Bill Pullman plays the president in the new NBC comedy “1600 Penn.” We got to interview him at the Television Critics Association party for NBC, and he said a sequel to Independence Day could begin filming within a year. We know, we know, they keep talking about Independence Day 2 and even when Will Smith says he’d do it, it doesn’t happen. Pullman said director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin has a plan, even if his new show becomes a massive hit.
“Within a year, yeah, something like that I guess,” Pullman said. “I worried about taking this part because it’s 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.”
If “1600 Penn” gets a second season, there could still be a summer hiatus in which Pullman could film a movie. However, Independence Day is an ensemble so they could even schedule Pullman’s scenes around his NBC gig.
“Well, I don’t know if it needs to be hiatus,” Pullman said. “I think they’re willing to work around shooting.”
Smith has expressed interest in returning to the role that made him a July 4 box office star, but he’s very busy. Pullman confirmed there is a backup plan for a sequel that would not involve Smith’s character.
“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.”
Even Pullman is realistic about the sequel though. He’s heard all this talk before too. “Nobody’s holding their breath because it’s been continually plagued.”
We’ll be back with more on Independence Day 2 after we whoop E.T.’s ass.
Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.