In the wake of the triumphant triumph of Independence Day, Will Smith was in high demand. The actor, having successfully transcended his television origins as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, had navigated the challenging leap to becoming a bona fide film star, a feat that often proves insurmountable.
Smith’s subsequent significant venture was Men in Black, a science fiction escapade loosely adapted from Lowell Cunningham’s comic book series. Smith was cast as the dashing yet slightly out-of-his-element leading character, tasked with sharing the screen with a more restrained, seasoned actor. This collaborator turned out to be none other than Tommy Lee Jones.
In the narrative of Men in Black, the trajectory centers around Will Smith’s character, NYPD officer James Darrell Edwards III. His life takes a drastic turn following an encounter with an extraterrestrial criminal. Subsequently, he becomes the focal point of Agent K’s attention, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, and is invited into the enigmatic fold of an organization known as the Men in Black. Assuming the moniker Agent J, Edwards embarks on a mission alongside Agent K to oversee the activities of extraterrestrial beings residing on Earth, all while meticulously safeguarding their existence from the general population.
Naturally, this arrangement translated to Smith and Jones sharing close quarters for a substantial portion of the filming process. Yet, as director Barry Sonnenfeld attested, their dynamics were harmonious. “They loved each other,” Sonnenfeld mentioned. The rapport between the two actors was flourishing smoothly, apart from a solitary scene that stood out as an exception to this overall harmony.
Initiating a tale that ventures into intriguing territories, Sonnenfeld remarked, “Will has really nasty farts.” From here, he delved into a specific scene where Smith and Jones maneuvered a car upside down within a tunnel. This sequence involved an elaborate 10-minute setup just to ensure their secure positioning in the vehicle. We finally got it upside down; we’re ready to shoot. We hear Will say, “Oh, Jesus! I’m so sorry, Tommy. Guys, get us out of here! Get us out!” Jones, maintaining his professionalism, reassured that all was well and continued with the scene before promptly making his exit.
Amidst the comedic episode and the noteworthy endeavor of having to extensively rework the film’s script post-filming, the crafting of Men in Black progressed with a remarkable degree of ease. Jones, however, encountered a minor hurdle at the outset. He grappled with comprehending the reason he couldn’t engage with any of the wisecracks emanating from Smith’s character, a puzzle that added a touch of complexity to his role.
Having attained contentment from Tommy Lee Jones and rectified the script, the movie continued on its trajectory to achieve resounding triumph. This success paved the way for two sequels featuring Smith and Jones, each of which garnered favorable reviews.