Men in Black: Synopsis

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K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) are a pair of elite cops monitoring alien activity on Earth for an agency that doesn't officially exist -- the Men In Black, providers of intergalactic immigration services and regulators of all things alien.

While investigating a series of unregistered close encounters, the MIB agents uncover the deadly plot of an intergalactic terrorist who is on a mission to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. In order to prevent worlds from colliding, K and J must track down the terrorist before the earth is destroyed in the bargain -- just another typical day for the MIB as they protect our planet from the scum of the universe.

Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino), New York City's Deputy Medical Examiner, is unwittingly drawn into the plot while investigating a spate of unusually dead victims.

Columbia Pictures presents Men in Black, scheduled to open July 2, 1997. Based on the Lowell Cunningham comic book series, Men In Black is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld with Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald producing and Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. The screenplay and screen story is by Ed Solomon. Special visual effects technology is being crafted for the film by Industrial Light & Magic, and Academy Award®-winning special make-up effects artist Rick Baker is the designer and creator of Men in Black's menagerie of alien creatures.

In the summer of 1992, producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald optioned the graphic novel from a little-known comic book series entitled The Men in Black. They were attracted to the comic's premise because of its human protagonists doing battle with the extraordinary in our everyday world.

"The interesting thing about many comic book properties is that they're generally about creatures," says Parkes. "But with Men in Black, we had these extraordinarily cool agents, G-men types who use human strength and intelligence to battle alien creatures." he says.

The idea that the Men in Black really exist is based on an urban legend created by individuals who claim to have had encounters with aliens only to have mysterious men in black appear at the scene and cover-up the incident. When director Barry Sonnenfeld, a native New Yorker, first read the screenplay for MIB three years ago, he was immediately struck by the humor of this story and the challenge to direct a film unlike anything he's done

"I loved its sensibility," he says. "And I've always believed deeply in my heart that we as humans really don't have a clue about what's going on. I wanted to make a movie that in a light and fun sort of way shows us that perhaps we really are clueless."

"The story really ponders the existence of a whole other reality that's around us that we're totally unaware of, so that when you walk out of the movie, you might very well look at the world in a different way," says Parkes.

Celebrated for his wry and sophisticated humor in movies like The Addams Family films and the recent comedy hit Get Shorty, Sonnenfeld's talents offered the perfect combination of style and humor for creating Men in Black.

"There really isn't anyone else like Barry with such keen comic sensibilities and great visual style," says Laurie MacDonald. "Barry's a sophisticated director who knows how to have fun in a smart way."

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are the Men in Black. Jones plays Agent Kay, a world-weary founding member of the MIB poised to train his new partner J (Will Smith).

"It's always about the cast and the words," says Sonnenfeld. "Tommy Lee and Will are perfect for their roles. All the director has to do with good words and the right cast is maintain a consistent tone to the film."

The casting of Tommy Lee Jones plays right into Sonnenfeld's kind of comedy. "Tommy is a wonderful anchor for the film as an actor who isn't a comedian or known for comedy roles but plays them masterfully," notes MacDonald, "and Will brings complete authenticity to a comic role."

Sonnenfeld, Parkes and MacDonald are supported by an impressive production team including cinematographer Don Peterman whom Sonnenfeld worked with on Addams Family Values and Get Shorty, production designer Bo Welch, set decorator Cheryl Carasik, costume designer Mary Vogt and editor Jim Miller who is working with Sonnenfeld for the fifth time after outings on Addams Family Values, For Love or Money, The Addams Family and Get Shorty.

Visual effects supervisor and 2nd Unit Director Eric Brevig from Industrial Light & Magic and Rick Baker, a three-time Academy Award® winner for special effects make-up are also on board to create the unique worlds of the MIB past, present and future.

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