Will Smith talks about MIB 3
Will Smith loves the movies. Not in a movie star kind of way; he loves the little cogs that, when put together, produce a fine piece of entertainment. He tinkers with them, helps nurture them and picks them up at the most right time to transform it into a great movie. That might be the case with MIB3. It’s been a decade since he and partner-in-crime Tommy Lee Jones donned the suits for the agents who police and monitor alien activity on Earth – a good 15-year gap since the 1997 adventure that started the franchise.
Will is a proud father. “I think we’ve made the best of the three,” says the actor. In between, he produced the Karate Kid remake with his son, Jaden Smith, in the starring role as a boy who finds his inner force in China.
It made $360 million worldwide. For MIB3, he says, “We needed to wait for the inspiration, we needed the right idea.” Lightning struck about four years ago when Smith envisioned a way to make his character, Agent J, a rookie alongside partner Agent K.
“After the second movie, we realised the dynamic between J and K was more interesting when J was a newcomer,” hints Smith. That became the starting point of an adventure-in-time that sees Agent J traveling back to 1969 to meet a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin, making the most perfect Tommy Lee Jones) and of course, saving the world from an intergalactic invasion. “Being in the 60s gave director, Barry Sonnenfeld, and make-up artist, Rick Baker, the opportunity to populate the Men in Black world with all sorts of retro aliens,” laughs Will. “And that’s just a stroke of genius!” Get ready to see creatures from old movies and TV series and all sorts of weirdness from 60s sci-fi.
It has been a long journey for Smith, who was a successful rapper and a TV star throughout the 90s. He made a great impression in the action packed Bad Boys for director Michael Bay in 1995, and got his big break the following year doing what he does best: saving the world. Released in 1996, Independence Day was a smash and made Smith a worldwide star. The next year he proved we was not a one-hit-wonder and hit the jackpot once more with Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black. “The concept of the series will stand out in the history of world cinema,” believes Smith. “There’s nothing even remotely like it, neither in comedy nor in science fiction.”
As good as it might be to save the world, Smith’s interest in movies has a range not many movie stars are able to claim. In 2001 he took the risk and portrayed a living legend in Michael Mann’s Ali, which got him his first Academy Award nomination. He then tried his hand in sci-fi with I Robot, animation with Shark Tale, a romantic comedy with Hitch, horror in I Am Legend and the super hero genre with Hancock. The first time he shared the screen with his son, Jaden, was in the drama The Pursuit of Happyness which got him his second Academy Award nomination. “I have points of view and I have ideas and philosophies that I want to share with the world,” says the actor. “The movies have to do all of that, and have to represent something that I’d be proud to put into the world.”
And the world is listening. Will Smith has a domestic box office value of $2.5 billion, making him one of the most reliable stars in the world. MIB3 is the opportunity not only to get back to a great character in a great premise, but also to reunite with the team that made the two movies a hit. “It’s all about the idea, it led everybody together again,” says Smith about doing a third movie in a franchise for the first time – and in 3D. “Men in Black is supposed to be in 3D, to live in that kind of world. It adds emotion, comedy, it transports you in a way that in some movies it takes you out. It’s absolutely perfect.”
Fifteen years after finding out that aliens live among us, Will Smith is back in the suit and is back with his blend of comedy and sci-fi that amazes the world. It’s good to welcome him to familiar ground. With a time travel spectacle, the world in peril and one absolute: he still makes those shades look good!
Agents J (Will 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.