Mining script

Independence Day script was ‘so bad’ actor ‘threw it into traffic’ | Movies | Entertainment

Today is July 4, the American day of celebration known as Independence Day. Although the holiday celebrates the country’s emancipation from the British Empire, in the film world it is the day Will Smith thwarted an alien invasion.

But long before Smith took on the role of the film’s hero, 20th Century Fox was eager to bring in another hugely popular American star: Ethan Hawke.


At the time, in 1996, Hawke was a very successful actor in the film and television industry.

He had recently released his critically acclaimed 1994 film Reality Bites, so he was highly sought after in Hollywood.

But when the script for Independence Day fell on his desk, his arrogance got in his way.

Hawke recalled in 2018, “I’m the knees of the bee, aren’t I? I’m driving cross-country with a friend of mine, and I’ve got the Independence Day script.”

He added that he was offered the lead role in the film before describing his younger self as a “big shot”.


“There’s, like, dollar bills attached to [the script]”, recalls Hawke. But there was a problem – he hated what he read.

He started making fun of the movie while driving across the country with his friend.

“I read [the script] to my mate in the car,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Isn’t that a bad line – ‘AND phone home’ – That’s stupid.’ You know what I mean?”

Hawke finally confessed, “And I go through it to the point of literally throwing it on the Texas highway.”

But he quickly came to regret the decision.

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Hawke’s unnamed girlfriend replied, “That was really good.”

He arguably felt even worse about his decision when he saw the film’s box office returns.

Independence Day was made on a budget of $75 million, but it grossed over $815 million. Smith, the actor who eventually took on the character of Hawke, won $5 million.

However, the film was not only adored by the public. Critics also praised the film.

After becoming the second highest-grossing film ever made (at the time), it was nominated for the Oscar for Best Sound, while it won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

20 years later, a sequel was released – Independence Day: Resurgence.

Again, Hawke was not involved in the film’s production. And again, it was a big hit at the box office.

This time around it starred Liam Hemsworth and made $389 million at the box office.

Independence Day is available to stream on Disney Plus now.