In the third installment of the sci-fi franchise, “Men in Black 3” centers on Agent J who transports himself to the late sixties and teams up with the younger Agent K (played by Josh Brolin) in order to protect the galaxy, and K, from a terrifying alien threat. During the roundtable we got the chance to speak with Tommy Lee Jones about being in the “Men in Black” franchise, working with Will Smith again and directing more in the future.
Agent K gets to show a little bit of his softer side in this film, especially around Will (Smith).Â Were you happy to see that you and Will were going to have a scene where it didn’t involve your character being so gruff for a change?
Tommy Lee Jones: I keep hearing the word “gruff” and I simply try to play the screenplay as it’s written. But I had a good time, yeah. Every scene, every day, every minute is fun with Will.
How quickly did that chemistry that we see as an audience between you and Will onscreen happen? Was it in the first scene you guys did in the first film or did you have to figure it out in development?
Tommy Lee Jones: Both. I mean he’s a very good actor, he’s a fine actor, and we developed a rapport right away and became friends as time went on.
Is there something you know you can draw out of him that’s going to play well if you have a certain instinct towards what you’re going to do that’s going to provoke a great response out of Will?
Tommy Lee Jones: No, not really. I don’t think we do anything by instinct. I think birds fly south by instinct but we don’t make movies by instinct. We work very hard.
It seems to me that either doing a franchise or a sequel to something that you need to be talked into. Is there a character for instance that you’ve done that you’d like to return to?
Tommy Lee Jones: I can’t think of any character that I’ve done that I’d want to return to and I don’t have to be talked into doing a sequel. I simply have to be convinced that it’s worthwhile and that it pays very well.
Can you talk a little bit about working with the updated special effects in the movie and Rick Baker’s work, how it’s changed over time with the franchise?
Tommy Lee Jones: It wasn’t no different than any other experience of shooting a scene in “Men in Black.” You point the ray gun and imagine that there’s an alien there and that he explodes into a blob of goo because you know that’s what’s going to happen. So it’s simple once you learn how to do it.
Rick’s work is spectacular and original, fun to watch. On the set you see a lot of really interesting special effects makeup and creatures that are just really fun to look at, to interact with or to not interact with. Whatever they motivate. It’s a really beautiful box of toys.Â I appreciate the work of the highest quality when it comes to making them.
Because you’ve had a really expansive career, do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything you want or is there something you still wanted to do?
Tommy Lee Jones: No, I haven’t accomplished everything I’ve wanted. I want to direct a bunch of movies, act in a bunch of movies, write some from now on.
“Men in Black 3” is out in theaters now, presented in 2D and 3D.