Will Smith returns with ‘Men in Black III‘
By Rachel Lee
“Men in Black III,” the third movie of this franchise — a decade after its prequel — premiered in Seoul.
Stars Will Smith and Josh Brolin along with director Barry Sonnefeld greeted fans at a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, Monday.
“Anyeonghaseyo,” Will Smith said to reporters, wearing dark blue tweeds and his trademark casual smile. “Anyeong, anyeong, when you are cool,” he said, laughing.
Smith, 43, arrived with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and daughter Willow, Sunday. He said while he was working, his wife and daughter were out for the day in Seoul.
This is his first visit in 10 years. The actor was last here in 2002 to promote the second installment of “Men in Black” (MIB).
“This is the first movie that I’ve completed a trilogy, playing a character three times. It feels like home,” Smith said. “It’s like a warm, family reunion.”
For the third installment, his character, Agent J, travels back to 1969 to stop an alien criminal from murdering veteran Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) who has gone missing. Brolin plays the younger version of Agent K and the two agents must try to save K, the agency, Earth and humanity itself. It also stars Alice Eve and Emma Thompson.
As to why he chose that era, Smith said that it was because of the music.
“I was one in 1969. I think the music of that era in the United States was almost the best. Jimi Hendrix,” Smith said, referring to the legendary guitarist.
For director Sonnefeld, the year 1969 is “a special time to go back to,” because humankind “first stepped off our planet onto another planet, the moon.”
As for why it took so long since “Men in Black II,” Sonnefeld said that the studio and the production team waited until they came up with something new, unique and unusual “to give you the familiar but really reinvent a new way in as well.”
It was Smith who came up with the idea, the director added, describing the actor as someone with “way too much energy.” Smith suggested this movie should be about destruction.
Indeed Smith energetically led the conference, wowing the crowd with his jokes and laughter. Brolin and Sonnefeld also showed quick humor and wit.
For Brolin, it was his first visit to Seoul and Asia. The actor said he plans to work with famous Korean director Park Chan-wook in October this year to star in a remake of the award-winning film “Oldboy.” He also praised another well-known Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho, for his work “The Host,” which he said was incredible and the most successful movie here in Korea.
“He is one of the greatest film directors, obviously not only in Korea, but ever,” he said when asked about his first impression of Park.
“I have a huge amount of respect for him. I am amazed at how humble he is,” he added.
Sonnefeld pointed out the main differences between the predecessors and the sequel. “MIB” introduced the concept and more comedy elements were put in the second sequel. What Sonnefeld emphasized about “MIB III” was “more action, aliens and magic.”
The three said that they chose to visit and have the world premiere in Seoul because of the impact and the potential of the Korean movie market. “Korea is a huge growing market in the film world and it seemed like a perfect place to begin,” the main character said.
Will there be a fourth installment? Sonnefeld joked that “MIB IV” may come two decades later, by which time Smith will be 63.
“MIB III” a 3D production and is slated for worldwide release on May 24. The original “Men in Black” was released in 1997.
The writer is an intern for The Korea Times.