Will Smith was already a big star on July 1, 1997, thanks to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bad Boys, and Independence Day. But on July 2, 1997, when Men in Black came out, “Mr. July” became arguably the most famous person on the planet. Smith returned for two more MIB movies, of diminishing quality, but he’s not in Men in Black: International. He and Tommy Lee Jones have been replaced by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, although the worm aliens are back. Half of the film’s reported $110 million budget went towards coffee.
To celebrate the release of International, Thompson wrote a tribute to the original Men in Black, calling it the first movie with a star who she “could relate to. That I wanted to be. @willsmith made it look better than good. He was (and is) singular.”
Here’s the full Instagram post:
I was 14 when the original MIB blew my mind. It was the first time I saw a movie star that I could relate to. That I wanted to be. @willsmith made it look better than good. He was (and is) singular. I have seen this film countless times — and would go back and watch it again while we shot @meninblack. There isn’t one thing I would change about this iconic franchise. It was a real honor to play in this universe and don the suit. Thank you for paving the way, Agents J and K.
I have also seen Men in Black “countless times,” and it’s amazing how well it still holds up. A lot of that has to do with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ chemistry, a clever script, and the dancing lady alien in the “Men in Black” music video. But the secret ingredient that holds the film together? Sugar water.