Vivica A. Fox Shares How 'Independence Day' Role Led to 'Set It Off' (Exclusive)

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Vivica A. Fox fought hard for her role in Independence Day.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Will Smith-starring action flick, with Fox telling ET's Kevin Frazier while guest hosting Friday's show that it was a "life changing" opportunity for her. The actress expressed how her breakout role as Jasmine Dubrow nabbed her the part in the hit film, Set It Off.

"I had to audition six times to get the role," she confessed. "I called my agent and I was like, 'Yo, everybody in town is auditioning for Independence Day, why can't I? I did a great role on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where I played the date from hell with Will. And my agent said, 'Oh honey, you're just on a soap opera. I was on Young and the Restless at the time and she said, 'You don't have a big enough name. This movie is going to be huge.' And I was like, 'Oh well, OK, let me go back to learning my lines on my soap opera."

She added that two weeks later she got a call about auditioning for the role after a producer's wife saw her on the famous soap.

"And the first time I went in there I had on this tight, patent leather, white jumpsuit. And the casting director told me, 'It's a good thing you can act because that outfit was not gonna get you the part,'" she shared. "And I said, 'But wait, she's a stripper.' And she's like, 'No, she's a stripper with a heart of gold. That's just what she does. Go back and I want you to watch Speed and be inspired by Sandra Bullock.'"

"So I came back the next audition with, like, a cute little dress on, some combat boots and ankle socks. And as soon as I walked in she goes, 'You did your homework,'" she recalled.

Her role helped her nabbed the part in Set It Off when director F. Gary Gray came to see her act on the Independence Day set. "Will actually coached me for my audition for Frankie. He was dating Jada [Pinkett Smith] at the time, so I think he was trying to get some brownie points," she shared. "And he was like, 'You Frankie,' 'cause they had me audition for two roles. For Titi and for Frankie cause at the time Rosie Perez was supposed to have done Frankie. And then she fell out. And I remember when I did audition, F. Gary Gray told me, he goes, 'You're Frankie if she falls out. It's your part.' And the rest is history."

Set It Off, starring Fox, Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Kimberly Elise, follows four close friends who decide to plan and execute a bank robbery. The movie was a critical and box office success, and praised by audiences for showcasing women of color in new ways. 

Fox, meanwhile, is part of the new three-part Lifetime limited series, Keeping Up With the Joneses: The Wrong Family. "This is Lifetime Movie Network's first miniseries that they've ever done. I'm so fortunate that they trusted my franchise, The Wrong franchise, to be a first," Fox said, describing it as, "It's kinda like Dynasty meets a harlequin romance novel. It's got fashion, it's got conniving, it's got beautiful ladies and hot guys."

The first part premiered on Thursday, with the two other parts airing over the next two weeks.

Meanwhile back in November when Fox also co-hosted ET, she got emotional watching a clip from the set of the Set It Off.

"You're going to make me cry!" Fox said. "I love them... like, we made history together and I think that's why I'm so emotional. I am so proud of the director, F. Gary Gray, who over 20 years ago when we made that film, he really was a stickler for making the storyline believable. He was so professional, he was just... we were throwing out pages, and rewriting it and making things work because he didn't want us to be laughed at."

"People literally walked out of the theater from Set It Off in tears and moved and went back to see it again," she added. 

See her reaction in the video below.


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