Back in late 2014 when Sony Pictures became the subject of a major computer hack, a bunch of projects in consideration or development at the studio were exposed in the ensuing public scandal. No film caught more people’s attention though than early talk of a proposed “Men In Black” and “21 Jump Street” crossover film.
Ultimately the studio abandoned any such idea, but it remains one of the more talked about ‘might have been’ film projects of the past two decades. With “Men in Black International” hitting cinemas this week, that franchise’s producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes have been out doing press and recently talked about what the plan was. For MacDonald, she tells CinemaBlend that part of the draw was to work with ‘Jump Street’ duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller:
“Chris and Phil are maybe the only people… because we love this franchise, and at the moment I think for us to even say ‘Okay’ to that was a big deal. But we love them! They’re amazing. We were a little stalled on another project – we had this initial impulse, and we were having trouble getting a script ‘there.’ We thought, ‘Oh, they’re brilliant.’… It was one of those things, because usually we all tire of everything trying to be made into a franchise, but to us it was actually such a crazy bold idea that’s also the reason we said yes. It was just a crazy impulse that was worth exploring.”
MacDonald adds a deal that was struck gave them the option to back out once a script had been written. Chris Miller and Phil Lord started working on combining the two worlds with help from “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” co-director Rodney Rothman.
It didn’t go as well as hoped as “it didn’t quite get there” she says. Parkes then explained that upon further consideration, they realised each series generated its core sense of humor from very different sources:
“After we got into it, I remember, I think [Laurie MacDonald and I] had this conversation: They are at, their heart, opposites. In other words, Men In Black comes down to taking extraordinary situations and playing them in a comedic deadpan way. Jump Street is taking very recognizable genre situations and going over the top with them. And, actually, that doesn’t mesh. It was a good intention, and everyone was smart, but when you really step back and look at what’s at the heart of either of those two series of movies, they’re not very compatible.”
Instead, “Men in Black” went the spin-off direction on its own with ‘International’ this week. That film is slated to open in cinemas on June 14th.