Just before the recent reboot of Hellboy appeared and then flopped at theaters earlier this year, a report came out listing the many ways that the film’s behind the scenes turmoil affected the final product. Now, a new report from THR on the making of Men in Black: International has arrived to detail the troubles that movie faced during production, which began back in 2016 when the Men in Black/21 Jump Street crossover project fell apart and Sony decided to just go ahead and reboot Men in Black with new stars instead.
The studio sensed it had an opportunity to reunite Thor: Ragnarok duo Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth together again on screen (and who didn’t want to see that?) with what it felt was a decent script for Men in Black 4 penned by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway.
As “an insider” told THR: “The script was good. You don’t attract Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson if the script isn’t good.”
The wheels started to come off Men in Black: International in its early stages, however, as the man shepherding the film at Sony, David Beaubaire, upped and went to work elsewhere, and Sony (for whatever reason) decided not to replace him. Apparently, this led to a battle for supremacy between Men in Black: International‘s director, F. Gary Gray, and original Men in Black producer Walter Parkes, as the remaining heads.
Reportedly, the script for Men in Black: International was initially “edgier and more timely, tying the story to the current debate surrounding immigration” but Parkes then embarked on a series of rewrites before the movie went into production, and then even during, as ‘new pages arrived daily for the actors, causing a certain amount of confusion, as well as stripping away what some considered the more modern sensibilities.”
During these clashes, Parkes allegedly tried to direct scenes himself, and Gray attempted to quit and leave him to it on “several” occasions, eventually coaxed back by Sony, who, when the movie had finished shooting, showed test audiences cuts by Parkes and Gray, with the former’s version of Men in Black: International being the one we saw in theaters.
“It wasn’t a Dark Phoenix situation,” a Sony studio source assured THR, nixing the idea that any clashing content or lack thereof was key to the movie’s problems. “The studio was an absentee landlord. They were nowhere to be found.”
The Sony source says that ultimately, “The urgency to see [Men In Black: International] was never there, and the movie needed a greater reason to be,” adding that, despite the movie underperforming, “Aliens walking among us is at its core a great idea. Men in Black will be revisited again at one point, either as a series, as streaming, or as another movie.”