Roland Emmerich, the director of the science fiction movie Independence Day, wanted Jeff Goldblum’s role as the scientist David Levinson to go to a totally different actor. Independence Day released in 1996, becoming one of the defining films in disaster movie history as well as a ’90s movie classic.
In the explosive action movie, everyone’s favourite actor Jeff Goldblum takes on a leading role as David Levinson. Levinson is an expert in technology, specialising in the engineering of satellites. In Independence Day, it’s Levinson who decodes the signals from the aliens and realises that there is a countdown until their attack, and who creates the computer virus which will be used to defeat them.
Aside from the character’s significance to the story, Goldblum’s performance is one of the most entertaining aspects of the movie (when is it ever not?). However, we were almost deprived of a classic Goldblum performance, because director Roland Emmerich initially wanted to cast an actor who would have brought something completely different to the role.
Revealed when Emmerich and the movie’s co-writer spoke with EW, Emmerich said his first choice for the Levinson role was actually Matthew Broderick. Emmerich said “[Broderick] would’ve been James Spader in StarGate and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day, but he was unavailable.”
Broderick is best known for his leading role in the comedy movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He also voiced adult Simba in Disney movie The Lion King, and has had further voice roles in animated series BoJack Horseman, and Rick and Morty.
While he missed out on Independence Day, Broderick did work with Emmerich in the 1998 monster movie Godzilla. However, the less said about that the better. Whether or not the actor would have been a better fit for Goldblum’s role is debateable. But, if you ask us, we’re happy that things worked out the way they did.
For more Jeff Goldblum fun take a look at our guide to the Jurassic Park movies, or the best MCU characters.