This Is Our Administrative Assistant Day!

Jun 24, 2016
Originally published on April 5, 2017 5:00 pm

Actor Jeff Goldblum is a busy guy. From hunting down dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to fighting aliens in Independence Day, he has done it all. But, as he tells host Ophira Eisenberg, these days he is learning the ropes of a completely new role-- father to his one-year-old son, Charlie Ocean, who was born, believe it or not, on July 4th. Independence Day: Resurgence co-star Maika Monroe shared stories about how her own father taught her to kite-surf, a sport that she planned to pursue professionally up until she landed a part in the Zac Efron/Dennis Quaid movie, At Any Price.

Though Maika was only two years old when the original Independence Day movie premiered, she told Eisenberg that today she has watched it "maybe fifteen to seventeen times." For this sequel, Monroe joins the ranks of an all-star cast and crew, many of whom also worked on the original. When asked how the two films compare, Goldblum explains that this time around the set, the aliens, the action, and the CGI effects are "much, much bigger," creating a "spectacle-palooza of destruction." Of course, being an actor amidst such a spectacle is not without its challenges. As Goldblum puts it, "You're on the moon but you're not, you're seeing aliens but you're not, you've got to use your imagination." Monroe agrees. Filming scenes opposite large disembodied tentacle puppets, she muses, is not for the faint of heart.

Their Ask Me Another game is inspired by the original Independence Day, which contains one of the most infamous inspirational movie speeches. We've rewritten that speech, and now our VIPs must battle it out to guess which other holidays we are talking about.


Jeff Goldblum on his Goldblum Ranking Scale.

This interview already has ten out of a possible ten Goldblums.

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

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This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm your host, Ophira Eisenberg. And this week, we are coming to you from the theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. Now, please welcome our special guests from the movie "Independence Day: Resurgence," Jeff Goldblum and Maika Monroe.


EISENBERG: I - I loved you in so many things. I loved you in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel."

JEFF GOLDBLUM: Thank you, Ophira.


GOLDBLUM: I was very lucky to be in those movies. Wes Anderson is fantastic.

EISENBERG: And I watched an interview where you said working on that movie, you gave it a rating of 10 Goldblums out of 10 Goldblums.


EISENBERG: And I'm just wondering how does the Goldblum rating system work?

GOLDBLUM: It's from my gizzard. It's from my gut. This interview already has 10 out of a...

EISENBERG: Oh, thank you...

GOLDBLUM: ...Possible 10 Goldblums. So - yeah.


GOLDBLUM: Well, you just had a child...


GOLDBLUM: I think four months ago, Lucas. I...


GOLDBLUM: I had a baby 10 months ago on "Independence Day," on the Fourth of July...

MAIKA MONROE: Fourth of July.

GOLDBLUM: ...Whose name is - yeah, thank you. You didn't know that? Yeah, his name is Charlie Ocean. He's at home right now. And...

EISENBERG: That wasn't a publicity stunt for the movie, though. That was just...

GOLDBLUM: No, it certainly wasn't. It happened very naturally. Yeah, I know. And it was the due date. And she had it on the due date.


GOLDBLUM: Isn't that something? How are...

EISENBERG: She's a perfectionist.



GOLDBLUM: She's a gymnast. She's from Canada, and I know you're from Canada.

EISENBERG: I am from Canada.

GOLDBLUM: How about that? I love all - yeah, I love those Canadians.


GOLDBLUM: They're really good. But how are you doing at four months? I know the whole thing so far, just my first...


GOLDBLUM: ...And your first...

EISENBERG: Yeah, I'm losing my mind.

GOLDBLUM: You are?


GOLDBLUM: He was sleeping through the night. I don't want to brag, but I think we're lucky. At four months, he was sleeping all through the night.

GOLDBLUM: OK. Lucas is teaching CrossFit, OK?


EISENBERG: Maika Monroe, not a lot of actors get their start as a professional kiteboarder.


EISENBERG: What is kiteboarding? I don't even know what that is.

MONROE: Have you seen wakeboarding before?


MONROE: Yes, OK, so very similar to that. But instead of getting pulled by a boat, it's a kite. And so you have to control the kite. You can get super big air and tricks and - yeah.

EISENBERG: OK, so how did you get into kiteboarding?

MONROE: My dad taught me, and my dad is actually here tonight, which is very sweet.



MONROE: Yeah, so my dad started when I was about 11 years old, and I kept telling him, like, I want to learn, I want to learn because no other girls were doing it at the time as well. So I was like I want to be the badass chick out there. And so finally at 13, he taught me. And after school every day, he'd pick me up and we'd go to the beach. Yeah, slowly progress and we started taking trips everywhere. And yeah, it was very cool.

EISENBERG: How do you go from professional - competitive kiteboarder to an acting career?

MONROE: I don't know. I don't know how. I was living in the Dominican Republic, training. And when I was leaving, I said look, I'll send in audition tapes for movies that I really like or projects that I want to do. But besides that, my focus is on kiteboarding, and that's what I want to do. So I sent it in, and the director happen to see it. And I mean, just by chance ended up booking it. It was with Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. Ramin Barhrani, the director of it, just kind of changed my life forever. So it was very cool.

EISENBERG: So right then, you put something on tape, sent it away and...

MONROE: I mean, it was, you know, like, three weeks, took time.

EISENBERG: Yeah, sure...

MONROE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, time...

EISENBERG: ...Two, three weeks, took time.


EISENBERG: Some of us translate that into, like, 30 years. But I...


EISENBERG: So was your first audition - did you need, like, commercial auditions or anything...


EISENBERG: ...Like that?

MONROE: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: Like for what?

MONROE: Pizza Hut.

EISENBERG: Pizza Hut? Was it your first audition?

MONROE: I don't know if it was my first.

EISENBERG: But it was right in the beginning.

MONROE: It was in the beginning, and then yeah, I booked a Purina dog food...

EISENBERG: Listen...


EISENBERG: Did you have to eat the product in Pizza Hut (laughter) and Purina?

MONROE: Yes, yes, I did.

EISENBERG: How did that go?

MONROE: I don't know if this is too much information, but they had a spit bucket...


MONROE: ...Next to me. So you spit and you chew and you...


MONROE: ...Spit it out.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah, that's...

MONROE: That's the good stuff. That's the good...

EISENBERG: ...A really appetizing moment for the next bite. All right, let's talk about the movie "Independence Day: Resurgence." The aliens are back. Jeff Goldblum, you are reprising your role as David Levinson, the scientist who figured out how to beat the aliens in the first "Independence Day."


EISENBERG: Now, you have played a lot of roles with aliens.

GOLDBLUM: Some, yeah.




EISENBERG: You've even been an alien...

GOLDBLUM: Yes I have.

EISENBERG: ...In "Earth Girls Are Easy."


EISENBERG: Now, did that...


EISENBERG: Being cast as an alien - has that informed you at all how to kill aliens in the future movies?

MONROE: It's a good question.

GOLDBLUM: That is a good question.

EISENBERG: Yeah, did you figure out their weakness?

GOLDBLUM: Very good question. No, no...




EISENBERG: In the trailer, you see aliens always like to get the landmarks.

GOLDBLUM: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: Why do aliens always go after monuments?

GOLDBLUM: Well, the first time I think they were 20 years ago, you know, they they destroyed the White House.


GOLDBLUM: And I think they were - they must've known something about the leadership, And...


GOLDBLUM: Well, I don't mean any particular leadership...

EISENBERG: Sure, no.

GOLDBLUM: ...I mean, you know, and how they would get to us, you know, and all that. In this - I don't want to give anything away...

EISENBERG: No, please.

GOLDBLUM: But it is - it's alluded to visually and texturally in the trailer. So the new ones come down in a ship that's - you know, the last ones were as big as, you know, a city. This one, it's much, much bigger. There's one that comes down - yes, if you didn't gather it from the trailer, if you've seen that, it's the size of - should I say, like, the Atlantic Ocean.


GOLDBLUM: And as it's coming to do its dirty business - I won't give that away exactly - it - as I say in the trailer, has its own gravity. So whole cities - whole cities on its journey get sucked up off of their roots, their foundations, lifted up - floated up with horror, screaming, billions of people in them - horribly. And then what I say in the trailer, what goes up must come down. They fall on other cities.

MONROE: Must come down, yep.

GOLDBLUM: Yeah, it's a spectacle-palooza (ph) of destruction that only Roland Emmerich could...




EISENBERG: Maika, you star With Jeff Goldblum in "Independence Day" day as the president's daughter. You are the next generation.

MONROE: Sure am.

EISENBERG: Now, you were - what? - 3 years old when the last...

MONROE: I was 2.

EISENBERG: You were 2...


EISENBERG: ...When "Independence Day" came out.

MONROE: Sure was.

EISENBERG: Have you seen the movie?


EISENBERG: You've not seen the movie.

MONROE: I'm joking. Are you kidding me? Of course I've seen it. I've seen it (laughter) - I've seen it, like, at least maybe 15 to 17 times.

EISENBERG: Fifteen to 17 times?

MONROE: It's a good movie.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you like it.

MONROE: Yeah, it's a good one.

EISENBERG: OK. So Jeff, 20 years later, when you walked on set this time, what was different about it?

GOLDBLUM: It was bigger. I think the - I think the budget and the scope of the first one was not as - let alone the alien ships - was not as big as this one. So we were in Albuquerque, and we had sound stage - five or six sound stages. And you went on, and you saw sets that were built that looked like, you know, big, you know...

MONROE: Big stuff.

EISENBERG: So you actually have sets being built?

GOLDBLUM: Yeah, you had sets. And then we had all these, you know, special effects and green screen stuff, and ways of cluing us in on what they would finally look like that were a little more advanced. And those were, you know, more spectacular. But same director, Roland Emmerich.


GOLDBLUM: You know, much more in his period of mastery now. Some of the returning cast was the same - Judd Hirsch plays my father - he's back, delightfully.


GOLDBLUM: I love him. And Bill Pullman, who plays the ex-president now in a very interesting way, is back.


GOLDBLUM: And many other people too numerous to mention but, you know, like that.

EISENBERG: So a lot of special effects are added afterwards. And so does it actually force you to be a better actor because it's kind of closer to theater?

MONROE: I would absolutely say so, yeah.

GOLDBLUM: Yes. You have to use your imagination.


GOLDBLUM: It's not like "The Revenant" or something, I imagine, where you're in, you know...

MONROE: You're doing it all, yeah.

GOLDBLUM: ...The horrible things. Yeah, so it's made-up, and so you're pretending. You're on the Moon, but you're not.


GOLDBLUM: And you're seeing aliens, but you're not.

EISENBERG: But you're not.

GOLDBLUM: You've got to pretend.

EISENBERG: So what is standing in for the alien?

MONROE: Nothing.


MONROE: We had - the writers would talk over the microphones.

EISENBERG: The writers.


GOLDBLUM: Yes, they would talk and describe what we were seeing.

MONROE: (Laughter) The writers would stand there for you. No.

GOLDBLUM: But there's a scene, not unlike the one in the first one, where an alien has got somebody, and they're channeling their voice and thoughts through that person. And so they had an eye line where you could see what they were going to put in, but then they had a tentacle or two.

MONROE: Just one tentacle.


EISENBERG: A tentacle. (Laughter).

GOLDBLUM: It was kind of wrapping around with a puppet guy, you know, making...

MONROE: So gross.

GOLDBLUM: ...Creepy things like that.

EISENBERG: That sounds so fun.

GOLDBLUM: It's fun.

EISENBERG: Excellent. Well, I am so looking forward to seeing this masterpiece with the two of you. But right now, speaking of masterpieces - Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, are you ready for your ASK ME ANOTHER challenge?

MONROE: Oh goodness, I'm scared.


EISENBERG: Yes you would...


GOLDBLUM: Very, very (unintelligible).


EISENBERG: Let's bring back our puzzle guru Art Chung and house musician Jonathan Coulton. So the original "Independence Day" has one of the best inspirational movie speeches ever, delivered by President Bill Pullman.


BILL PULLMAN: (As President Thomas J. Whitmore) We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence Day.


JONATHAN COULTON: Very stirring. Ophira and I are going to read you our version of that speech...


MONROE: Oh goodness.

COULTON: ...Which we've rewritten to be about other holidays.




COULTON: Don't get ahead of yourself.


COULTON: Just buzz in when you know which holiday we're speaking about. And bonus points if you answer in the style of Bill Pullman. Today we celebrate our Independence Day. But, of course, you would replace Independence Day with the correct answer.


COULTON: Are you ready?

MONROE: Oh goodness.

EISENBERG: Let's give it a shot.

COULTON: It's going to be great.

EISENBERG: Good morning. In less than an hour, bouquets from sustainably-sourced florists will join heart shaped, fair trade chocolate boxes from around the world. And you will be hugging the largest teddy bear in the history of mankind.



MONROE: Today we celebrate our Valentine's Day.



COULTON: Mangrove - that word should have new meaning for all of us today. Deciduous evergreen, we can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We must be united on the last Friday in April, in our common interest in planting trees.


COULTON: Oh, it's Maika.

MONROE: Today we celebrate our Arbor Day.

COULTON: Absolutely.


GOLDBLUM: I bow to you. I sit at your feet. I wouldn't have known that in a million years. How do you know that?

MONROE: I went to school. I don't know.


GOLDBLUM: Aye-yai-yai (ph).

EISENBERG: I think maybe you'll know this one. Let's see. Perhaps it is fate that today is the 14 of June, and you will once again be flying that piece of cloth - perhaps not really designed by Betsy Ross - but by any number of Philadelphian banner makers.



GOLDBLUM: Today we celebrate our Flag Day.



GOLDBLUM: I tell you, I was not sure of the answer until I started to speak. I was thinking out loud. I was thinking out loud.


COULTON: We're fighting for our right to cram into malls for mediocre deals...


COULTON: ...To buy Christmas and Hanukkah presents way too early.



MONROE: Today we celebrate our Black Friday day.

COULTON: Yes, we do.


MONROE: I know that one.

EISENBERG: And should we win the day, the 17 of March will no longer be known as an Irish holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice - we will go decorate with four-leaf clovers, we will wake up with massive hangovers.


MONROE: Today we celebrate our St. Patrick's Day.



MONROE: Thank you guys. Thank you very much.

EISENBERG: There's one more.

COULTON: There's one more.


GOLDBLUM: OK, this is it. I think it's...

EISENBERG: This is it...

GOLDBLUM: If my count is right, I'm ahead by two? Is that correct?


COULTON: We're going to brunch on. We're going to hug our moms.



GOLDBLUM: What is - today we celebrate our Mother's Day.

COULTON: That's right.


EISENBERG: Victory dances all around. Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our special guests do?

ART CHUNG: Technically, Maika won. But really, we're all winners, so you're both going to get ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cubes.


EISENBERG: Congratulations. "Independence Day: Resurgence" comes out June 24. Let's hear it one more time for Jeff Goldblum and Maika Monroe.


COULTON: (Singing) I hate California. There's something out there I just don't get. I don't blame The Beach Boys. I don't blame Hollywood. I don't blame L.A., though I probably should. I don't blame the sky for it's careless shade of blue. Lord knows I don't blame you. Lord knows I hate California.


EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.