Despite 2012’s race for box-office gold not even having been announced yet, Hollywood is abuzz that “Men in Black III” will be the last to gallop through the end post.
But no fault of jockey, Mary Shelley.
In all seriousness, why no Plate, Cup or Ribbon for the Sony sequel? Well, if this report at THR is any indication, it’d seem a rifle is already aiming for a dud leg. The script for the Barry Sonnenfeld directed sequel – which sees Will Smith going back in time to team with a young Tommy Lee Jones, er, played by Josh Brolin – is a mess, the stars are arguing, director and studio are wrestling in mud, and the pug dog’s pissin’ on the catering. I’ve spoken to more than a few people over the last few days that believe the film should be ‘put down’ but, financially, considering they’ve already shelled out so much, Sony can’t afford to do that. So… they push on, and then, in 2012, push it onto us.
Here’s what’s happened :
2005-2011 : Sony tries to entice Will Smith into doing a third “Men in Black”. Will refuses to do it until someone shows him and out-of-this-world (and a contract that says daughter Willow can supply the music for the soundtrack). When Smith does finally take to a script, one by Etan Cohen (“Tropic Thunder”), he lets the studio know that he’ll be ‘contributing to it’ but ‘… when he’s got a moment to spare’.
October : “Men in Black III” is supposed to start shooting, but nobody’s happy with the direction the script is taking now so they push the start date back a few weeks.
Mid October : Rip Torn visits his probation officer.
November : Despite the script being far from shootable, Sony rushes “Men in Black III” before the cameras – despite only having one act of the thing finished. The studio didn’t want to wait for the script to be completed because by then they’ll have lost out on sweet-ass tax incentives offered up by New York City.
Late December : Production goes on a pre-arranged ‘break’ for a couple of months so the script can be completed.
January : Jaden Smith sprouts a pube. Will Smith’s more excited over that that than he is the film.
March : Production is supposed to be back in full swing… but it’s not. The script, so they say, sucks and now David Koepp, who did rewrites on the first “MIB”, has been brought in – with paddles and a medical kit – to save it. The delay in shooting will cost Sony millions but the studio’s response to that is, “Um, yeah, maybe… but we saved a lot with the Tax incentives by beginning our shoot in December and… hey, did you see 2012? Wasn’t it a great film!?”
Today : Koepp has delivered a version of the script but they’re now waiting for Smith to sign off on it. Koepp would’ve had his work cut out for him, after all, he’s locked into the beginning of the movie (since that’s been shot) so wouldn’t have been able to make too many improvements to the story that was in place before he joined the production.
March 28 : “Men in Black” is due to resume production.
So, in a nutshell, what’s all that mean? Well, it means, Sony greenlit a $200 million dollar movie that’s essentially being made up as they go. Everyone involved is arguing because, like a family that’s decided to paint their living room, everyone’s arguing over the colors and tones they want; it’s only natural – with nothing set in stone before the job begins – that people are going to want different things. But, I tell ya, already this sounds like it’s going to be a major dud – it might make money, but it won’t make anywhere near the money of the first two. If it’s a stitched-together shocker, the whispers will spread from Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning and by Sunday, “Men in Black III” will be going down on the top ten – and getting nothing but a limp response.
Tell me folks, who here wants to see a “Men in Black III”? I’m just interested because everyone I’ve spoken to so far seems to have no interest in seeing another one of those films. Is it only Amy Pascal that wants to see it?