No stranger to coming into franchises to lend a bankable helping hand (‘’Star Wars’’, ‘’The A-Team’’, ‘’Batman’’), let alone a light sci-fi genre movie (‘80s Steve Guttenberg ‘classic’ ‘’High Spirits’’, Peter Berg’s waterlogged ‘’Battleship’’, ‘’Clash of the Titans’’, the ‘Narnia’ movies ), trusty poffertje Liam Neeson has signed for Sony’s new “Men in Black”.
The new film in the long-running film franchise, more of a reboot than a sequel to the Will Smith-Tommy Lee Jones films, is said to be more of an ensemble film than previous chapters – with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson also onboard.
According to Variety, Neeson will portray the head of the Men in Black division in the UK. Rip Torn played the head of the US division in the original “Men in Black” trilogy.
Previous reports suggested that Matt Holloway and Art Marcum’s script would more of a globe-trotting adventure than the previous films, with an international team uniting to take down the ghouls of the world.
Omega Undeground said recently that Thompson’s character Tess is out to “try to prove herself by joining the London MIB and is paired with the former ace Agent H, played by Hemsworth. The pair become involved in a murder mystery that has them traveling the globe.”
An early idea for the new “Men in Black” film was to bring in Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s characters from “21 Jump Street” and make it a high-concept crossover movie. That idea seems to have gone the way of a tongue on a ski pole.
F.Gary Gray, director of the “Fate of the Furious” and “Straight Outta Compton”, is directing the untitled “Men in Black” film for a May 19, 2019 release.
Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the original trilogy, said recently that he refused to get involved in the latest film due to a personal beef with the producers (Walter F.Parkes and Laurie MacDonald).
“The producers and I don’t really get along,” Sonnenfeld said. “It didn’t seem like it was something any of us wanted to do.”
It isn’t the first time Gray has stepped in to replace Sonnenfeld on a follow-up to one the latter’s films – the same thing happened when Sonnenfeld nixed the opportunity to direct a sequel to his ‘90s hit “Get Shorty”. F.Gary Gray would ultimately direct the next film in that franchise, “Be Cool”.
“I love that F. Gary Gray is like the guy who comes in and directs sequels of shows I’ve done,” Sonnenfeld said with appreciation. “That’s really kind of cool.”
Steven Spielberg executive produces the new film.