Where Independence Day cast are now – from real estate agent to 30-year age gap romance and star arrested as ‘fugitive’
IT was the epic sci-fi thriller that rocketed Will Smith to blockbuster action-hero status.
Independence Day was the highest-grossing film of 1996, and its spectacular special effects even won an Oscar.
Set on July 4, an alien invasion threatens to wipe out the human race, and it falls to the US President, a scientist and a fighter pilot to team up to save civilisation.
As well as its big-name cast, the movie helped jumpstart the careers of its young talent. Here we take a look at what became of its stars.
Patricia Whitmore – Mae Whitman
Child star Mae’s role as President Whitmore’s daughter Patricia was her springboard to Hollywood.
The Los Angeles-born starlet escaped the child actor curse and continued to appear in a number of box office smashes throughout her teens and 20s.
She was George Clooney’s daughter in the romcom One Fine Day, had a memorable cameo as the injured brown-bird in Friends, played an evil ex in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and Mary Elizabeth in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, alongside Emma Watson.
Now 34, her most notable recent role was as Annie Marks in the NBC and Netflix drama series Good Girls, alongside Christina Hendricks and Retta.
When the show was cancelled in 2021, Mae wrote an emotional post on Instagram admitting she was “sad and confused”, adding: “Love my pals on this cast so much and love you guys who loved the show. It was such a joy being Annie and I’m forever grateful to you for supporting us. K me go cry now.”
Later that year Mae came out as pansexual while praising animated series The Owl House, in which she voiced the character of Amity, for its representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
She said: “I know people might be unfamiliar with what pansexual means; for me it means I know I can fall in love with people of all genders. This is the word that fits me best.”
Mae tends to keep her love life out of the public eye – her only publicly known relationship was with musician Landon Pigg, who had a cameo role in Parenthood, in which she played Amber Holt.
Dylan Dubrow – Ross Bagley
With Ross having risen to fame in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alongside Will Smith, the pair were a natural choice as father and step-son duo Captain Steven Hiller and Dylan Dubrow in Independence Day.
Despite continuing to land roles as a child star, Ross moved away from the limelight going behind the camera and studying a degree in cinema at California State University.
In the Fresh Prince reboot he was replaced by actor Jessie Usher, who played the grown-up version of his character.
He has, however, continued to dabble in acting, with a cameo role in Gnome Alone with the late Vernon Troyer, but is now focusing on his career as a real estate agent.
Frequently posting to social media from Fresh Prince reunions and meet ups, Ross – now 34 and dad to a son – describes himself as a “realtor, actor and DJ”.
Constance Spano – Margaret Colin
Her character Constance – the ex-wife of Jeff Goldblum’s David Levinson – ran the show as the White House Communications director.
Now 64, Margaret went on to star in Unfaithful (2002) alongside Richard Gere, and First Daughter (2004).
She also has several TV and theatre roles under her belt – including absent mother Eleanor Waldorf in Gossip Girl.
In 2003, while starring in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg on Broadway, she smoked her way through the second half and dedicated the performance to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to rebel against the state’s smoking ban.
Ironically, after the play finished its run she gave up smoking.
She’s been married to actor Justin Deas, whom she met while playing his love interest on As the World Turns, since 1988 and they share two sons.
Margaret is also stepmother to her husband’s daughter from his first marriage.
She is an anti-abortion activist and was formerly honorary co-chair of Feminists for Life, an organisation opposed to terminating pregnancies.
Marilyn Whitmore – Mary McDonnell
Having risen to fame for her role on Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves, Mary played the First Lady in Independence Day.
She graduated to playing President Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica in 2004, and played Rose Darko in the 2001 flick Donnie Darko.
Two-time Oscar nominee Mary, now 70, shocked fans in 2021 when she split from her husband of 37 years, actor Randle Mell, with whom she starred in the 1991 film Grand Canyon.
They share daughter Olivia, 38, and son Michael.
Captain Steven Hiller – Will Smith
Fresh off the set of Bad Boys and Fresh Prince, Will Smith played the cigar-loving, brave young fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller.
Huge blockbuster roles in Men in Black, Ali, Hitch and The Pursuit of Happiness (alongside his real-life son Jaden) followed, cementing Will as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
He finally won a Oscar last year for King Richard – but his long-awaited moment was overshadowed by his storming onto stage and slapping host Chris Rock when he made a joke about Will’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
The dad-of-three, 54, later apologised, and was banned from the Oscars for a decade.
Will and Jada have been outspoken about their unconventional open marriage; in 2021 Will confirmed they both had flings after Jada openly discussed her “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina in 2020.
During an interview with Oprah, Will boasted he and Jada had sex “multiple times a day” for four months straight at the start of their romance, and he worried he would “die” trying to satisfy her.
This week it was revealed Will – who has an estimated net worth of $375million – plans to make a fourth Bad Boys movie with Martin Lawrence.
Jasmine Dubrow – Vivica A. Fox
Vivica played Captain Hiller’s girlfriend Jasmine, a mum-of-one and exotic dancer. She reprised her role for the 2016 sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.
She bagged an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss with Will Smith, and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Her career also took off after Independence Day – she played Francesca “Frankie” Sutton in Set It Off, opposite Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah; starred in Booty Call opposite Jamie Foxx, and had roles in Batman & Robin, Kill Bill and Soul Food.
Vivica, now 58, was married to singer and model Christopher Harvest from 1998 to 2002, and briefly dated rapper 50 Cent in 2003.
In November 2011, she and club promoter Omar “Slimm” White broke off their 10-month engagement.
While she’s enjoyed a stellar career, Vivica has admitted her biggest regret is not having children.
Last year Vivica took a pop at pal Jada, calling her “self-righteous” and accusing her of not taking “accountability” for Will’s Oscar slap.
While guest hosting The Wendy Williams show, she said: “Will Smith was defending her honour, that’s the reason he walked on stage and slapped because he felt like his wife had been offended.
“So for me to see no accountability as a partner – I just wish we could have just a little more accountability and for it to not seem so self-righteous on Jada’s part and that’s my feelings.”
Julius Levinson – Judd Hirsch
Already famous for his Oscar-nominated turn as Alex Reiger in the 70s series Taxi, Judd played rabbi Julius Levinson in Independence Day.
Now 87, he’s got around 100 acting credits to his name, and this year became the second-oldest acting nominee for an Academy Award, after the late Christopher Plummer, for his role in Steven Spielberg‘s latest film The Fabelmans.
He also broke the record for the longest gap between nominations – having previously been up for Best Supporting Actor in 1980’s Ordinary People.
Judd divorced second wife, fashion designer Bonni Chalkin, with whom he shares daughter Montana and son London, in 2005 after 12 years of marriage.
He also has a son, Alex Hirsch, from his previous four-year marriage to Elisa Sadaune in the 60s.
President Whitmore – Bill Pullman
Bill’s speech to the nation as President Whitmore ahead of the “largest aerial battle in the history of mankind” became so iconic, he even parodied it in a Budweiser advert to urge people to get vaccinated against Covid.
He too reprised his role in the sequel.
Having already notched up an impressive acting CV, after Independence Day he starred in films Lost Highway and Lake Placid, and TV shows Torchwood, 1600 Penn and The Sinner.
Now 69, Bill has been married to dancer Tamara Hurwitz since 1987 and they share three children – including son Lewis Pullman, who has followed his dad into acting, and plays the drums in the band Atta Boy.
Russell Casse – Randy Quaid
The older brother of actor Dennis Quaid, Randy’s career flourished in the early Noughties, with roles in The Last Picture Show and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
To date the 72-year-old has appeared in over 90 films.
After Independence Day, in which he played pilot Russell Casse, he landed a supporting role in Brokeback Mountain.
He later sued the producers for making out the film was “a low-budget, art house film with no prospect of making money” to secure his services at a below-market rate.
Randy was married to first wife Ella Marie Jolly, a former model and mum to his daughter Amanda Marie, from 1980 until 1989.
He met his current wife Evi Motolanez on the set of the film Bloodhounds of Broadway, in which Madonna starred, in December 1987 and they married two years later.
In 2009 the couple were arrested for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper in Santa Barbara by using an invalid credit card to pay a $10K bill.
It was the first of several run-ins with the law – in 2010 they were charged with burglary after spending five days occupying a vacant house they used to own.
They fled to Canada in October 2010 seeking asylum protections, claiming they feared for their lives in the US, but were arrested at the border for their outstanding arrest warrants.
Randy was briefly arrested in Montreal in 2013 for not checking in as a non-resident, and the couple sued the US State Department in 2014 for revoking their passports in 2011.
In 2015 they were detained at the border between Vermont and Canada – allegedly trying to leave Canada days before Randy was due to be deported back to the US – on charges of being a fugitive from justice in California.
Randy returned to acting in 2018, appearing in the film All You Can Eat.
David Levinson – Jeff Goldblum
Jeff, now 70, was already a household name when he played tech whizz David Levinson thanks to his roles in Jurassic Park, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Fly.
His career had a resurgence with roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs and Marvel films Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, as well as the Disney+ series What If…? in 2021.
He recently appeared in Jurassic World: Dominion alongside former co-star Laura Dern.
The star has been married three times – first to actress Patricia Gaul, followed by actress Geena Davis, and his current wife Emilie Livingston, who is 30 years his junior.
He and retired Olympic gymnast Emilie share two sons, Charlie Ocean and River Joe.
In 2020 he came under fire for “anti-Muslim” comments he made on RuPaul’s Drag Race about Islam’s treatment of the LGBTQ community and women.
After a contestant wore a hijab, he remarked: “Isn’t this an interesting wrinkle, though… Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid.”