Fox Planning Back-to-Back Independence Day Sequels, With or Without a Pricey Will Smith

By
Will Smith in Independence Day Photo: 20th Century Fox

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?

All this bodes well for Independence Day. After all, its other star, Bill Pullman, is clearly ready to go.