Will Smith Was Inches Away From Losing $5,000,000 Payday As Steven Spielberg Wanted ‘Batman’ Actor In His $1.9 Billion Sci-fi Franchise

One of his greatest and most popular franchises in Hollywood includes the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones starrer Men in Black film series, which started with the 1997 sci-fi movie. It was followed by two more movies and a stand-alone sequel featuring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. However, the franchise is still better known for the pitch-perfect chemistry between the original stars of the film.

Men in Black

Men in Black

But according to Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the first three films in the series, the Oscar-winning director, Steven Spielberg, did not want Smith to feature in the original Men in Black trilogy.

Steven Spielberg Did Not Want Will Smith as Agent J

Based on the comic book series, the Men in Black franchise follows two secret agents, K and J, who work to save the world from intergalactic disasters. The film starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the lead characters, who reprised their roles under three films till the 2012 movie Men in Black III.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black

The trilogy was highly successful, and fans loved the chemistry between the Smith and Lee Jones as well. However, Steven Spielberg, who was associated with the series as an executive producer, did not want Smith to portray the role of Agent J in the sci-fi film series.

During an interview with Huffington Post, Barry Sonnenfeld shared that the Oscar-winning filmmaker wanted Chris O’Donnell to star in the 1997 movie. He shared that the Indiana Jones director wanted him to go on a dinner with O’Donnell and convince him to be in the movie.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

However, Sonnenfeld wanted the King Richard actor in the film. So he told the Batman Forever actor that he was not a good director and advised him not to accept the offer if he had better options. O’Donnell took his advice and rejected the offer, which eventually went to Will Smith.

Will Smith Initially Turn Down Men in Black

Men in Black has been one of the most successful franchises of Will Smith’s career. However, he was initially not interested in starring in the 1997 sci-fi movie due to one of his earlier movies. The actor opened up about it on his YouTube channel, where he shared that he turned down Men in Black because he did not want to be the “Alien movie guy.”

Steven Spielberg

Will Smith in Men in Black

It was due to his 1996 movie, Independence Day, which also features him going against the extraterritorial. “I had done Independence Day the year before,” he said before adding, “I don’t want to be the alien movie guy. So, I turned down Men in Black.”

Smith then got a call from the director, who advised him to accept the offer, and he decided to star in the 1997 movie. Men in Black would go on to become highly popular worldwide and gross around $2 billion at the box office.

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black trilogy is available on Max.

Source: Huffington Post

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