Etan Cohen ("Tropic Thunder") was hired to write the original script, and then David Koepp ("Spider-Man") was brought in to touch it up, only for a Jeff Nathanson ("Catch Me If You Can") to be brought in during a planned break in filming to finish the screenplay (which eventually led to an even longer delay), before Koepp was brought back to go over it again. Finally, Michael Soccio ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") did some work on the script before Will Smith was happy with it, and production (for which the budget had by then spiraled north of $200 million) could be resumed.
It all sounds like a shambles really and we'd be shocked (but pleasantly so) if the film can be anything approaching entertaining and coherent when it arrives on May 25th. Director Barry Sonnenfeld has been talking about the film in the new issue of Empire and specifically about production shutting down. "We knew starting the movie that we didn't have a finished second or third act. Was it responsible? The answer is, if this movie does as well as I think it will, it was genius. If it's a total failure, then it was a really stupid idea." For the record Barry, regardless of the film's success, it was a really fucking stupid idea.
Rick Baker who also worked on the film added: "It was a crazy production. We had a writer actually on the soundstage writing the words moments before the guys had to say them. I don't think that's any way to make a movie. But I've seen a rough cut and I was actually shocked at how good it was." Wow, so things were as bad as we suspected, and we'll take Baker's surprise at how good it was as meaning "not the single worst movie ever made."
Other nuggets to come from the interview include the idea for the plot of the third movie coming from Will Smith on the set of "Men in Black 2" - so now we know who the buck stops with if the blame game goes back far enough. Sonnenfeld also let slip that "at least now we've got Josh Brolin to carry on with Tommy's part..." leading to speculation over whether Brolin returns to the present in MIB3 and the potential for a MIB4.
To be fair though, the trailer didn't look entirely awful (although included very little of the time travel stuff) and we did kind of love Josh Brolin's spot-on Tommy Lee Jones imitation right at the end, so maybe there's some truth in what Rick Baker had to say. But then again, maybe there's not and this could go down as one of the biggest blockbuster disasters of all time. While we wait for the finished product to arrive, an image from the movie has been released and it's pretty dull. But then again, it should come as no surprise that with those kind of delays in production we're still seeing still images and not more action from the movie. [Contactmusic/Comic Book Movie/JoBlo]