A week after wrapping filming on “Independence Day: Resurgence,” DeObia Oparei can’t stop gushing about the work director Ronald Emmerich has done with the project.
The “Game of Thrones” actor plays Oxford-educated African warlord Dikembe in the sequel to 1996’s “Independence Day.” It’s in his country that aliens have been fighting a war for a decade, Oparei explains. When his soldiers start “going crazy,” Dikembe calls in environmentalist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and psychiatrist Dr. Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg) for assistance.
“[Dikembe] needs to find out what it is, what’s going on, and launches this ragtag bunch of people — almost like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ — getting together and going off into space to seek out this new alien mother ship that is coming to Earth,” Oparei explains to Zap2it. “The story takes off from there, and we come to Area 51 where we see characters from 20 years ago and Liam [Hemsworth]’s character.”
Two decades will have passed between the release of “Independence Day” and the 2016 release of “Resurgence,” and a similar amount of time will have elapsed in the movies’ stories. While Goldblum previously explained that this means humanity will have advanced significant due to the alien technology recovered after “Independence Day,” Oparei praises Emmerich for also advancing society.
“He’s really been brave with going out for a whole new story — well, not a whole new story, but taking the story to another level, but bringing in some of the characters that we saw 20 years ago. He’s got a same-sex love story in it, and there’s nothing announced about it; it just is, it’s just there,” the actor says. “He’s just done really exciting things with genre, and he’s updated it in that way. There’s a female president. I feel like Roland’s a pioneer in that way, and he was with the first movie and I think he will be with this one.”
Beyond the movie’s “really good script,” Oparei anticipates that the visual effects will put “Independence Day: Resurgence” on par with “Gravity” and “Interstellar.” “I think with movies like ‘Gravity,’ these great movies like that, you’ve really now got to push it out of the park in terms of visually,” Oparei says. “Roland rides us to this. I think the scope of this is going to be far bigger, the look of this is going to be far more engrossing on a level of movies like ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Gravity’ — just in terms of the look, not in terms of the story content.”
On “Game of Thrones,” Oparei plays Areo Hotah, a famed fighter who is the captain of the guards for the prince of Dorne. Though he admits he has a “much bigger role in ‘Independence Day,'” being in “Thrones” “certainly helped” him land the part.
Oparei hasn’t shown off his fighting skills on “Thrones” yet — he’s hoping he’ll get to use Areo’s axe in Season 6 — but he does tease a showdown with an extraterrestrial in “Resurgence.” “It looks like a good fight with the alien,” he says. “In ‘Independence Day’ I’m using machetes and an alien blaster.”
“Independence Day: Resurgence” also stars Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Joey King and Patrick St. Espirit. It’s due in theaters on June 24, 2016.