Sometimes, even the titles of the best movies are in the air until well into production. For the disaster movie Independence Day, a much more boring title was attached until the one, and only Bill Pullman recorded his iconic speech that became the namesake scene.
It comes down to a dispute between the studio and filmmakers – Fox wanted Doomsday, but everyone behind-the-scenes wanted Independence Day. Their ace in the hole was to record Pullman’s big monologue, which ends with a declaration of this being Earth’s “Independence Day”, and use that to convince executives. Pullman himself knew he had to go big, and thankfully, it worked.
“I think it was going to be Doomsday. It’s what Fox wanted, and it was a title that was typical of the time [for a] disaster movie,” the actor told CinemaBlend. “They really wanted Independence Day, so we had to make the speech really good. Then they cut it together, and a couple of nights later, Dean came to my trailer, and he said, ‘Do you wanna see it’? He popped in the VHS, he showed me the cut of the speech, and I went, Holy Mother, they have got to name this movie Independence Day’. And they did.
A wise choice; we’re not sure the action movie about Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fighting an alien invasion would’ve had quite the staying power with a name like doomsday. Now it’s known as one of director Roland Emmerich’s finest films and a great blockbuster beside.
Sadly, this process doesn’t always give stars the opportunity to comment, as Pullman himself can attest. “There’s a movie that I’ve always loved, that I was a part of, a Roger Corman movie. Originally, it was called Paranoia,” he recalled. “I thought it was such a great title, and we had the by-line! There was a Confucius saying, ‘Paranoia is total awareness’. And I thought, ‘That’s a good title!’, and then he changed it to Brain Dead. The opposite of Paranoia.”
Can’t win ’em all, even if you are Bill Pullman! Check out our list of the best alien movies for more visitors from another world.