Why Mae Whitman Didn't Reprise Her Role As The President's Daughter In Independence Day 2

Mae Whitman has been acting essentially since she could stand, appearing in major shows like "Friends," "Chicago Hope," and "JAG" while most of us were still learning to read and write (via IMDb). 

Whitman avoided the child star curse by seamlessly transitioning into adult roles, though she continued playing a teenager into her late 20s and early 30s. She starred in the movie "The DUFF" and the beloved comedy series "Arrested Development," in which she portrayed the girlfriend of the similarly permanently baby-faced Michael Cera, who was born the same year.

One of the young actor's biggest and earliest roles was as the president's daughter, Patricia Whitmore, in the hit sci-fi film "Independence Day." Released in 1996, the Will Smith blockbuster grossed a whopping $306,169,268, per Box Office Mojo. A sequel was all but guaranteed, though it took 20 years for one to surface. Naturally, by that stage, interest in the property had waned, though "Independence Day: Resurgence" still managed $389,681,935 worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). 

Whitman, however, missed out on a presumably massive paycheck by not reprising her role. 

Mae Whitman was replaced for dubious reasons

Although Will Smith led the cast of "Independence Day," when the time came for its "Resurgence," his character was killed off so Liam Hemsworth could lead the charge, which might go some way toward explaining the film's paltry 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes (its predecessor managed 68%). 

The biggest casting upset, however, came with the replacement of Mae Whitman with "It Follows" star Maika Monroe. According to director Roland Emmerich, Whitman refused to read for the role (via Gizmodo). However, when The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Monroe was taking over from Whitman, the outlet also revealed several other actresses who were in the running, including Lucy Boynton and Britt Robertson. All these women had one thing in common: They're more conventionally beautiful. 

This led websites like E! News to speculate that Whitman was given the boot based on sexist Hollywood standards, to make way for someone who'd make more sense as a love interest for Hemsworth. Fans raged on Twitter, with none other than Anna Kendrick decrying the decision while also pointing out that Whitman is a bonafide star who's more than proven she can carry a project. The "Good Girls" star retweeted both Kendrick and an essay criticizing the move, suggesting that she agreed wholeheartedly, even if the actor didn't comment directly. 

Suffice to say, Whitman's reaction suggests that it wasn't a matter of her refusing to read for the part, though Emmerich's implication that she was somehow difficult also feeds into the same sexist attitude that still sadly exists in Hollywood.