CinemaCon: Sela Ward Studied Hillary Clinton to Play First Female President in 'Independence Day: Resurgence'

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
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Sela Ward in ‘Resurgence’

There’s a new commander-in-chief in town in the upcoming alien-invasion sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, and she’s a woman. Sela Ward takes over the ranks from the 1996 original film’s heroic POTUS, Bill Pullman (whose ex-President Whitmore returns), playing President Lanford.

“We don’t have a lot of role models for female presidents, obviously, since there hasn’t been one,” said Ward to Yahoo Movies at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Thursday. “So I really watched a lot of Hillary [Clinton] on the campaign trail. How she worked the podium, how she delivered speeches to her audience, how composed she stayed.” Ward also studied footage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, though noted “she’s not as expressive as Hillary.”

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The actress described Lanford as “sane, thoughtful” and “very strong, decisive, and not afraid to use force,” which should come in handy when hostile extraterrestrials once again rain hellfire down upon Earth (and destroy a national monument or two) in Resurgence. In fact, Ward, who last collaborated with Independence Day director Roland Emmerich in another disaster flick, 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, said she would vote for her screen character in an instant if she actually ran for president.

Ward won’t go so far as to say the movie could be prescient, considering it premieres the same year America could potentially make Clinton its first female president, but the actress says the circumstance makes the long-in-the-works sequel that much more relevant.

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Vivica A. Fox and Sela Ward at CinemaCon

“I think it’s prophetic, not really because of the female president because who knows what’s going to happen in the election,” she said. “But the timing of this movie is so auspicious, because the state of the world is so fuddled. And in this movie, every leader from every country has to have the might to put aside all their petty differences to save the planet. And they experience what really matters at the end of the day.”

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Vivica A. Fox, who returns as Jasmine, the stripper who romanced Will Smith’s fighter pilot in the first film, promises that Ward’s prez is “gonna be kicking butt” just like her predecessor. She also likes how the film has evolved all its women. “My character is no longer working the poles, she ain’t working for dollars. She’s a hospital administrator.”

“I love the choices that they’re making [in Resurgence],” she added. “The female characters are stronger.”

Independence Day: Resurgence opens June 24. Watch the trailer: