Will Smith Is Back In Black
LOS ANGELES - Will Smith's been out of pictures for three years, but he's back with Men in Black 3. The good news is he's as jokingly juvenile as he used to be.
Smith proves his development's still arrested by enthusiastically chewing on a breakfast muffin as he enters a Beverly Hills hotel interview suite.
"Grhyynmmmn, grhyynmmmn, grhyynmmmn," said Smith with his mouth full of food, pretending to begin his chat as he takes his seat.
Translation: The 43-year-old wants to have fun, again. And that wasn't always the case around the time his films, Hancock and Seven Pounds, hit theatres in 2008.
Suffering from third-degree burn out, Smith took a well-deserved break from an incredibly successful 18-year run. The Oscar-nominated actor's movies earned more than $5.7 billion US at the box office world wide. The total includes Men in Black in 1997, which scooped up $589.4 million, while 2002's Men in Black 2 picked up $441.8 million.
The former Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV star didn't exactly stay at home to count his money during his unofficial sabbatical, though.
He was a producer on the successful 2010 remake of The Karate Kid, which starred his son, Jaden. And the former rapper helped his daughter, Willow, with her music career. She had a hit with the single, Whip My Hair, last year.
Now, Smith returns re-energized with Men in Black 3, which opens in theatres May 25.
In the 3-D comedy, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Agent J (Smith) travels back in time to the 1960s. His mission is to save Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from being assassinated, and thwart an alien invasion.
New to the cast is Josh Brolin who plays the 1960s version of Agent K. Emma Thompson is Agent O, and Alice Eve plays the 1960s O. Jemaine Clement is Boris, the alien manipulator, plotting to destroy earth.
Other cheeky additions include Bill Hader, who has a cameo as an undercover Andy Warhol. New to the alien surveillance board are images of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Tim Burton.
Initially, it was Smith who had the time travel idea back when Sonnenfeld, Smith and Jones were filming the second Men in Black movie more than a decade ago.
The logistics of the story proved to be more challenging than they thought it would be, but Smith said the extra effort was worth the time-travel hassle as he begins his Postmedia conversation with his breakfast fully consumed.
Q: Why choose Men in Black 3 for your return to the big screen?
A: I wanted to put on some shoes that I knew would fit. It felt like home.
Q: What was your first reaction to Brolin's version of a younger Agent K?
A: I was just shocked that it was so identical, which is difficult to do. It's like he studied Tommy (Lee Jones) and Agent K so thoroughly that the chemistry was the same for me with Josh as it was with Tommy.
Q: Is it really Brolin's voice?
A: It is. But people thought that the voice was looped by Tommy after the first trailer came out. Josh is probably not going to get the credit he deserves.
Q: Besides the comedy, and lots of Men in Black alien battles, the third film has an emotional sub-text to it, as well. Why include that?
A: We wanted some dumb and silly like 1 and 2, but it's 10 years later. We wanted to have some meat to chew on this time.
Q: Did you succeed?
A: I think so. There has to be some message. I think we connected to the destructive nature of secrets. I think what we're showing is how a relationship can be repaired, and go to another level, through the exposure of a secret.
Q: On a less serious note, Sonnenfeld said he was initially concerned about the 3-D impact on the close ups of your face and prominent ears. True?
A: (He laughs). We didn't want them looking like satellite dishes.
Q: Did you ask Jaden and Willow their considered opinion of Men in Black 3?
A: Oh yeah. The (Men in Black 3) teen target audience is my house.
A: They like it. Willow hadn't seen the first two, and she was inspired to see the others after she watched 3.
Q: Do fans of Willow and Jaden know who you are?
A: Not really. I was Mr. Willow: A bunch of kids were calling me that. And, I was the Karate Kid's dad in about 40 different languages.
Q: Is the Men in Black character the international favourite?
A: No, it's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The series is in syndication around the world. What's crazy for me is that Fresh Prince is biggest thing I've ever done. It's been a huge gift for me.
Q: OK, but is Men in Black 4 a possibility?
A: Not sure. I am looking at maybe seven more years of running and jumping then I'm going butt and gut.
Men in Black 3 is in theatres May 25.