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Washington Faces Terror Attack in 'White House Down'

  • Penelope Poulou

Filmmaker Roland Emmerich, known for his 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day, is now tackling the destruction of the White House and an impending nuclear attack by terrorists. The film, White House Down, is wildly entertaining with action sequences, brisk dialogue and a heart-rending father-daughter relationship at its core. It is reminiscent of 1980s and 90s action hits without today's darkness.

This is not the first time Roland Emmerich is destroying the White House. In 1996, he blew it to smithereens in Independence Day. Back then, the enemy was aliens. Now, it's an inside job.

A terrorist group is planning to take the president hostage and access America's weapons of mass destruction. But all is not lost. John Cale, a soldier fresh out of Afghanistan, is visiting the White House for a job interview.

His estranged daughter, Emily, is visiting with him. What happens next is predictable. In the chaos, John and Emily are separated. Cale races to save his daughter and, of course, the president.

Actor Channing Tatum, left, and director Roland Emmerich attend the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

Actor Channing Tatum, left, and director Roland Emmerich attend the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

Channing Tatum, as John Cale, is in super shape as he goes through leaps and bounds to protect the Commander in Chief.

“There is a 25 foot drop I didn't do. But I did most of them. Yeah!" he admitted, referring to the stunts he performed.

Tatum, who was named the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine, approaches stardom with humor and humility.

“I don't know. I don't sit there pondering that question, really, I just sort...keep working," he said.

Actor Jamie Foxx attends the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

Actor Jamie Foxx attends the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

In White House Down, Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx plays James Sawyer, the president of the United States. He said it's not a take on President Obama.

“We didn't want to do an impersonation of him because we don't want people to think that's how Obama would react in this situation because we don't know,” Foxx explains.

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays special agent Carol Finnerty.

“To come here to see the Capitol Building felt like I want to go up as close as I can get," she said, adding that visiting Washington helped her connect with her character. "To see the First Amendment written in stone on the Newseum, and to walk up and read it and think I absolutely believe in that! And I think Carol Finnerty is like that.”

Cast members, from left, Joey King, Channing Tatum, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Garcelle Beauvais attend the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

Cast members, from left, Joey King, Channing Tatum, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Garcelle Beauvais attend the "White House Down" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre, June 25, 2013 in New York.

Filmmaker Roland Emmerich said despite the grand sets and special effects, his film is, at its core, about a father trying to reconnect with his daughter - a throwback to 80s and 90s action flicks.

"It's not as fun anymore like it was, like with movies such as Indiana Jones," Emmerich said, regretfully. "Raiders of Lost Ark was one of the most fun movies I have ever seen in my life. These kind of movies are missing [today].”

White House Down is a wild ride in the heart of the nation's capital. It toys with the hypothesis of what would happen to the world if the White House were compromised.
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