Vivica A. Fox and Sela Ward Talk ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ and Playing Powerful Women

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“Independence Day: Resurgence” is right around the corner! Two decades after the original film, Roland Emmerich is back in the director’s chair and the original cast–Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox (minus Will Smith)–is back, along with newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher, Sela Ward and more.

As Jeff Goldblum promised, “Independence Day: Resurgence” will be packed with bigger action and bigger aliens. There’s a lot of buzz for this film and excitement is high.

Last month, Vivica A. Fox and Sela Ward, who play Jasmine Hiller and President Lanford, respectively, stopped by Washington, DC to talk about the new film, what they love about playing strong women, and what to expect in the sequel. Both women were wonderful and thoughtful about their answers, and the interview was fun and energetic. They were both enthusiastic about the film and the opportunity to “kick alien butt” and get in on the action.

You can read the entire interview below!

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Twenty years later. What can you tell us about the movie and what to expect?

Vivica A. Fox: Well, those damn aliens are back! [laughs]They’re trying to show back up again and pick [a fight]with us. But you know, what I love about this time is that it has the world uniting to fight them. And we take some of their [the aliens]intelligence and use it against them. You get a lot of the OG characters–myself, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum–and then we have our newbies–Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, and this lovely lady [points at Sela Ward]playing the first female president. We get to introduce kicking alien butt to Generation X. The old and the new come together to kick some alien butt. And they’re bigger!

You both have played strong female characters before. How do these characters measure up to the characters you’ve played in the past?

Sela Ward: I love playing strong women. Smart, strong women. The thing that was fun for me about this is that we so need that image of a woman running our country. And she’s strong, and powerful, and decisive, and not afraid to use force. I love her. And I love the idea of her. It’s great that Roland Emmerich made the president a female. That we can put that in our consciousness in a bigger way. So it was thrilling for me.

Fox: [about Jasmine]I was really happy that Roland had her evolve. She’s no longer working the pole, she’s a hospital administrator and mentoring her son. So it was lovely for him to write Jasmine strong, but motherly at the same time. I prefer playing strong characters, to be honest with you. I think my personality and who I am as a person, that’s probably why I get cast to play strong characters. And like she [Ward] said, Generation X needs to see us as leaders, as wonderful mentors. And I appreciate that Roland [and writer Dean Devlin]are thinking forward, instead of making us like, “Go save the world for us, we’ll be right here waiting on y’all.” [laughs]Not happening!

There were a lot of great speeches in “Independence Day.” Does your character [President Lanford] have a similar moment that Bill Pullman had with his speech?

Ward: Not really. I don’t know that you can compete with that. It’s so iconic that they didn’t really try and do that. But she has a Clint Eastwood moment in the end with the Queen Bee Alien, which is fabulous.

Do you develop backstories for your characters?

Fox: Of course. One of the things that was hardest for me to evolve… you know I had that iconic hair moment when I was coming in. That whole thing was happening. This time, it was hard for me because I was like, “Well, can’t it be a bob?” And he’s [Emmerich] like, “No, it has to be short.” And so I had to wrap my brain around that whole thing. It was like, I don’t get to make out with Will [Smith] and no great hair moments [laughs]. But whenever I play a strong, motherly role, I always base it off of my sister. My sister is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. She’s so kind, but she’s very, very strong. And so I thought about the moments I would have with my son [onscreen], I would channel how my sister talks to her daughter. Becoming a mom and letting go of Jasmine back then.

Ward: I watched a lot of Hillary [Clinton] on the campaign trail. Because, you know, we don’t have a lot of female role models for that. So I’d watch how she approached the stage, the podium, how she greeted the audience, how she would handle crowds, that sort of thing.

You mentioned that you both are not just sitting back and letting only the guys in on the action. How much action is there and how much are you a part of it?

Fox: How much action? Oh, I’m going to tell you…. There’s one scene I had a wonderful, heroic moment. And I refused to let the stunt double [be in the shot]. [laughs]They kept saying “Vivica, but…” and I was like, “No!” I was covered in bruises, but they were like battle scars and brought me back to the days of “Kill Bill.” Definitely strong moments, heroic moments. It was very physical, at least for me. Lots of running!

“Independence Day: Resurgence” stars Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, Sela Ward, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher, Maika Monroe, William Fichtner, and more.

The film is in theaters June 24, 2016.

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

2 Comments

  1. Rosie Powell on

    Have you seen the movie yet? If you do, I think you should write another article about the two actresses and their characters.

    • I haven’t yet seen the movie, but I’ll be doing so later this week. Will definitely think about writing another article about their characters once I’ve watched. Thanks for the suggestion!

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