Alec Baldwin Out and Other Issues Surrounding Men in Black III
Posted 03.16.11 by Ryan
The many delays for the upcoming Men in Black III have caused Alec Baldwin to leave the production. "I'm not doing that. I'm out of it; the schedule didn't work out," Baldwin recently told Vulture. The actor was set to play the boss of the 1969 MiB in the time traveling sequel, and his exit is just one of a few frustrating issues surrounding the movie.
Originally set to start shooting in September of last year, the first delay pushed the start date to mid-November, seemingly to take advantage of "recent changes affecting New York State film incentives." In mid-November, a day after shooting began, Sony announced that, starting in December, the movie would undergo a two-month hiatus and resume in February, allowing screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour 3) to rewrite the script.
In February, instead of resuming production, Men in Black III was again delayed until March 28, with reports later revealing that screenwriter David Koepp was being brought in write the sections of the script that had not yet been shot, specifically the time-traveling scenes. Somewhere along the way, Baldwin jumped ship, perhaps due to scheduling and perhaps for another reason as well: there was no script.
THR reports that Men in Black III went into production with an unfinished script, shooting the first third of the script during the November to December production month. The initial draft was written by Tropic Thunder screenwriter Etan Cohen, but, according to the report, producer
Walter Parkes, Will Smith, and director Barry Sonnenfeld all wanted to change the script.
With the New York film incentives nearing a possible end, the decision was made to start shooting and allow Nathanson to rewrite. The problem was, Nathanson didn't deliver a script that was deemed acceptable, so Koepp was brought in. According to Sony spokesman Steve Elzer, Koepp has already delivered a script that he wrote in close participation with Sonnenfeld. THR's source says this was done because Koepp did not want to work with Parkes, a producer with a reputation for being difficult with screenwriters. The situation has reportedly led to a conflict between Sonnenfeld and Parkes, one that Elzer denies.
With production beginning again later this month, the question remains whether Sonnenfeld and company can deliver a satisfying movie that was made in such a fractured way. "It's hard because you're locked into the beginning of the movie," said THR's production source. "It creates problems that are just kind of crazy."
Not so crazy that it won't make its May 25, 2012, release date, and, hopefully for Sony, continue the financial success brought by the first two movies.