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BAD BOYS II

The Right Chemistry
"I haven't had this much fun since the original Bad Boys," says Martin Lawrence, who returns as the disgruntled Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys II. "Working with Will and Jerry and Michael – it just felt right."

It's taken eight years to reunite the team of producer Jerry Bruckheimer with director Michael Bay and stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, who made history with Columbia Pictures' highest grossing and most profitable film of 1995 Bad Boys. In addition to providing a sensational launching pad for the film careers of Bay, Lawrence and Smith, Bad Boys has remained a popular movie on video, DVD and cable over the years. In the interim, the services of the key players has been in such demand that a planned sequel seemed to be on permanent hold.

Bruckheimer credits Columbia Pictures' Chairman Amy Pascal's persistence with finally bringing all the elements together for Bad Boys II. "Amy really put pedal to the metal on this one," he says. "She doggedly kept the development process moving forward so that when we were finally able to find a time when Martin, Will and Michael were all available, we could jump on it."

Back in 1995, Lawrence and Smith were major TV stars with limited film experience and Bay was one of the top commercial directors in the country, looking to make the leap into motion pictures. Bruckheimer and his late partner, Don Simpson thought Bay was just the director for their new project Bad Boys, in which they planned to pair Lawrence and Smith.

"Michael had shot a terrific video for our film Days of Thunder," says Bruckheimer. "Martin was on a roll with a hit television series and a successful concert tour, and Will, who was loved as ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,' impressed us with his charisma. He was smart and he had an impressive will to win. We saw immediately that they would make a formidable duo, capable of combining bold action and hilarious humor. Michael delivered an amazing movie that captivated audiences. Over the years, we've all been asked when we were going to put them together again. The level of expectation has been so high that we knew we had to amp things up on this one."

"We all came of age on Bad Boys," says Bay of his debut. "Don and Jerry taught me a great deal and my partnership with Jerry has continued to evolve. I also learned a lot by experimenting with Martin and Will."

"There were a lot of ‘firsts' on Bad Boys," says Smith. "Martin and I were at the top of our TV game, but the idea of two black dudes headlining a major studio movie aimed at a general audience was pretty much a new concept."

"It's funny because the question of race never occurred to us," says Bruckheimer. "We were just looking for fresh break-out talent that was compatible on screen. Martin and Will complemented each other with their different approaches to humor. What they had in common was an ambition and energy as well as a genuine desire to please the audience, whatever it takes. Their contributions on both films have been invaluable."

"We did a lot of improvisation on the first movie," says Bay.  'We really didn't have much of a script to begin with, and the budget was so low that we didn't have much time for rehearsal.  But on t

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