That MEN IN BLACK reboot and/or spinoff is definitely happening, and now Sony Pictures and Amblin have zeroed in on a director. Deadline reports that THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON filmmaker F. Gary Gray is in negotiations to direct the new MEN IN BLACK movie, which will relaunch the franchise that began with Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 sci-fi comedy. That movie spawned two sequels, but Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are not expected to reprise their roles in this new film, which will effectively start fresh.
Sony had considered the idea of using this reboot as a crossover film with the 21 JUMP STREET franchise, and indeed James Bobin (ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS) was in line to direct that film. The studio has now tabled the crossover idea in favor of simply making a new MEN IN BLACK movie, relaunching the franchise in the vein of JURASSIC WORLD—so a rebootquel that technically takes place in the same universe, but doesn’t feature any of the same main characters.
Gray has been consistently making hits since 1995’s FRIDAY, but he broke in to the awards realm with 2015’s STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. The critical and commercial success of that movie led to Gray helming the eighth film in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, and now it appears he’s moving to a franchise of a different sort at a different studio. Gray can certainly handle his way around action, and I’ll be curious to see what kind of characters they choose to reboot MEN IN BLACK with.
Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, who co-wrote TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT and PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (yikes), wrote the most recent draft of the script for the MEN IN BLACK reboot, and Sony has already set a May 17, 2019 release date for the film. With Gray in line to direct, the next step will be casting, and this thing will be in front of cameras before you know it.