F. Gary Gray and Producer Walter Parkes Clashed During MIB International’s Production
On its face, Men in Black: International seemed like it would be a fresh take on a fan-favorite property. It had Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray and a pair of leads who had already demonstrated their chemistry in Thor: Ragnarok. But unfortunately, neither Chris Hemsworth nor Tessa Thompson could save the film. The latest installment in the Men in Black saga opened this weekend to dismal reviews and underwhelming box office numbers. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is shining a light on several behind-the-scenes difficulties that might be to blame for the movie’s subpar performance.
According to THR, the film’s troubles began last summer. Apparently, there were creative clashes between Gray and longtime MiB producer Walter Parkes. Specifically, they had disagreements over the direction of the film’s script.
THR’s sources divulged that Art Marcum and Matt Holloway’s original screenplay played a big role in securing Hemsworth and Thompson’s involvement. The earliest drafts were said to be “edgier and more timely” and drew parallels to the real-world immigration debate. Additionally, “a music group a la The Beatles were to be the bad guys, with four people merging into one villain” at key moments. Parkes wasn’t happy with this, and having final cut, frequently ordered rewrites during both the pre-production and production stages.
Hemsworth and Thompson wound up hiring their own dialogue writers. Things eventually got so bad that Parkes reportedly filled the director’s chair himself on multiple occasions. Although Gray allegedly wanted to quit, producers apparently convinced him to remain with the project.
Hellboy and Dark Phoenix were almost immediately followed by similar reports alleging constant rewrites during filming. However, one source insisted that MiB: I‘s post-production phase “wasn’t a Dark Phoenix situation.” In other words, not plagued by reshoots and delays. Regardless, the creative turmoil clearly affected the film. The dismal response to the new movie means it will be a while before MiB returns to the big screen. But as the report notes, it will happen at some point, just not in this incarnation.
What do you think about Men in Black: International’s behind-the-scenes turmoil? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Recommended Viewing: Men in Black Trilogy on Blu-ray