‘Independence Day’ Sequels Coming, Will Smith Still Unconfirmed

Will Smith

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Vulture has confirmed that two sequels of the blockbuster hit Independence Day are in the works. However, the sequels may not feature Will Smith due to his out of control salary demands.

After fifteen years of movie destruction, director Roland Emmerich and his old producing and screenwriting partner Dean Devlin are now putting the finishing touches on back-to-back sequel scripts to 1996’s Independence Day, the $800 million worldwide hit that first taught them the importance of blowing major landmarks to hell. But whether Will Smith will be back to to welcome more aliens to Earth as Captain Stephen Hiller is still a question mark: Fox started working on structuring a deal to sign him back in early 2009, but the world’s last bankable action star was seeking $50 million to shoot both ID2 and ID3 back-to-back, and Fox balked at so large a price tag in combination with Emmerich’s own hefty salary demands to direct. “The delay wasn’t about whether they both wanted to make the movie,” explains one insider, “It had more to do with ‘Whose dick is bigger?’” Nothing has been yet settled, because almost a year ago all concerned parties elected to retreat and focus instead on first getting the scripts right; they’re expected to be delivered to Fox by early to mid-December of this year at the latest. Insiders tell us that Fox is willing to make the movies without Smith, if necessary, but he is what helps make the films a sure thing: Can the stuck-in-neutral movie business, let alone Fox, afford to lose him?

Little is known about the two ID sequels, other than that they will tell a single story, but will be engineered more in the Back to the Future Parts 2 and 3 sequential-but-not-imperative model than like the last two Harry Potters, which was essentially one movie split in two. As our insider puts it, “They’re intended to be fulfilling movies onto themselves — you could see each separately and enjoy them — but they tell one big story.” The fact that they will be shot back-to-back is especially appealing to Smith, who’s sought to spend more time with his family in recent years.

Fox is wary of the kind of hard-line, high-priced negotiations that Smith engaged in with Sony in 2002 before committing to Men in Black II, a film that ended up being a payday in search of a movie. And clearly Men in Black III looms large in their minds; its pricey shoot dragged on after script problems quickly became production problems. But on the other hand, with box office stagnating, Hollywood desperately needs Smith, its only remaining take-it-to-the-bank action star, back making blockbusters again. (His last film was 2008’s weepy Seven Pounds.)

Read the rest of the exclusive report at Vulture.


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