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July 8, 1996

Science rules Goldblum

ID4'S Jeff Goldblum says playing `Nerdy, smart geeks' is OK by him

Ottawa Sun

 NEW YORK -- Chalk up another bizarre science fiction role for Jeff Goldblum.
 In the sci-fi adventure Independence Day (ID4), Goldblum plays David, a bespectacled satellite expert who's the first to comprehend the true intentions of a sinister alien invasion.
 The role is not unlike Goldblum's chaos-theory mathematician in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster, Jurassic Park -- a role he's reprising in a sequel.
 And, with a long string of sci-fi roles to his credit -- most notably in The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) and The Fly (1986) -- Goldblum has no worries about type casting.
 "I've been lucky. And thank goodness the (sci-fi films) I've done have been good movies. I feel like some kind of lucky star has, for now, shone on me."
 Even the suggestion that his forte is playing nerdy, smart geeks rolls off his back.
 "I don't think of it that way. I'm just flattered playing smart guys who get to figure out before anybody else what's going on. So that's awfully fun."
 It's also part of a long continuum for the actor, which began with a childhood love of monster movies and has currently brought him to the works of science writer Carl Sagan.
 He's reading Sagan's latest, Demon Haunted World.
 "He makes science and his love for science very romantic and wondrous and humane and sexy," Goldblum says. "Sagan says statistics are that it's likely there's something going on in some other lively world. Wouldn't that be exciting? It's a fun thing to try and imagine."
 Goldblum had to use his imagination as far as the reactive part of his performance is concerned in ID4, due to the vast number of special effects.
 Take the scene in which Goldblum and co-star Will Smith, as a fighter pilot, attempt to fly an alien spacecraft. With effects to be added in after shooting, the duo had to envision the action around them.
 "It's acting with nothing. Oh, we're making belly rolls now. We're in outer space now," he says, imitating the bewildered twists and turns the two devised.
 And though the film is full of testosterone-charged activities -- American landmarks being destroyed, fighter jets going into battle, and entire cities facing sky-scraper-high walls of fire -- Goldblum's reaction is anything but gung ho.
 "I got very emotional seeing places blown up. You realize once you've seen them blown up how much you love them. New York? Gone. You realize how dear this planet is and how dear the human race is," he muses.
 And filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin didn't just create a gory disaster movie, they wound up with a potent political statement, he says.
 "In this movie, people from every race, neighborhood and country lay down their petty differences and realize they are part of one race, the human race, coming together for a common good.
 "That's a very inspiring idea and a practically-useful idea. There are so many challenges here without an invasion from outer space to apply it."
 Goldblum will be seen next in a fall release, Trigger Happy, in which he plays "a charming womanizer" opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne. Filming for the Jurassic sequel, The Lost World, begins this fall.

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