“Men In Black” Producers Wanted Chris O’Donnell, Not Will Smith, For Film

Director Barry Sonnenfeld admitted that he undersold the film order to get O’Donnell to pass on it. He also revealed how Michael Jackson got a cameo.

Hollywood loves celebrating an anniversary, and this year, Men in Black turns 25. The classic franchise starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as secret agents in a clandestine government organization that hides contact, and cohabitation, with aliens on earth. Audiences worldwide enjoyed the one-of-a-kind comedy films, and to acknowledge the 25th anniversary, Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld is revealing some unknown insights about the development and creation of the movie.

To begin, Smith’s role almost went to Chris O’Donnell, however, Sonnenfeld was sold on the Fresh Prince icon after his wife suggested he would be good for the part. Sonnenfeld suggested that producers were more interested in O’Donnell, so, he agreed to take a meeting. That’s when he undersold the film so O’Donnell wouldn’t be interested.

Neilson Barnard / Stringer / Getty Images

“I met with Chris and he had concerns about the script and had another movie offer. So I told him, ‘Yeah, we might never fix this script and I don’t think I know how to direct this movie.’ So he passed on the movie the next day,” Sonnenfeld told Insider

Elsewhere, Sonnenfeld spoke about Michael Jackson’s brief cameo in Men in Black II, adding that the King of Pop reached out to him for the bit part.

Will Smith
Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty Images

“I wanted to have people up there that made you go, ‘Yeah, he could be an alien,'” said Sonnenfeld, but that isn’t what ended up happening on the big screen. “Well, I was going to make him an alien and he said, ‘No, I want to wear the ‘Men in Black’ suit.’ So we figured out how to do that and it worked out. He was lovely.”

Check out Jackson’s cameo below and let us know your favorite Men in Black moment.


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