Even though Jessie T. Usher was just a kid when Independence Day came out in 1996, the actor knows the iconic nature of the movie. He says he is honored to play the role of Dylan Hiller in Independence Day: Resurgence because his character is the son of Colonel Steven Hiller, who was played by none other than Will Smith.
"Honestly to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Will Smith is a big deal to me," he says, "you know I love a lot of his work."
Usher says that he didn't get to meet the legend during the filming process and finally met him once shooting was a wrap. But, having grown up watching the original Independence Day and knowing Smith's acting career inside and out, he was able to grasp the role.
"I had been a huge Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fan for as long as I can remember," he says. "I love his style, I love how embraceful he is with every project that he works on. He always adds his own flavor and for some reason, we can never really put our hands on it but we draw to his performance, and by we I mean the consumers and viewers. As a professional, I try to watch and break down what he does, and it's hard because he's just naturally that guy."
In the film, Usher's character rivals Jake Morrison, who is played by Liam Hemsworth, as a new generation of heroes prepares to fight another alien invasion. Bill Pullman reprises his role as President Thomas J. Whitmore and Vivica A. Fox returns, this time as Hiller's widow and Dylan's mother.
"She understands what it meant for me to be playing this role, to step into those shoes," Usher says of working with Fox, "and she understood that there was gonna be a lot of pressure and a lot of talk, and she just wanted me to be comfortable. To be able to express myself as an artist without feeling like I had to do something to live up to."

With Hollywood experience under his belt already, starring as Cam Calloway in the Starz drama Survivor's Remorse and a role in the football movie When The Game Stands Tall, Usher says that getting this role was another level of success for him.
"Anything is possible," he says. "Persistence and preparation is key in this business."
He says the lesson was heightened because of the physical demand of Independence Day: Resurgence and because of the perfection expected by director Roland Emmerich.
"I’m not gonna pray or beg to do any of these roles and get there and complain about it," Usher says. "You suck it up and you do the work."
The 24-year-old is set to appear in Almost Christmas this fall alongside Danny Glover, Mo'nique, Omar Epps and Gabrielle Union. Comedian D.C. Youngfly is to make his silver screen debut with the film.
"We just had a lot of fun and I just know that’s gonna be a ton of fun for everybody," Usher says.
Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters nationwide today.