Mae Whitman Reveals How Independence Day Co-Star Jeff Goldblum Inspired Her to Take New TV Role

For her starring role on the Hulu musical series Up Here—dropping March 24—Mae Whitman exclusively told E! News how Independence Day co-star Jeff Goldblum inspired her to take the risk.

By Daniel Trainor Mar 25, 2023 12:17 AMTags
Watch: Mae Whitman Reveals Jeff Goldblum's Unintentional Career Advice

Sometimes it pays to listen to the voices in your head—especially when they sound like Jeff Goldblum

On Hulu's musical romantic comedy series Up Here—premiering March 24—Mae Whitman plays Lindsay, a small-town girl who jets off to New York City in the final days of 1999 in search of creative freedom, excitement and, ultimately, love. 

For Mae, the entire project was a huge leap of faith. Luckily, she had the sage words of an old friend to inspire her to make the jump. 

"I worked with Jeff Goldblum on Independence Day when I was a tiny child," Mae exclusively told E! News. "I remember they were opening the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios and I was gonna go. I was terrified. I called him because he was in Jurassic Park and he literally told me, 'You have to face your fears, Mae.' It never left me. You're still with me, Jeff."

2023 TV Premiere Dates

Mae and Jeff starred in the beloved 1996 science fiction epic together, released when Mae was just 8 years old. In the movie—which also starred Will Smith and Bill Pullman—Jeff played satellite engineer David Levinson and Mae played Patricia, the daughter of President Thomas J. Whitmore (Pullman) and First Lady Marilyn Whitmore (Mary McDonnell). 

As for Mae's latest role, Up Here features an impressive list of Broadway and musical titans behind the scenes—including Frozen songwriters Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Hamilton director Thomas Kail—so the 34-year-old had every right to be nervous.

"I was experiencing a terror that I've never known before," Mae said. "It was like you put together an A-team. It was like Armageddon when they put them together and send them off. I have competence in certain arenas, but when it comes to singing, it's so vulnerable. It's so scary."


The entire experience has motivated Mae to get even further outside of her comfort zone moving forward—including a potential trip to the Great White Way.

"I want to keep doing things that scare me and things that I'm not comfortable with," the Parenthood alum said. "I have not done Broadway. God help me, I'm terrified. But I would give it a try. If Thomas Kail comes knocking, I'll at least look through the peephole."

We're sure Jeff would be proud.

Up Here premieres March 24 on Hulu.

Get the drama behind the scenes. Sign up for TV Scoop!