Bill Pullman: Independence Day Resurgence

The aliens are back -- and back with a vengeance -- in Independence Day: Resurgence.

The new action-packed movie comes to theaters 20 years after the original blockbuster that saw aliens invade earth and Will Smith's character, Capt. Steven Hiller, fight them off in a fighter jet. Smith is not in the new film, but Liam Hemsworth takes over the reigns playing another fighter pilot tasked with the same challenge: to kill the aliens and save the world. Before they were killed off in the first film, the aliens sent a distress signal to their other battalions and now that they have had twenty years to prepare, another attack is imminent in, Resurgence.

Twenty years after the events of the first film, the international community recovers and the United Nations creates the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a united global defense program that serves as Earth's early warning system and the main defense force using technology salvaged from remains of the alien forces, with some military forces assembled on the Moon, Mars and Rhea, and the Area 51 base has become the Space Defense Headquarters. However, the aliens were able to send a distress signal to their other battalions before their final defeat while others went into hiding elsewhere around the world as they headed by the Alien Queen. The aliens in deep space received the signal and sent a larger and more powerful battle fleet, threatening the human race once more.

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The world has changed since the original Indepence Day and the President at the time, Thomas Whitmore is no longer in office. He has had time to decompress and relax after his first encounter with the aliens. Bill Pullman who originally played President Whitmore was ready, willing and able to return to the role when he found out from director Roland Emmerich that there would be a follow-up movie. 
In the sequel, we find President Whitmore retired, a hero to the country, but somewhat sequestered off by himself because he's vulnerable. When word of another alien invasion comes, Whitmore is there to aid the new President, played by Sela Ward.

Bill Pullman isn't the only member of the original cast back to reprise their roles. Jeff Goldblum returns as David Levinson, a scientist, MIT-educated computer expert, and environmental activist. Formerly a satellite technician at a cable television company in New York City and in charge of research at Area 51 after Brackish Okun. Whitmore went on to promote him as Director of ESD, where he provides the United Nations the resources to combat extraterrestrial threats with his subordinates and in the process using his political influence to promote his activism. Fan favorite Brent Spiner’s Dr. Okum, the ill-fated oddball military scientist who was assumed to be dead after the first film also reappears. He awakens 20 years after his coma from the first attack and then works with ESD.

Pullman says it was great to have a chance to reunite with his former cast members and it was as if no time had passed. He also enjoyed working with a fresh crop of new actors who he says, really impressed him on the set. Maika Monroe plays Patricia Whitmore, the former First Daughter. She also works for her father's successor, President Elizabeth Lanford, as one of her aides at the White House.

Newcomer Jessie Usher plays Dylan Dubrow-Hiller, the stepson of the now-deceased war hero Steven Hiller (Will Smith's character in the previous film) and Jasmine Dubrow, and a pilot and captain in ESD, and Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison, a U.S. pilot serving in ESD. He grew up in an orphanage after his parents were killed in the first attack and later joins the military to become one of their best fighter pilots.

In the 20 years since the original Independence Day, most of the technology and movie-making techniques have changed significantly. Pullman experienced that first-hand when he shot much of Resurgence inside of a giant soundstage in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Believe it or not, I still get blown away by what I end up seeing on screen," he said during our recent interview. "I spent most of the time running from things surrounded entirely by a blue screen so, of course using my imagination was key. Watching the finished product and then seeing that yourself on a tarmac surrounded by fighter jets is really pretty cool."

Independence Day Resurgence is in theatres on June 24th.

I spoke with Bill Pullman about returning for Independence Day: Resurgence via satellite from Los Angeles in the interview below.