‘Men In Black’ Star Will Smith’s Energy Needs To Be ‘Harnessed’

'While I'd be turned here directing Josh Brolin, Will Smith would be punching me in my kidneys,' 'MIB3' director Barry Sonnenfeld says.
By Kara Warner

Will Smith in "Men in Black 3"
Photo: Columbia Pictures

No matter what you love most about the "Men in Black" franchise, the most compelling aspect of the sci-fi/action films — despite all their otherworldly and impressive visual effects — is the charm of their star and all-around likable actor Will Smith as Agent J. The former "Fresh Prince" is known for being a ball of excitable, positive energy on set, but according to "Men in Black 3" director Barry Sonnenfeld, sometimes that energy can get a little dangerous.

"Usually, while I'd be turned here directing Josh Brolin, Will Smith would be punching me in my kidneys," he told MTV News recently. "In fact, at the end of this movie, I went into the hospital because Will had torn my rotator cuff. On 'Wild Wild West' he broke my hand in five places, so Will's gotta have his energy harnessed a little bit, at least when he's working with me. I don't think he ever went around punching Michael Mann [who directed Smith in 2001's 'Ali'], let me just say that."

We then asked Sonnenfeld if there were any repercussions for Smith with all this on-set abuse.

"I told him that if he didn't stop hitting me that I would direct 'Men in Black 4' and hire his son to play young Agent J," Sonnenfeld joked. "So maybe that will make him calm down a little bit."

It should also be known that Smith's acting skills were a little rusty when he arrived on set to begin work on "MIB 3," which required some lighthearted finessing from Sonnenfeld and extra practice from Smith.

"On the first day of photography, we filmed Will on a blue-screen stage having to jump down [from the top of the Chrysler building], and what was great about it was that he hadn't acted in three years and was really bad," Sonnenfeld recalled of one of his favorite moments during filming. "Luckily, we cut out the bad stuff, but that first take we did after he hadn't acted in three years, I was sweating because he was no good. After I yelled, 'Cut!' Will said, 'Baz, I can do better! I'm really terrible. I haven't acted in three years, I'm really rusty!' And within a day or two, it all worked out fine. But man, it was interesting. You know how they say 'Once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget?' Well, Will forgot how to act for the first day or two. Luckily he wasn't acting with other actors or it would have been really embarrassing."

Check out everything we've got on "Men in Black 3."

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