Movie star ETHAN HAWKE still regrets turning down Will Smith's role in sci-fi blockbuster Independence Day, because the film could have turned his fortunes around.

The TRAINING DAY star admits he went through "a smug and arrogant" phase when he turned down a string of big-budget movies - including Independence Day.

He tells American magazine GIANT, "On the page, that part was nothing; he (Will Smith) totally created it. I remember reading it and showing it to a friend, like, 'Can you believe how bad this line is - 'Now that's what I call a close encounter'. Give me a break.

"Then I'm in the theatre on the Fourth of July weekend, and Will Smith goes, 'Now that's what I call a close encounter,' and the place bursts into laughter.

"I was like, 'I've got my finger on the heel of America. I can't get a pulse.'"

Hawke is convinced he'd have got movie roles he was desperate to land in films like Saving Private Ryan and Fight Club if he had taken the Independence Day part.

He adds, "I couldn't get an audition for Saving Private Ryan. That p**sed me off. I wanted Ed Norton's part in Fight Club."

18/01/2005 03:29