Ethan Hawke Hated 'Independence Day' Script So Much He Threw It Out Of a Moving Car

Hawke was on “Conan last night and, when asked if there’s a role that he regretted turning down, he began telling the story about how he nixed the Will Smith leading role in "Independence Day."
“Okay listen, ‘Reality Bites’ just came out and I’m the bee’s knees, right?” says the actor, setting the stage. He then begins to describe how he and a buddy decided to take a road trip from Austin, Texas to New York City. And along the way, he pulled out a script for the film “Independence Day,” which was being offered to him.
He continues, “I’m reading [the script] to my buddy in the car. I’m like, ‘Isn’t this a bad line? E.T. phone home. That’s stupid.’ You know what I mean? And I’m going through it to the point where I literally throw it out…onto the Texas highway.”
A year later he saw the film:
“I walk into the theater. Obviously, it’s completely sold out,” Hawke recalls. “Will Smith says, ‘E.T. phone home’ [mimics a punch] and the place ROARS! They basically get a standing ovation in the middle of the movie. And I’m sitting there going [slouches in seat], ‘oh…my…god…’”
All of this to say, do you actually blame Hawke for turning down that script? If I was in his position and read the "Independence Day" screenplay a year before it would go on to be the top blockbuster of 1996,  I'd probably have had the same reaction. "Independence Day" was all about the execution and the way it didn't take itself so seriously. It was a Roland Emmerich flick for fooks sake.