WASHINGTON, DC - It presumably was no coincidence that 20th Century Fox chose this week to announce a release date for the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 smash "Independence Day."
 
Roland Emmerich, who directed the original and has been talking about the sequel for years, was in our nation's capital promoting his upcoming "White House Down" (hence the very real White House in the background of this interview), meaning that dozens of reporters got to slip in questions about "Independence Day 2."
 
I was no exception, asking Emmerich what the pressure of finally having a tangible release date of July 3, 2015 meant for the project.
 
Emmerich sounded excited, but also just a bit bemused. 
 
He admits, "We have no greenlight yet, so I wonder what that is about!"
 
When the "ID4" sequel actually gets its greenlight, the film may not look exactly like the original.
 
"I kinda told them I want to have the same feel again... and then that's the problem," Emmerich says. "So much happened in the meantime. Will became this huge star and I don't want to have this a Will Smith movie. It's like 'Independence Day.' It has to be an ensemble cast again."
 
I didn't have time in my interview to ask if that meant that Will Smith won't have any involvement in the sequel, but in other interviews, Emmerich seemed to suggest as much.
 
Stay tuned in the next few days for my full Emmerich interview, as well as conversations with Jamie Foxx & Channing Tatum and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

"White House Down" opens on Friday, June 28.