Those pesky aliens are back to wage war on the poor tiny humans in the long-awaited sequel to 1996’s Independence Day, and Jessie Usher is up front in the battle. Fighting evil extraterrestrials is no doubt hard work, but is it as hard as staying fit in the real world?
Did you have to prepare physically for the movie?
Not specifically. I was filming a show called Survivor’s Remorse in the time leading up to it, and was training for that, so I just kept to the same workout regime. The only feedback from Roland [Emmerich – director] was that he wanted me to work out less, because he thought, as a fighter pilot, I’d have less time to go to the gym if I was spending most of my time saving the world. There were some pretty demanding scenes, though, where we were shooting in waist-deep water or climbing things, jumping over stuff, running and diving. Luckily I was in decent enough shape to hold up for the hours we were filming.
How would you rate your fitness on a scale of one to 10?
I’m a strong eight. There’s always room for improvement, but at this point my stamina’s pretty high and I’m stronger than I look – I’m skinny but at the same time I feel I can lift more weight than all my friends…
What do you do, fitness-wise?
All kinds of stuff – I try to change it up so I don’t get bored. I go to the gym just about every day to do some resistance training, and I work every muscle group I can. I also practise martial arts. I do American Kenpo karate these days, but I’ve been doing different styles my whole life, so it would be interesting to put it on film at some point and see how that turns out. I think it would be pretty good. I play basketball, too, and sometimes I go to the beach and swim. I try to stay active – that’s the most important thing.
What will you never do again?
When I was training for Survivor’s Remorse, I had to do hundreds of hack squats – I just started to hate them because I did them so often. I’d be like “Can’t we do another type of squat?” If I had my way I’d never do another one in my life.
How is your fitness fingerprint unique to you and your career?
Being fit has put me in the position where I can play the roles I’ve played, so it bears a level of importance for that. I’m fortunate in that it never feels as if I’m dragging myself to the gym because I have to do it. It’s just a part of my lifestyle, and it’s been working out well for me so far. There’s a pretty close relationship between my level of fitness and the opportunities that have come about in my career.
Jessie stars in Independence Day: Resurgence in cinemas from 24 June
Independence Day: Resurgence Preview
The original Independence Day is a classic of mid-’90s mindless blockbuster filmmaking, with enough explosions, spaceships, computer viruses and escaping dogs to gratify even the most jaded action movie fan. It’s been a whole 20 years since that movie, and according to Hollywood, that’s a good enough reason to grant us a sequel. This time around, we’re minus Will Smith, but we’ve still got a load of the old cast rejoining the party, like Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner. Fighting alongside them are new additions Jessie Usher, Liam Hemsworth and Maika Monroe, and it’s all under the direction of original helmer Roland “We Need More Explosions” Emmerich.
The sequel offers much of the same, with the naughty extraterrestrials coming back to earth to shoot things with bigger and better laser guns. Since the first invasion, the plucky humans have taken on some of the aliens’ technology so, in theory, should be a bit more prepared than last time (although according to the trailer, it seems the invaders are still quite adept at blowing up all our stuff). It remains to be seen if this will match the quality of the 1996 movie, but as long as there aren’t any scenes where Jeff Goldblum guesses the spaceship’s WiFi password and uses up all their bandwidth so they’re cut off by their provider, we should be all right.