Men In Black – the sci-fi comedy that offered a generation of 13-year-olds their first meaningful style lesson (sunglasses are COOL) – marks its 20th anniversary this year.
To celebrate this depressing landmark, director Barry Sonnenfeld has made something of a shock announcement: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were not the preferred original choice for Agent J and Agent K.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Sonnonfeld said that the studio and Steven Spielberg wanted Chris O'Donnell (Scent of a Woman, Batman and Robin) to play perhaps Smith's most iconic role, while Clint Eastwood (!) was initially penciled in to play his mentor.
O'Donnell and Eastwood. Just take a moment to consider how unfunny that would have been.
"[Spielberg] told me I had to go to dinner with Chris O'Donnell and convince Chris to be in the movie," Sonnenfeld said. "But I knew I wanted Will Smith, so I told Chris that I wasn't a very good director and I didn't think the script was very good and if he had any other options he shouldn't do 'Men in Black.' He let it be known the next day that he was not interested."
As for the other lead role, apparently executive backing the film wanted Eastwood but again, O'Donnell pushed to pick his own man – the 'very intimidating' Lee Jones – and the rest, as they say, is cool 90s movie history.