searching the telephone directory, some street names include: Last Exit, Sub Wy, Drive Wy, Sky Walk, Hard Dr, Chuckjones Dr (cartoonist Chuck Jones), Theeme Pk, C. Old Maurice, Window Jump, Onthe Rd, Guesswho Blvd, Yumyum Rd and for Connie- Heresheis Av.
Jada Pinkett Smith turned down the role of Jasmine Dubrow because of scheduling conflicts with The Nutty Professor (1996). She would later marry Will Smith.
The smoky effect of the alien spacecraft as it moves into position above New York City (starts about 24 minutes and 22 seconds into the movie) was created by a double exposure on the film. The effect comes from recording water in a tank turning murky after a clod of dirt was dropped into it.
Robert Loggia got to decide which branch of the military his character was in, since it was never established in the script. Loggia ultimately decided that General Grey should be in the Marine Corps.
Using a model previously used for the film Speed (1994), the crew filmed a scene where a bus crashes through a billboard for the movie Stargate (1994), also directed by Roland Emmerich. They also filmed a scene where a theater whose marquee reads "Coming Soon: Independence Day" is destroyed. However, neither scene appears in the final cut.
On the DVD commentary, visual effects supervisor Volker Engel reveals that the fire engine seen tumbling through the air was simply a model purchased at a toy store.
Footage of fiery debris was captured on film after a pyrotechnics malfunction occurred on set. The footage was used as the falling wreckage of the "Welcome Wagon" helicopters.
Matthew Perry was originally offered the role of Captain Jimmy "Raven" Wilder but pulled out at the last minute. His father John Bennett Perry plays a Secret Service Agent in the movie.
Broke the records for Fastest to 100 million dollars (seven days), and Fastest to 200 million dollars (twenty days), both previously held by Jurassic Park (1993).
To achieve the effect of flames traveling along the street, the crew placed a downward-facing high-speed camera above a miniature model of a street tilted at roughly ninety degrees. When explosives were set off on the ground, the flames would rise toward the camera while engulfing the model. When the film was then played at normal speed, it gave the illusion that the flames were traveling laterally at the speed seen in the film.
To give the aliens a slimy appearance, K-Y Jelly was used. It had to be applied to the alien prop several times during outdoor scenes because the intense heat in the Utah desert caused the jelly to evaporate in just a few minutes.
The movie features, thanks to visual effects, 3,978 F-18 Hornets, 52,278 pieces of debris, 3,931 alien attackers, 1,549 missiles, and 22,014 light balls.
The character of Julius Levinson is based on one of Dean Devlin's uncles.
The shoot utilized on-set, in-camera special effects more often than computer-generated effects in an effort to save money and get more authentic pyrotechnic results. Many of these shots were accomplished at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City, California, where the film's art department, motion control photography teams, pyrotechnics team, and model shop were headquartered.
The advertising campaign cost 24 million dollars. The airtime for the trailer shown during the Super Bowl cost 1.3 million dollars.
20th Century Fox first wanted to open the film on Memorial Day and change the name to 'Doomsday' to avoid the fierce competition on July 4th.
As is the case with many 20th Century Fox movies, the film cans for the advance screening prints and show prints had a code name. Independence Day was "Dutch 2".
The characters 'R' and '2' on this inside of the spaceship hangar at Area 51 are a reference to R2-D2 in the Star Wars saga.
Became the second highest grossing film of all time worldwide, second only to Jurassic Park (1993).
The climactic 30 second countdown to the bomb's detonation took one minute, 33 seconds of screen time.
Between principal photography and the re-shoot of Russell's scenes in his F18, the cockpit mock-up was used in The Rock (1996) and had been repainted. Therefore Russell's F18 is darker than the other planes.
Jeff Goldblum's character is a passionate environmentalist, as seen by his insistence to recycle. Roland Emmerich would later make an entire film about environmental disaster in The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Roland Emmerich): [44]: The number 44 is seen on the headrest in Russell's F-18 cockpit, several televisions are tuned to channel 44. When the ship above Area 51 is destroyed, just as it's falling to Earth, 44 can be seen in the flames on the side of the ship.
The line "Elvis has left the building!", which Will Smith yells toward the end of the movie, is translated "Last train to Mikkeli has just left!" on the Finnish DVD. Mikkeli is a town in Finland.
According to a back-story established by the cast and crew, Dr. Okun was recruited by the military out of Berkeley in the 1960s, and due to the top-secret nature of his work, has been isolated at Area 51 since. Although never revealed in the film, his first name was established as Brackish, a word meaning "unappealing" or "repulsive".
Ross Bagley who plays Dylan, appeared as Will Smith's cousin Nicky in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990).
Robert Loggia modeled the character General Grey after Generals of World War II, particularly George S. Patton.
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The production's model-making department built more than twice as many miniatures for the production than had ever been built for any film before, by creating miniatures for buildings, city streets, aircraft, landmarks, and monuments. The crew also built miniatures for several of the spaceships featured in the film, including a thirty foot destroyer model, and a version of the mother ship spanning twelve feet.
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VMFA-314 "The Black Knights," the squadron Will Smith belongs to, had been stationed at MCAS El Toro until 1994.
Just prior to the "atmospheric phenomenon" appearing above northern Iraq, the nomads seen standing still in the background are mannequins.
A month after the film's release, jewelry designers and marketing consultants reported an increased interest in dolphin-themed jewelry, since the character of Jasmine in the film wears dolphin earrings, and is presented with a wedding ring featuring a gold dolphin.
Mad Magazine did a parody in which the virus transmitted to the aliens was Windows '95.
The first showings of the film took place on July 2, 1996, the same day that the events in the movie start.
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The street names seen on David's laptop screen (Ashford, Volker, etc.) are the names of prominent crew members.
Dr. Okun is a reference to Jeffrey A. Okun, one of the visual effects supervisors from Roland Emmerich's previous film Stargate (1994).
20th Century Fox set up a 1-900 number for people to call and record their very own audio review of the film. Clips of these recordings were used in a series of post-release television ads for the film.
When they are approaching the White House, David tells Julius that Connie "always keeps her portable phone listed for emergencies." Not cell phone. Most people did not carry cellphones yet at that time.
David's character suffers from air sickness; in previous film roles, Jeff Goldblum has played characters with various sicknesses, e.g. sea sickness in The Right Stuff (1983), motion sickness in The Fly (1986), and even in Jurassic Park (1993) he's seen clutching his stomach in some scenes, etc.
Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich had always envisioned an African-American for the role of Steven Hiller and specifically wanted Will Smith after seeing his performance in Six Degrees of Separation (1993).
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The actual aliens of the film are diminutive and based on a design Patrick Tatopoulos drew when tasked by Roland Emmerich to create an alien that was "both familiar and completely original". These creatures wear "bio-mechanical" suits that are based on another design Tatopoulos pitched to Emmerich. These suits were 8 feet (2.4 m) tall, equipped with 25 tentacles, and purposely designed to show it could not sustain a person inside so it would not appear to be a "man in a suit".
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Some of the movie was made in the hangar where Howard Hughes once built his "Spruce Goose," the largest plane in the world.
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The second film to cross the 500 million dollar mark at the international box-office.
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The initials of several model shop crew members can be seen as graffiti on a wall behind the tank that's parked on the freeway in Houston.
"Area 51" is a real life U.S. Air Force facility. The Wikipedia website states that it "is a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the correct names for the facility are Homey Airport (ICAO: KXTA) and Groom Lake, though the name Area 51 was used in a CIA document from the Vietnam War. Other names used for the facility include Dreamland, and nicknames Paradise Ranch, Home Base and Watertown. The special use airspace around the field is referred to as Restricted Area 4808 North (R-4808N). The base's current primary purpose is publicly unknown; however, based on historical evidence, it most likely supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems (black projects). The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (U.F.O.) folklore. Although the base has never been declared a secret base, all research and occurrences in Area 51 are Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS / SCI). In July 2013, following an FOIA request filed in 2005, the CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time, declassifying documents detailing the history and purpose of Area 51."
After the climatic battle, one of the F/A-18s that returns to the base can be seen with the tail code of 'VM'. This is the designation for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) Black Knights, the same squadron that Will Smith flies with in the film, and that gets massacred by the city destroyer that took out Los Angeles.
Sets for the latter Area 51 included corridors containing windows that were covered with blue material. The filmmakers originally intended to use the chroma key technique to make it appear as if activity was happening on the other side of the glass; but the composited images were not added to the final print because production designers decided the blue panels gave the sets a "clinical look".
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This movie was mentioned in Aileen Wuornos last words, as she was executed.
The U.S. military originally intended to provide personnel, vehicles, and costumes for the film; however, they backed out when the producers refused to remove the script's Area 51 references.
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There is an urban legend that the countdown clock is at 09:11 when Dave is on the helicopter but it actually starts at 00:09:12:18.
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The attacker hangar set contained an attacker mock-up 65 feet wide that took four months to build.
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Jeff Goldblum's son Charlie Ocean was born on Independence Day in 2015. Goldblum wrote on Facebook: "We're so excited to share the wonderful news of the birth of our son, Charlie Ocean Goldblum, born on the 4th of July. Independence Day."
The novelization of the film establishes President Whitmore as a young Senator from Chicago prior to becoming president. He even gloats to a Secret Service agent about a Chicago White Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals. Life imitated art twelve years later, when a White Sox fan and Senator from Chicago named Barack Obama became President.
Vivica A. Fox had previously appeared in Born on the Fourth of July (1989). She also appeared opposite Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: It Had to Be You (1991). Ross Bagley who plays Dylan, also appeared as Will's cousin Nicky.
The film initially was green-lit with a budget of 69 million dollars from the studio.
Diana Bellamy, Judith Hoag, and Jessica Tuck were all cast in large roles that were ultimately deemed extraneous and not included in the final script. Richard Riehle and Sam Anderson were set to portray David's boss Marty and the Secretary of Defense, respectively, but both roles were re-cast. As compensation, Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich promised them all roles in The Visitor (1997).
Dr. Brackish Okun's appearance and verbal style are based upon those of visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun, with whom Roland Emmerich had worked on Stargate (1994).
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Eddie Murphy was the first choice for the part of Steven Hiller. Tom Cruise (whose 34th birthday was the day of this film's release), Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and William Baldwin were considered for the part.
To prepare for his role, Bill Pullman read Bob Woodward's The Commanders and watched the documentary film The War Room (1993).
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Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin wrote the screenplay when they took a month-long vacation in Mexico. It was greenlit by 20th Century Fox the day after they sent the studio the script.
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According to the What Culture website, "Independence Day modernized the disaster movie premise, replacing natural disasters with extraterrestrial ones and slathering on the fun. It borrowed a trend of blowing up famed national monuments from the B Movie genre and gave it steroids on screen, something that would continue over the next two decades."
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First of three "Independence Day" movies, with the second being Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), and the third, the planned Independence Day 3, as it is currently known.
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Matthew Broderick was offered the role of David Levinson, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Roland Emmerich would cast him in his next film, Godzilla (1998).
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A then-record 3,000-plus visual effects shots would ultimately be required for the film.
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The names of the pilots on the status screen aboard Air Force One during the first retaliation attack are the last names of several of the film's associate producers and video unit team.
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The film takes place from July 2 to July 4, 1996.
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David is searching for his ex-wife's phone number on his way to Washington, D.C. For a brief moment, you can see that the name of her street is "Heresheis" as in 'Here she is'.
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In the scene where Will Smith is dragging the alien across the desert, after he kicks the parachute with the alien in it and the RVs are approaching, when the shot cuts to the side of the RVs, you can see I-80 on the horizon line, most distinctly, you can see a tractor trailer travelling on it.
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Roland Emmerich wanted Martin Landau for the role of Julius Levinson, but he was busy with The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996).
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Bobby Hosea filmed his only scene during re-shoots on October 3, 1995, the same day the verdict was read in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Hosea had previously starred as Simpson in the made-for-TV film The O.J. Simpson Story (1995).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
James Rebhorn described his character as being much like Oliver North.
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Unique Premiere schedule: UK Odeon Leicester Square held first premiere as advanced marketed as 'ID4', upon July 4, 1996, which was attended by Will Smith, that guaranteed an enormous tourist crowd. Then with several weeks until the public release, ensured strong recommendations in the UK.
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Actor Rance Howard and Voice Actor Frank Welker would both work that same year in another Alien Invasion film: Mars Attacks! (1996). Howard played two different roles, as a Texan Investor in 'Mars Attacks', and as a Chaplain in 'Independence Day'. Welker would do 'Alien Voices' in both.
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During the nuking scene, the B-2 pilots' uniforms have the patch of the 509th Bomb Wing on them. The 509th Bomb Wing is based out of Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and operates the B-2 bomber in real-life, as in the movie.
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David Arnold's Grammy-winning score was performed by an orchestra of ninety and a forty-person choir.
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Several people in this movie also appear in either Stargate (1994) or Stargate: SG-1. Most notably is Erick Avari who plays a SETI tech in this movie, and Kasuf in Stargate and Stargate: SG-1. The Stargate franchise was also created by Roland Emmerich who created this movie.
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Dylan is playing with a king ghidora toy at area 51
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In the film's climax, the alien mothership is destroyed by a pair of Pennsylvania natives: Jeff Goldblum is from Pittsburgh and Will Smith is from Philadelphia.
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The film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is seen playing on television, it was directed by Robert Wise. Robert Loggia made his film debut in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), which was also directed by Wise.
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Six actors in this film have been nominated for at least one Oscar, two have been nominated for an Emmy, and only one actor has won an Academy Award.
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The film employs over 3,000 visual effects shots. At the time, the highest number ever featured in a film.
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Publicity for Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) declares that the original Independence Day film "redefined the event movie genre".
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This was Roland Emmerich's first film to be shot in the Super 35 format.
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The running time of Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) is two hours or 120 minutes, whereas for the first film, Independence Day clocked almost two-and-a-half hours at 145 min (or 154 min for the Special Edition), making Resurgence the shorter movie of the two, with a run time of about 25 min less (or 34 min for the longer version) than Independence Day.
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The tails on the destroyed aircraft at MCAS El Toro are 'LF', as in Luke Air Force Base.
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Released on the same day as Phenomenon (1996), which also featured Brent Spiner.
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Dean Devlin: producer and co-writer is the voice of the fighter pilot alongside the President's plane who says, "I'm on it," targeting the alien ray only to be blasted out of the sky a moment later.
William Fay: The co-Executive Producer can briefly be seen on the television in the Oval Office as a S.E.T.I. employee during the "Operation Welcome Wagon" scene.
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Director Trademark 

Roland Emmerich: [Sky News] In any Roland Emmerich movie in which news broadcasts are depicted, his foreign news station of choice is SkyNews. Here, it appears in Russian. Sky News is owned by the News Corporation (now 21st Century Fox, Inc.), the same company that owns 20th Century Fox, which released this movie.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

A version with Russell Casse flying his bi-plane in with a missile strapped to its wing was scrapped because it implied that Russell flew into the battle planning to commit suicide since he could not launch the missile from his plane. Roland Emmerich wanted him to make the decision to sacrifice himself *after* he was in the air helping the cause.
The visual effect of the giant alien ray gun exploding is simply the same footage of the Empire State building exploding turned upside down.
Roland Emmerich admitted that during the movie's premiere at the White House, he gave his seat next to President Bill Clinton to Bill Pullman, fearing Clinton's reaction to the on-screen destruction of the White House.
The scene where Major Mitchell approaches a wounded alien and shoots him in the head at point blank range was not in the script and added at the last minute. This was done after one of the few complaints test audiences had was that the aliens weren't suffering enough.
As the crew and audiences liked the character of Dr. Okun so much, Dean Devlin and Brent Spiner have gone on record to say that his character was only in a coma, when he appeared to be dead. This explains why Dr. Okun was able to return in the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), alive and well.
The plot device by which the aliens were defeated is lifted from the original storyline of H.G. Wells's novel War Of The Worlds. In WOTW they were beaten by bacteria and viruses; in this film they were beaten because of a computer virus.
When David comes up with his idea on how to fight the aliens, he stands up and motions with his hands as if putting something on his head. This move was improvised by Jeff Goldblum, and it was intended to be David putting his 'thinking cap' back on.
James Brown's distinctive scream was used as a sound effect for the alien energy beam backfiring as Russell's plane crashes into the giant alien weapon.
Originally Russell Casse (Randy Quaid) flew his crop duster in the final battle, because the military had rejected him as a pilot. He appeared with a missile attached to the crop duster, then flew the crop duster into the alien ship. But when it was screened to test audiences, they felt it was too comedic, so they re-filmed the scene.
President Whitmore attacking the aliens would have been the first U.S. Commander-in-Chief to lead troops into combat since James Madison took command of a rearguard artillery battery to cover the retreat of the U.S. Army during the British attack on Washington, D.C., in 1814.
The destruction of The White House had to happen in one take. The crew built a giant miniature and placed minor explosives around it. Later the special effects team added fire and debris.
Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson), Bill Pullman (President Thomas J. Whitmore), Brent Spiner (Dr. Brackish Okun), Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine Dubrow-Hiller), John Storey (Dr. Isaacs), and Robert Loggia (General Grey) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Independence Day: Resurgence (2016).
The scene where the White House is blown up was used in the "Finale Scene" of the great movie ride at the Disney/MGM studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. After the 9/11 attacks, the scene was removed and replaced with a scene from Armageddon (1998) after guest complaints.
The filmmakers said that they included Area 51 in the story because the film was intended to celebrate U.F.O./alien subculture and mythology, of which Area 51 is an integral part.
The White House model covered ten feet by five feet, and was used in forced-perspective shots before being destroyed in a similar fashion for its own destruction scene. The detonation took a week to plan and required forty explosive charges.
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After the nuclear bombing of Houston, Texas, silhouettes of street lights are a nod to the look of the alien invaders of The War of the Worlds (1953), who were also wiped out by a virus, then a biological type, and in "Independence Day", it is a computer virus.
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Albert Nimzicki's firing lampoons Joe Nimziki, MGM's head of advertising who reportedly accounted for unpleasant experiences for Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich when studio executives forced recuts of Stargate (1994).
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The newly named name of the alien invasion battle from the first Independence Day movie is now referred to in the sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) as "The War of '96" or "The War of 1996".
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