Bill Pullman plays the President of the United States in the new NBC comedy series 1600 Penn, but movie fans know that it’s not the first time the actor has occupied the Oval Office onscreen. Pullman famously played a U.S. president trying to thwart an alien invasion in Roland Emmerich’s 1996 sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day, and a sequel to the film has been rumored for the nearly two decades since that time.

In the last year, we’ve heard from Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin about a two-part story that would be covered in sequel films titled Independence Day Forever Part 1 and Independence Day Forever Part 2; Pullman is now confirming his involvement with that project, and even reveals a plan to proceed with or without the involvement of franchise star, Will Smith.

Crave Online  caught up with Pullman during a party for 16oo Penn, where the actor confirmed that he is onboard for Independence Day Forever, and that production could be getting underway very soon:

Within a year, yeah, something like that I guessI worried about taking this part because it’s [1600 Penn] heating up. I thought, ‘I don’t know if I should do the comedy’ and I talked to Dean [Devlin] and Roland [Emmerich] and they said, “No, do it. We’ll work around it. If it goes, we’ll work around it.

The situation with Will Smith, as described by Pullman, is that the filmmakers have two versions of the story laid out – one with Smith’s character, one without. Pullman is at the very least happy with the role his character, President Thomas J. Whitmore, plays in either version of the story:

“The Will Smith part of it may be ongoing but I think there’s strategies for both. I like what I have to do in both of them. I’m not in an old age home in a wheelchair being wheeled out for one more moment. It’s a very interesting conception of what happens to Whitmore between then and when it picks back up.”

When last seen, Whitmore returned to his Air Force roots, leading the aerial strike against the invading alien force. Thanks to help from Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum’s characters (and a final banzai charge by Randy Quaid) the aliens were defeated, presumably making Whitmore the most heroic Commander-in-chief in U.S. (and world) history. There are plenty of great places to take that character arc, no doubt (forgotten hero? Overly militant leader paranoid of another attack?) – but the prospect of this next chapter appealing to audiences WITHOUT Will Smith involved seems like a slim one.

Will Smith in ‘Independence Day’

Even Pullman is careful to acknowledge that until Independence Day Forever actually makes it into theaters, nothing is certain: “Nobody’s holding their breath because it’s been continually plagued.”

Indeed, this is one of those long-running projects that always seems to be close to the starting line, only to vanish from the track entirely. Even if the film makes into theaters in time for a 2014 or 2015 release, that’ll have been nearly two decades (and several new generations of movie goers) between ID4‘s era of relevance and the present. The under-twenty crowd will likely be left scratching their heads, wondering what all the fuss is about in the first place….

As always, we’ll keep you updated on the status of Independence Day Forever.

Source: Crave Online