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It took 16 years, but Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich finally are set to bring their beloved and patriotic Independence Day back to the big screen.
“I can tell you that Roland and I have been working together for the first time in 11 years and we’re every excited about the idea of doing it,” Devlin said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Whether or not we can make this happen, if we can get all the pieces to come together, that’s gonna be challenging. But creatively, for the very first time since we did the original, I feel we have a worthy concept, a worthy path to go.”
The Will Smith starrer opened on July 3, 1996, to $50.2 million domestically. It has grossed $817.4 million worldwide.
“We resisted doing the sequel for years because we still wanted to honor the first one. The first one gave us all careers, and we really love that movie and loved the experience,” Devlin explained. “We didn’t want to make a movie because it was financially a good idea, we only wanted to do it when we had an idea and a concept that creatively felt like it honored the first one — that it felt like an organic sequel as opposed to ‘let’s just go make some more money.’
“I feel like we got it,” he continued. “I think it took a long time, but I feel like we finally got something that really feels like, ‘that’s worth seeing as a sequel to Independence Day.’ “
Devlin remained tight-lipped about how the story would continue, but as for returning cast members, the writer-producer conceded: “We’re beginning a long process of talking to everybody. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
In addition to Smith, Independence Day also starred Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid and Vivica A. Fox.
With no official timeline set for the sequel, Devlin remains busy as the executive producer and director of TNT’s hit crime drama Leverage. The series, starring Timothy Hutton, is preparing to enter its fifth season on the network, with the premiere scheduled for July 15.
“I’d love for it to go as long as it can stay relevant,” Devlin said of Leverage. “As long as the story can keep being exciting and when I don’t see the ending’s coming, then I think it’s worth continuing.”
The series revolves around a five-person team: a thief, a grifter, a hacker and a retrieval specialist, with Hutton’s former insurance investigator as the leader of the pack. Together, the group aims to right the injustices of the world as modern-day Robin Hoods, with storylines ripped from the real-life headlines.
“The good news for us is we never seem to run out of villains,” said Devlin. “Every day we open the newspaper and are like, ‘Wow, there’s another guy we’d love to take down!’ So I think as long as the world keeps providing us with privileged people who take advantage of those who are powerless, I think we won’t run out of stories.”
As Devlin continues his work in television — he produced a slew of TV movies before Leverage’s 2008 debut — he also ponders which projects he might like to revisit. Among Devlin’s most notable films are Godzilla (1998), Stargate (1994) and The Patriot (2000).
“Stargate has always had this empty hole,” he confessed. “When we made the first one, we always intended on doing part two and three, and we were prevented for years. And our hope is that we can get another chance at Stargate and tell the entire story we wanted to tell.”
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