Studio didn’t want Will Smith in Independence Day because he was black

By MediaMonkey

July 6, 2021
Independence Day is twenty five years old, a fun popular sci fi film with one of the most optimistic uses of a laptop ever. To celebrate / whip up sales, writer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich have been speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.
 
You can’t imagine the film without Will Smith, right? I mean, while Devlin and Emmerich explained they wanted co-star Jeff Goldblum from the beginning, Smith is the star… but it nearly didn’t happen: 
 
“It was pretty clear it had to be Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum,” Emmerich said, “That was the combo we thought. The studio said, ‘No, we don’t like Will Smith. He’s unproven. He doesn’t work in international [markets].’”
 
But Devlin explains “They said, ‘You cast a Black guy in this part, you’re going to kill foreign
’. Our argument was, ‘Well, the movie is about space aliens. It’s going to do fine foreign.’…It was a big war, and Roland really stood up for [Smith] — and we ultimately won that war.”
 
Hopefully we’ve come a long way.

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