Dubai swoons for Liam Hemsworth!
Director Roland Emmerich, Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum at the Independence Day Resurgence Dubai press conference. (Twitter)
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Just as the trailer for Independence Day Resurgence (IDR) shows the Burj Khalifa being elevated and inverted by alien forces, so Dubai was turned upside down yesterday with the secret arrival of the movie's stars Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum. Accompanied by director Roland Emmerich, the sequel's worldwide promotional tour is in full force despite the picture not opening in the UAE until the first day of Eid Al Fitr.
As rare as it is for Dubai to be a focus for Hollywood movie marketing, it is even rarer to welcome two A-list stars at the same time. Attending a lunchtime press conference at Vox Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates, the duo and filmmaker answered questions about the film; although it was clear to see when rating each of the performances, form is temporary, class is permanent.
(Khaleej Times/Rahul Gajjar)
Much fuss was understandably created when it was learned the hunky Hunger Games Hemsworth brother would be gracing our shores, although it was veteran The Fly and Jurassic Park actor Goldblum who really stole the show.
Making sure to face everyone in screen 17 in turn, so everybody got a decent photo, and going off on random tangents when asked a question, which continued to bring the house down, Goldblum's eccentricities outclassed the younger actor's more clinical display.
"You've never played a boxer at all?" Goldblum at one point asked a slightly taken aback Hemsworth after he had spoken about fighting aliens in this movie. "Max Baer Jr., wasn't he heavyweight champion of the world? No, Max Baer Sr.! Max Baer Jr. was in The Beverly Hillbillies. I bet you look a little like Max Baer Sr."
"Here we go again," said Emmerich with a laugh. "The whole shoot was like that."
"I like to keep thinking," replied Goldblum.
"I could listen to Jeff talk all day. I just smile and nod," Hemsworth said. Here's the rest of the interaction.
On his character in IDR
I play Jake Morrison. He lost his parents in the first attack and grew up in an orphanage. He wants to join the military from a young age. He becomes a fighter pilot and ends up in the elite squadron.
He has a rivalry with Dylan Hiller who is Will Smith's character from the first movie. He makes a bad decision, which almost gets Hiller killed and so he has his wings temporarily clipped and is sent to do maintenance on the moon.
How he prepared.
I fly a lot of spaceships and I do like video games a lot. That was already built into me.
What he brought to the role.
One of the things that always stood out for me from the first film was when Will Smith punches the alien in the face. Originally we never had a physical altercation with the aliens. I approached Roland and the writers to see if we could have something similar. Now we've got a great scene.
On returning to his character David Levinson after 20 years
Fantastic to be back doing it. Thrilling to be back with the old characters, but great to be with the new ones too. What words can you use to describe Liam Hemsworth? Fantastic. Colour me grateful.
How had the movie-making process changed?
It was a bigger production! For the first one we were in Hollywood and we had a soundstage or two? For this one we had six or seven soundstages. Big ones! With more money they'd built great big sets, like Cleopatra crossing the Nile size.
On a reference to Hemsworth's best friend in the movie being the 'Goose to his Maverick'
What's that? Oh Top Gun? I never saw that movie. Everyone else has seen it? "We have the need for speed?' I guess I should. Who's that actress in it who was in that Amish movie with Harrison Ford? Kelly McGillis!
What he would say if he ever met a real alien?
Hi alien, I hope you're not like the ones I acted with. I hope you're friendly. May I offer you some cake? If you have a new neighbour you offer them a fruitcake, right? What would it be here? Some dates. A nice box of dates. I would offer them a nice date with an almond in it.
But! If I got the wrong signals from them I'd say, "I'm going to give you a good damn pumpernickel right in your bread basket." And I'd call Liam."Liam, they're here, come help me!"
Would he look to film in Dubai?
In the film business we look for new frontiers. In this place we have the desert, but also very, very good hotels. Hollywood people, they are more asking 'how's the hotel?' I can see it. I'm working on a reboot of Stargate, which is more desert bound, so perhaps that is more suited.
On staying in the Burj Khalifa, which he destroys in the movie
It is weird, but I also once showed Independence Day in the Whitehouse.
Whay cast Liam Hemsworth?
Liam brings a swagger to the film, which maybe you're not seeing right now, but he has it.
Will we have to wait until 2036 for the next Independence Day?
If this is successful we will do another. I have a rough story. It will probably happen in the next couple of years, not 20.
On Will Smith not being in the sequel.
At first it was a disappointment because we wrote a script for Will. When he said no to us actually I didn't want to write the movie anymore. Then I thought it was a great chance to replace Will with not just one character but a whole generation. You have the clash of the old characters and the new ones.
By David Light