The title of disaster movie maestro Roland Emmerich's Independence Day is worked so wonderfully into the movie that it is hard to imagine the 1996 sci-fi hit by any other name. Well, according to star Bill Pullman, the movie was almost entitled Doomsday.
"We shot that at night, of course, because it's dark and not on a soundstage or anything. It was really late, and it got moved into the schedule early, because Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich were in contention right then with Fox about the title. I think it was gonna be Doomsday. It's what Fox wanted, and it was a title that was typical of the time [for a] disaster movie."
"They really wanted Independence Day, so we had to make the speech really good. And then they cut it together, and a couple of nights later, Dean came to my trailer, and he said, 'Do you wanna see it'? ... So 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."
No doubt you'd have a hard time celebrating Doomsday in any kind of patriotic, inspiring way. As it turns out, the title hinged entirely on one of the movie's most memorable moments, which is, of course, Pullman's rousing speech in the third act. Had Pullman not shouted the words "independence day" with such majestic gravitas come the speech's end, we may have ended up staring at posters for a movie called Doomsday instead. Which, let's be honest, is a title that gives everything away.
Independence Day features Bill Pullman as the President of the United States who must galvanize the world into taking action against an invading alien race. Along with Jeff Goldblum's geeky scientist and Will Smith's maverick fighter pilot, they must all unite to save mankind from annihilation.
Funnily enough, the battle over the Independence Day title was not the only example the actor had on the subject of the fickle nature of titles.
"Well, I've had that happen on a couple of movies, and I've had to live with it, you know. There's a movie that I've always loved, that I was a part of, a Roger Corman movie. Originally, it was called Paranoia ... 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. But it lives on as Brain Dead."
Brain Dead is a psychological horror movie from 1990, and follows Dr. Rex Martin, a top neurosurgeon who's studying brain malfunctions that cause mental illness. Martin must delve deep into his own mind to save himself from a megalomaniacal corporation. Pullman stars as Martin, who is tasked with determining if threats to his person are real or imagined, hence why the actor felt that Paranoia was a much more fitting title. Much like Independence Day, Bill Pullman is probably right about the title choice here too.
This comes to us courtesy of Cinemablend.