Jeff Goldblum talks "Independence Day: Resurgence," music and fatherhood.
BY SUZY MALOY
Suzy Maloy: What was it like to [revisit “Independence Day”]?
Jeff Goldblum: It was fun 20 years ago, and it was fun this time around. To work with Roland Emmerich is always a blast. Everybody was devoted and passionate. I loved getting together with the previous cast, and at the same time, with the younger crew.
You don’t seem to age at all. You still look like you did 20 years ago when the first ID [film] came around. What’s your secret?
There is no secret, really. I go to bed on time. I try to take good care of myself. I have a new kid at home. My son, Charlie, was born on Independence Day last year. He keeps me young as well. I am a happy camper; maybe that’s the secret to looking younger.
You are not just an actor but a musician as well, right?
Yes, I play piano every week. I play at the Rockwell in LA, if you ever want to come by.
Why did it take 20 years to do another “Independence Day”?
I think they wanted to do more earlier, but Roland had other things to do. I think he wanted to only do it if it was right. It might be more relevant today. Everybody likes a good fight, don’t you think?
They say you don’t have to have seen the first one to enjoy this one. I think people still have an appetite for this kind of movie material. Religion, politics has ascended, and we have finally united to fight together.
It’s necessary to all come together and realize that we share a common humanity. That’s relevant to me.
Technology has really changed in the last 20 years. How much of a “tech” person are you?
I started to post a thing or two. But I have never tweeted. I just look at my baby’s pictures on my phone. He’s a good kid. He’s sleeping through the night; he doesn’t cry. His teeth are coming in now. It’s like my character. I am responsible to keep the planet safe.
What does that have to do with being a father?
Because my job is the same at home. The baby-proofers came last week to make the house safe. It’s a little bit like my character.
My character was an environmentalist, and I am happy to take the technology from the alien ship to combine it with our current tech. And I had to build up the arms system. That’s not my favorite thing to do.
The question in this movie is: “Am I up to the task; did I do a good job?” It’s all on my shoulders.
We rarely realize how precious our environment and the people in it are until we lose them. “Independence Day” shows us — in dramatic fashion — what can happen when the world is destroyed. Does it make you ponder life’s fragility?
Certainly. You said it right; we only realize how precious our world is when we start losing it and the people that are in it. I think in the first movie we lost like three billion people. We have never seen that kind of destruction and the grief.
Did you build the story over the last 20 years?
I went back to watch the old movie again. It was, for me, to catch up and to be able to refer to what had happened. Other things happened in the meantime.
Will Smith’s character obviously is dead now, and my wife has died in the meantime. Besides relying on the information we got from the old movie, I also was fed a lot of info by Roland.
What’s it like to see your younger self on screen after so many years?
It is what it is. You need to be accepting. It’s not like I sit there and cry. It’s easy for me to say because things are fine, everything is good. Things can go any time or fall apart quickly. That’s the way it goes. The wise people tell us to better accept it.
As a musician, did you talk to Charlotte Gainsbourg about music? I know she plays a part in this film as well.
I talked to her about music a lot. I really enjoy her music, and I invited her to come and join me at one of my performances. She did come, and we had a good time. She brought her two little daughters.
Do you listen to music as you prepare your character?
Yes, music means a lot to me. I warm up with it. It opens me up anyway when I am acting, and I was interested in what kind of music we had for certain scenes in this film. I think music really informs the character. Fellini used to play music on the set. I really like that.
Were you shocked how much technology has changed in the past 20 years?
I tried to remember how we shot the first movie. It wasn’t any easier to shoot this one, even though we had better technology. This time around, they could show us how things would look like on the screen. That was a little different.
Would you ever revisit a character like Seth Brundle from “The Fly”?
Well, my character ended up being dead. But that doesn’t mean much in Hollywood these days. I guess it would depend on what the story would be like and who would do it. But I am not rejecting it right out of the gate. I loved playing that character. And it’s become iconic over the decades.
“Independence Day: Resurgence” will be released in U.S. theaters on June 24.
Suzy Maloy conducts celebrity interviews for The Interview People.
Featured photo credit: The Interview People