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Exclusive Interview with 'Men in Black 3' Director Barry Sonnenfeld


Director Barry Sonnenfeld and Will Smith on the set of Columbia Pictures' 'Men in Black 3'

Director Barry Sonnenfeld and Will Smith on the set of Columbia Pictures' 'Men in Black 3'

Photo by Wilson Webb, © 2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reunite for the third time to play Agents Jay and Kay in Men in Black 3, the 2012 sci-fi action comedy about a secret organization charged with managing alien activity on Earth. It's been 10 years since Smith, Jones, and director Barry Sonnenfeld last got together for a Men in Black movie, however the basics of the story remain the same. Smith and Jones are partners, aliens are causing trouble, and the Men in Black must save the planet. Setting this film apart from part 1 and part 2 are the added elements of time travel and 3D.

Sitting down to discuss his third Men in Black film, director Sonnenfeld (who has a cameo in the film, as expected) talked about getting back into the swing of things and making this third film the first of the series to be in 3D.

Barry Sonnenfeld Men in Black 3 Interview

Are you editing faster now and packing more in than the previous Men in Blacks?

Barry Sonnenfeld: "No, I don’t think so. This film is the longest of the three Men in Blacks. The first one I think was like 88 or 90 and the second one was shorter, and this one’s like 97 or something without credits. We’re definitely not editing faster. It feels a little more dense than the others in terms of scenes and all that, but I think that might have something to do more with the sort of psychological feeling about it because of the time travel, as opposed to anything we’re doing."

It feels as though MIB3 is more densely full of material.

Barry Sonnenfeld: "It’s very weird. It feels that way but it doesn’t have many scenes, if you think about it. In the second act, there are these very long scenes. Men in Black headquarters, the neutralizer room, the bowling, and then you’re at Warhol’s for almost 10 minutes and your film is heading into the third act."

There is more action. Did you want to make this more of an action movie than the first two?

Barry Sonnenfeld: "I felt that over the last 10 or 15 years since we started the franchise that movies have changed to a certain extent, and we thought we wanted more action. I think that we thought that we...'we' meaning the studio, the producers and I and Will...all felt we wanted a little more action than the first two. The second one had very little action, so this one has a little more action. I wouldn’t call it an action movie though."

At least in that if it’s playing with the cop movie genre, this one has the gunfights and chases.

Barry Sonnenfeld: "Yeah, the first one had a little bit of that. Men in Black 3 definitely has more action than probably the first two combined. I would say that."

Do you have any say in how 3D is exhibited, RealD versus XpanD?

Barry Sonnenfeld: "I don’t have any say in that specifically, but if you want to get technical, what I discovered researching it is that in Europe, there’s a lot more XpanD theaters than there are in America. I was able to convince Sony to create two prints: a RealD print and an XpanD print. So in foreign countries that have a majority of screens in XpanD, we’ll be showing in XpanD. I think there are advantages to both. Then the third thing is IMAX, which is more like RealD in that it’s a silvered screen with passive glasses."

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The cast of Men in Black 3 also includes Josh Brolin (as a younger Agent K), Emma Thompson (as the new head of the agency), Alice Eve (as a younger version of Thompson's character), and Jemaine Clement (as the main alien bad guy). MIB3 hits theaters on May 25, 2012.

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