By Edward Davis | The Playlist February 16, 2011 at 12:03AM
Right, we already knew this didn't augur well. In November 2010, just as production on "Men In Black 3," or "Men In Black 3D" whatever you wanna call it, was beginning, Columbia Pictures hired a new writer Jeff Nathanson (“Catch Me If You Can” and “Rush Hour 2”) to give yet another polish to the script.
Etan Cohen of "Tropic Thunder" wrote the original draft of the script, David Koepp (”Panic Room,” “Spider-Man”) gave it a second touch-up and Nathanson did the third pass. How was that going to work? A film goes into production and you then hire a new writer?
Easy, "Men In Black 3D" was already shooting in two parts. A time-travel film, the first half was set in "present day," and the second half, set in 1969 and rumored to star a young Tommy Lee Jones played by Josh Brolin, was set to resume shooting after its two month hiatus in February. Only that second production never started because apparently various parties are still unhappy with that part of the script -- the one Nathanson was fixing up while part one was shooting. Got all that?
This could be seen as the second delay for the project. The film was supposed to originally begin shooting in October, but apparently Will Smith was not 100% happy with the script according to the New York Post.
The film was to begin shooting again in New York this week, but according to the L.A. Times, the shoot has been shifted to some time in March due to the "lack of a ready script."
This was hinted at months ago. "I don’t really know what the plotline is," Jones told Vulture in November. "There are vast pieces of the script yet unwritten."
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, the man behind the original "Men In Black" films, plus "Wild Wild West," "The Addams Family" franchise and the Robin Williams vehicle, "RV," Sony insists the May 25, 2012 release date won't be affected and frankly, they're probably right. While "Men In Black III" (a third way to spell it if you like), will surely have plenty of effects that will take months and months to render, it's very likely with over a year to go, they'll totally make their date. What isn't clear however, at least not so far, is why a third "Men In Black" film even needs to exist. Where there's smoke there's fire, people and this third sci-fi franchise might just be sending out quality-problem signals.
Apart from Smith, Jones and Brolin, "Men In Black 3" stars Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Sharlto Copley, Gemma Arterton, Alec Baldwin and Nicole Scherzinger.