Will Smith not starring in Independence Day sequels

Will Smith is "too expensive" to reprise his career-defining turn in the forthcoming sequel to sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day, according to the project's director, Roland Emmerich.

The German film-maker, whose $816m film was 1996's highest-grossing movie, said Smith would not be suitable for the followup, which is pencilled in for release in 2015. There have been suggestions it could be the first of two sequels, shot back to back and titled ID Forever: Part 1 and Part 2.

Speaking to the New York Daily News while promoting his latest film White House Down, Emmerich said: "Will Smith can not come back because he's too expensive, but he'd also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much."

It was reported in 2011 that Smith had asked for $50m to return to the role of Captain Steven Hiller, the pilot who helps fend off extraterrestrial invasion in the first Independence Day. There have been suggestions that other stars of the original film, such as Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum, may yet return. "We have like maybe half of the people that you would know from the first film [in the script] and the other half people who are new," said Emmerich.

The first sequel is currently being rewritten by The Amazing Spider-Man's screenwriter, James Vanderbilt, from an original script by Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin. "We're not doing a total reboot, we're doing something that's totally unusual," said Emmerich.

There have been reports that the followup films will centre on events occurring after some of the aliens, whose bottoms were firmly kicked by Smith and co in the first movie, pick up a distress call from their beleaguered comrades and head to Earth for revenge. They travel through a wormhole, which takes them a matter of seconds, but it means 20 years have passed in Earth time since the previous invasion. "I think some aliens will be back," said Emmerich.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ben Child, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 24th June 2013 14.48 Europe/London

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