MEN IN BLACK II
About The Production
stunned industry analysts in 1997 when it snuck up on audiences and outgrossed
such predictable, surefire summer smashes as Lost World: Jurassic Park 2,
and Batman and Robin.
Men in Black
is back -
"Maybe we can
sneak in under the radar again," director Barry Sonnenfeld proposes.
"Isn't there another â€˜Star Wars' coming out?"
Not only did Men in
Black sneak in under the radar to become a huge movie hit, it introduced
stylistic elements that quickly became dominant themes in fashion and entered
the iconography of pop culture throughout the world.
"I always thought
we were making a little buddy movie with a bunch of smoke and mirrors to make
you think there was a science fiction element in it," says the director.
"But it opened very well and, a week later, three other movies had
newspaper ads with their actors wearing sunglasses. And Will's song was
playing everywhere you went. So, it was kinda cool how, all of a sudden, it had
"We had taken our
kids with us to the London opening of Men in Black and then we drove up
to the north of England for a little vacation," recalls producer Walter F.
Parkes. "A couple of days later we were sitting in this hole-in-the-wall
pub, in the middle of nowhere, eating shepherd's pie and suddenly the (Men
in Black) song comes over the radio. It was one of those moments when you
just get this crystalline awareness of the enormous reach of a movie."
If the original MIB
snuck up on audiences, its enormous success also came as something of a surprise
to some of Sonnenfeld's own production team.
application of his unique directing sensibilities came on The Addams Family,
based on the Charles Addams drawings in "The New Yorker" magazine. Two
years later, on Addams Family Values, he successfully applied his unique
sensibilities again... to something no longer so unique.
"Tommy and Will
have reversed their rolls when the story begins. While Tommy's been gone, Will
has become the top agent at MIB. After Tommy returns it creates a funny dynamic
in which Will suddenly has to deal with his old teacher coming back into his
life and treating him like a kid again. In that way, MIBII incorporates the
strengths of its predecessor but takes a fresh approach," notes producer
At the end of the
original Men in Black, audiences will recall Agent Kay being neuralized,
a process by which all memory is erased, and retiring from MIB. However, the
reunion of Kay and Jay, was always the most important element in anyone's
vision of a sequel.
"We always knew
that the first movie was going to end with Tommy's character being neuralized
and if we were lucky enough to have a second one, it would somehow have to deal
with bringing him back," explains Parkes. "Now, the problem was, how
do you create a story that does that, and, as Barry continued to remind us, get
Tommy back in quickly?"
"Like all the
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