It has been ten years since the Men in Black were last seen protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe, and since then, there has been rampant speculation about a third film. But Will Smith says that it was always a given that there would be a third film. “We came to a point where we all felt that we had a fresh and compelling story that took the audience to a time and place they had not seen in this franchise,” says Smith.
In Columbia Pictures' highly anticipated action adventure comedy Men in Black 3, Agents J (Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back... in time. J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him--secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.
The story of Men In Black 3 takes the filmmakers back – back to the characters’ origins, back to the key moments of their relationship, to focus on the key elements that have kept them at arms’ length from each other for 15 years – and looked for ways to resolve the conflict. The answer came in sending Agent J back – back in time.
“We wanted the movie to be both familiar and different,” says Barry Sonnenfeld, who has taken the helm of all three Men in Black films. “What’s familiar is the characters and premise of the Men in Black and who they are. We wanted to bring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back together again. But we also wanted something new and inventive, and that came in the time travel element.”
“At the beginning of the movie, J and K are still partners – but they haven’t learned much about each other in all their time together,” says producer Walter F. Parkes.
“In fact, at the very beginning of the story, the character of Zed has recently died and K gives a eulogy that provides no information whatsoever about him. This despite the fact that Zed was supposedly his best friend for 45 years. It makes J think, after all these years, what do I really know about the guy sitting next to me? That is the foundation for our story, and it coincides with the escape of an alien, Boris the Animal, that K put away 40 years earlier, in 1969 – and he’s coming back for some kind of payback on K.”
Some kind of payback, indeed: Boris jumps back in time to 1969 and kills K. No one in 2012 has any memory that K wasn’t murdered 40 years earlier – no one except J, who is wondering what happened to his partner. To save K, J follows Boris back into the past – and as he does, he sees an opportunity to learn more about his partner. “J sees saving K as a great opportunity to learn secrets about K – he thinks he’ll find out why K is so grumpy and reserved,” says Sonnenfeld. “But as it turns out, the young Agent K is open, friendly, and interesting.”
Of course, even as the movie explores the characters’ relationships, it isn’t a heavy drama. It’s Men In Black, and that meant it would deliver trippy Rick Baker aliens, cool gadgets, and big laughs. All of that adds up to an irresistible tone that isn’t quite like any other film. Sonnenfeld says that the key to the tone – the only way to make the movie really funny – is for everyone to play it entirely straight. “I want the situations to be funny, but the performances to be real, so I don’t want the actors trying to be funny,” he explains. “I don’t want the composer to think ‘comedy,’ because then the music will be comedy music. I don’t even want the cinematographer or the lab that develops the film to think it’s a comedy, because the next thing I know, it’ll look too bright. If I can surround the absurd situation with something real, it’ll be a great comedy.”
Opening across the Philippines on May 23 in 3D and regular theaters, Men in Black 3 will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.