Director Roland Emmerich’s relatively small drama Anonymous opens in theaters this weekend, but it appears that the 2012 director doesn’t plan to make small-scale films a habit as he may be returning to Independence Day sooner rather than later. Last March, we reported that back-to-back sequels to the 1996 alien invasion smash hit were in development, with both Emmerich and star Will Smith expected to return. However, disputes over budgets and salaries lead to everyone deciding to slow down a bit and take some time to actually write the scripts first. Now the sequels are written, and Fox is ready to move on Indepenence Day 2 and 3. The only question is, will Smith be returning? Hit the jump for all the details.
Apparently Smith, a bona fide movie star if there ever was one, is demanding a salary of $50 million to star in both sequels. Add that to Emmerich’s own hefty price tag, and you can see why Fox is a bit nervous. Apparently Smith has a few other demands as well, as Vulture reports that he wants to shoot the films close to home in order to be close to his family, and there’s even talk of him wanting to include wife Jada and daughter Willow in the movie too. Look, I’m all for spending quality time with family, but it’s a little ridiculous to ask that your family members be included in most of your projects just because you’re one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.
As far as the story of ID 2 and 3 go, plot details are under wraps. However, the pics are said to be much more in the vein of Back to the Future II and III as opposed to the last two Harry Potter films in that they can each work as standalone films bridged by a cliffhanger. They’ll tell one overarching story, but it won’t be as if one big movie has been cut in half. Smith hasn’t committed to the films just yet, and Fox says that if necessary they’ll make the films without him, but the actor is keen on shooting two movies back-to-back.
The only other film Smith is attached to at the moment is M. Night Shyamalan’s One Thousand A.E., which Sony is said to be taking their sweet time on. Apparently they’re wanting to cross all their T’s and dot their I’s in pre-production in order to avoid another “we don’t have a script but we’re still shooting” fiasco like Men in Black III. The scripts for ID 2 and 3 are expected to be delivered by mid-December, so we should know more at that time. With Fox ready to make the films with or without Smith, it begs the question as to whether they would recast his role or commission a new draft of the screenplays with a new character.