“We went into the project knowing the deep affection we and the fans have for Will [Smith] and Tommy [Lee Jones],” executive producer E. Bennett Walsh said of the original franchise stars who headlined the Barry Sonnenfeld-directed trilogy between 1997 and 2012.
“The first three pictures are very dependent on Will and Tommy’s particular chemistry and on the comic approach that Barry brought,” added producer Walter F. Parkes. “So we knew we needed performers with these vivid personalities and an inherent rapport, and luckily we could see the seeds of that in Thor.”
Thompson’s newcomer agent Molly serves as the story’s “driving force” — and the series’ first leading Woman in Black — whose life has been forever altered following a dramatic encounter with the shadowy government organization tasked with protecting the Earth from extraterrestrial threats.
Teaming with Hemsworth’s “legendary” Agent H, who is “one of the greatest to ever wear the suit,” Parkes explained, the newly minted partners must then face a new enemy: one that has infiltrated the MIB from the inside.
While Agent H and Agent M may have some growing pains to work through, the second teaming of Hemsworth and Thompson couldn’t be less rocky.
“I didn’t think we’d be back together so soon,” Thompson said, having played the tough Valkyrie and new ally to Hemsworth’s Thor in Marvel Studios’ 2017 blockbuster. “I thought we’d probably both be in capes. So I was like, ‘We’re in suits?’ But it’s such a joy to work with him. And it’s nice to know that people like seeing us together.”
The globe-trotting sequel, directed by The Fate of the Furious’ F. Gary Gray, is as much a sequel as it is “a sort of reinvention, an opening up of the original franchise that aesthetically is a lot different,” Hemsworth said.
Though Thompson and Hemsworth tested their mettle in Ragnarok, stunt coordinator and second-unit director Wade Eastwood said the stars had to adjust to the Men in Black franchise’s style of action choreography.
“I’ve seen the crossover from the Marvel world,” Eastwood said.
“Occasionally Chris might reach his arm out and expect a hammer to fly in, but that’s about it. He’s been drifting cars on this and doing all sorts of things that are completely different than anything he’s done before.”
Hemsworth admitted to forgetting Agent H is unlike his Asgardian Avenger, a super-powered demigod who once wielded the mighty hammer Mjolnir over in Marvel’s Avengers franchise.
“Thor’s stunts are wildly complicated, but it feels like an atomic bomb goes off with each of those [hammer] hits. Everything is sort of magnified to a level that is so nonhuman,” Hemsworth said.1comments
“Whereas this, we have to keep grounding it. There’s always a part of it where I’m like, ‘Can I do a flip or just sort of leap from this building to that one?’ and they’re like, ‘Nah, humans don’t do that sort of thing,’ [laughs]. So they have to rein me in occasionally.”
Men in Black: International opens June 14.