Ready to feel old? July 2nd marks the 20 year anniversary of our introduction to Agents J and K, and the revelation that aliens do, in fact, walk among us.
Men In Black was a massive box office success that went on to inspire 2 sequels, a cartoon series, and a wave of sci-fi comedies through the late 90s and early 00s. In honor of this awesome movie, take a look at some interesting facts about it!
1) Will Smith didn’t want to take the role
He almost turned down the role of J, but his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, convinced him to take it.
2) Vincent D’Onofrio did a lot of research for his role
He did this by watching a lot of bug documentaries. In order to achieve his character’s weird, unsettling walk, he put on knee braces so he couldn’t bend his legs, and taped up his ankles.
3) The MIB sunglasses sold like crazy
The signature glasses of the Men In Black are the Ray-Ban Predator 2s. With the release of the movie, sales of the sunglasses tripled, earning over $5 Million.
4) Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones almost weren’t J and K
Both Chris O’Donnell and David Schwimmer were asked to play J, while Clint Eastwood was asked to play K. How different would that movie have been?
5) It also almost had a different director
Before Barry Sonnenfeld was tapped to direct, both Gremlins director John Landis and Quentin Tarantino were offered the chance. We can’t even imagine what a Tarantino version of this would look like.
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6) Its thoughts about space are surprisingly accurate
BadAstronomy.com, a website that critiques the depictions of science and astronomy in films, has said that the science of the film is actually fairly accurate.
7) It’s based on a comic
That’s right! Men In Black was based on a comic series of the same name by Lowell Cunningham. It was originally published by Aircel Comics, who were eventually bought out by Marvel, who have held the rights ever since.
8) It convinced Marvel to adapt other comics into movies
After the massive success of Men In Black, Marvel began to shop their stories to other studios more actively. This would soon lead to the X-Men films from Fox, and the Spider-Man films from Sony.
9) The ending was super expensive to film
The giant Bug they fight at the end was originally animatronic, but was replaced with an even bigger CGI Bug. The new Bug took 45 CGI shots to film, at a cost of $100,000 per shot. Director Barry Sonnenfeld referred to this as “the best $4.5 Million we ever spent.”
10) Not even the cockroaches were hurt while making the movie
The American Humane Society was adamant about ensuring that no creatures of any kind be hurt during filming, and ultimately they got their way. In the scene where Will Smith steps on cockroaches, he’s actually stepping on packets of mustard.
Happy 20th birthday, Men In Black!