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Things Get A Bit Heated Between The Infamous Billy The Kidd And Director Barry Sonnenfeld When They Talk MEN IN BLACK 3



Normally this would be the place where I’d introduce my interview subject and run off a list of their career highlights, with a few lows thrown in for balance, to give you an idea as to their contribution to cinema over the years. This would be the spot for me to tell you about Barry Sonnenfeld and how he began as a cinematographer for the Coen brothers, serving in that capacity for BLOOD SIMPLE, RAISING ARIZONA and MILLER’S CROSSING. He was also the cinematographer on such films as BIG, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…, THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN and MISERY before making his feature film debut as a director with the big screen adaptation of THE ADDAMS FAMILY and later its sequel. He was also at the helm for GET SHORTY and WILD WILD WEST. Between those pictures, he was asked by Steven Spielberg to direct MEN IN BLACK, where he stayed in the director’s chair for its sequel five years later and now its revival 10 years after that for MEN IN BLACK 3, his first film since RV in 2006.

However, to stick to that formula would indicate to you that my talk with Barry Sonnenfeld went swimmingly, which isn’t exactly what happened. In fact, to tell you the truth, I don’t really know what happened other than him getting heated about a particular line of questioning.

For the record, let me just make it clear that this interview was not meant as any sort of hatchet job against Barry Sonnenfeld. After not being a fan of the previous installments of the MEN IN BLACK franchise, MEN IN BLACK 3 is one I would actually recommend others to see, as I enjoyed it a great deal (and my review reflects that). In getting on the phone with Barry to talk about the film, I planned to ask him about the progression of Will Smith as an actor, the casting of Josh Brolin, the makeup of Rick Baker, and, of course, the fact that MEN IN BLACK 3 went into production with an unfinished script. It should have been easy, but that final point is what Sonnenfeld took exception to.

I’m not even sure how this went up for debate. It’s no secret that scripting issues on MEN IN BLACK 3 caused the film to go on a several-month hiatus right in the middle of production. Barry Sonnenfeld admitted as much in an interview with Empire (via The Playlist), where he said,  "We knew starting the movie that we didn't have a finished second or third act. Was it responsible? The answer is, if this movie does as well as I think it will, it was genius. If it's a total failure, then it was a really stupid idea." Sounds like an unfinished script to me.

I was wondering why, after a development period of eight years with no real movement towards making a MEN IN BLACK sequel, would suddenly the third film be rushed into production with a less-than-ideal script. If Sony had waited that long, what was a little bit longer to make sure the film was done well?

That’s right about where Sonnenfeld got a bit defensive – referencing films like SPIDER-MAN, TITANIC, BATTLESHIP and AVATAR as movies that may have seen some trouble along the way to getting made – and the conversation got heated. It was a fair question, and the rest is what it is. 

The Infamous Billy The Kidd: Hey, Barry. How are you doing this morning?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Good. How are you? Can you hear me? I’ve been having… Some people feel that this connection is wacky.

The Kidd: It sounds a little bit muffled, I think.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Yeah, it’s literally a corded phone in a hotel room.

The Kidd: Actually you sound okay right now.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Okay, let’s try this.

The Kidd: Okay, so it’s been ten years since the last MEN IN BLACK sequel hit theaters. Why is it now that you think it’s the right time for the crew to kind of get back together for at least one more go around?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Well in terms of why it took so long, that’s a question you have to ask Sony, because they are the studio, but if you’re asking do I think it’s a good time for it, I do. I think that people like this franchise. They miss it. Will Smith hasn’t been in a movie in four years and they miss him. Even though we’ve not been around for ten years, I think even young kids who weren’t born when the first one or even the second one came out have seen it a million times on like DVD and cable and satellite. So I don’t think we have to reeducate our audience and I also think weirdly, because we waited this long and also because our plot is different than the first two, because the time travel. Somehow the whole thing, for me at least, feels fresh and although not a reboot, but almost as if we rebooted the franchise.

The Kidd: To bring up reboots, it’s a little bit strange that now you have films that ten years ago… they'd maybe be getting rebooted or remade or redone, so do you have to try to make sure to stay true to those roots from the original two films while also trying to maintain some kind of freshness to it?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Yeah, it’s why I think it actually isn’t a reboot, because one thing we didn’t want to do is lose what I think and what many people think is our best weapon in the franchise, which is the chemistry and relationship between Agent J and Agent K, played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. So even though we go back in time, into 1969, Josh Brolin is playing a young Tommy Lee Jones. We made sure that Tommy was in the entire first act, so that the audience is reminded how much they love that relationship.

The Kidd: I know it’s been pretty widely known about the script issues that you had heading into the film, so my question is you started filming in 2010, which is at that point still about eight years since the last film. So you have a lot of development to try to get this right. Did you have any say with how the film was progressing forward and knowing that going into production you didn’t have a finished script? Or was this kind of the studio’s decision to, you know “This is the time we are going to make it and that’s the final say"?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Well you just said, “It’s pretty well known what was going on with the script,” so can you tell me?

The Kidd: That you started shooting, I guess, without a finished script.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Well that’s not true, so let’s go on.

The Kidd: You had a complete script going into production?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Yeah. Every movie has a complete script when they go into production. Changes are made on every script, except one that I worked on, while one shoots, but you could not ever start a movie without having an entire script. How do you budget it? How do you know if you’re ever going to make it? How do you know how many days you need to budget it or when you need actors? I mean I’ve heard from so many people that I started this movie without a finished script and no matter how many times I say “Are you insane? Do you know how to make a movie? Do you know how hard it is to make a movie and budget a movie?” So I’ll tell you what we had. We had a finished script… Every film I have ever done has had a finished script. We had a great first act, which was all of the stuff with Tommy Lee Jones. We had a great ending, which was all of the stuff around Cape Canaveral. And we had scenes in the second act where Will meets Josh then they go on these capers and so then what happens is we have the scenes, we have a finished script, but it is not a script that we think is the number one answer for the best movie possible. Let me say this, on the first MEN IN BLACK we shot all of the script and two weeks before we locked the picture to record the music I changed the entire plot of MEN IN BLACK by changing scenes and dubbing them into alien languages and putting them into subtitles on them and putting different information on that big board in the Men In Black Headquarters, but who cares? The movie is not better or worse now that you know what I just told you, that I changed the plot of MEN IN BLACK one two weeks before we locked picture. So in the case of MEN IN BLACK 3 we had a complete script, but we knew there were scenes in the second and third act that were not the number one answer. In some cases we may have had to lose them because of budgetary reasons or not having enough days to shoot them or having to wait, because we delayed the start of production to get the weather right… So now we had to delay, because I didn’t want the movie to be totally stage bound, so we also had to take a hiatus to continues to work to make those scenes better, but also to wait for weather so that we could go outside and shoot some of New York City with leaves on the tree. I never feel that MEN IN BLACK is a winter movie. For me it’s always been a summer movie, but for instance we could have shot that first draft and then what we would have done is assembled the movie and then had an eight week additional reshoot. I mean there are movies that are coming out this summer that have had reshoots that extended way beyond our hiatus, except our hiatus didn’t mean that we were shooting scenes twice at twice the expense. So the only thing I want to say is I don’t understand why this is a story since it doesn’t affect the viewers viewing of the movie and I’ve never read any worse press in the press for TITANIC, so just help me understand what makes it a story for this interview, so I can better help answer the questions for your readers.

The Kidd: No, I think it was more a matter because of the fact that things went on hiatus, there winds up being this connotation that goes along with it that a film might be in trouble at that point because it’s struggling to, I guess, find its footing, which is why I wanted to ask you about it, to I guess give you the forum to clarify what it was that was going on with the production at that point in time.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Well the movie’s out, so now you get the chance to say “The movie is in trouble, because it stinks” or “The movie isn’t in trouble and you should go see it.” So I don’t understand why the process of getting to the final result is a story once you have the final result. That’s what confuses me.

The Kidd: It’s more just a question of the filmmaking process and how you got to that final product.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Got it. Okay, got it. So answering that question… I don’t get involved in the sort of first draft of the MEN IN BLACK movies. I was very involved in the first movie. In fact when I started the first movie, the first Ed Solomon draft didn’t even take place in New York. It was underground in Lawrence, Kansas. It was in Las Vegas. It was in Washington D.C. It was in many other cities, but it wasn’t in New York and when I came on one of the first things I said was “If there are aliens on the planet, they would live and exist in New York, because it’s the one place on Earth where they can walk around often without any disguise,” because if you spend any time like in Times Square in the summer…

The Kidd: Yeah, you’ve got some interesting people walking through there.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Yeah, you go, “Alien. Alien. That whole family, they’re all aliens…” and after two years of not being able to get the script to where I thought it should be to make the movie and after seven years trying to get GET SHORTY made, which by the way we didn’t change a word of dialogue in those seven years, I finally got a studio to make GET SHORTY. I left MEN IN BLACK, did GET SHORTY, they hired another director for MEN IN BLACK. They then fired that director, then I asked the President of Sony at the time of production if he was interested in my coming back. We worked on the script some more, got it to be in New York, changed the plot, eventually started to make the movie, but I would have said between the time on that between the first time and the second time it was a three or four year process before we ever made the movie to get that script right. The difference was we didn’t take a hiatus. So on MEN IN BLACK 3 a script was developed, there were things I loved about it, the emotion, the time travel… but there were specific things where the budget was too expensive. We had whole sequences that we realized we had to cut out, which meant changing the plot, because there were certain tent pole sequences that were going to cost six million dollars or something. We had to lower the budget and on top of that we need to start, as you said, was November or December of 2010 for two reasons. One is we were not sure if New York state was going to repass a tax investment credit and by starting on that date it guaranteed us to be in the previous pool, which was going to represent tens of millions of dollars, which buys you a lot of hiatus. Secondly, Will Smith was circling several movies and Amy Pascal, the chairman of the studio and I both felt, and I think Will agreed, but I can’t speak for Will, that we wanted his first movie in four years to be MEN IN BLACK and not for another studio. You know, Sony has a big business with Will Smith, so we knew we had this great story. We knew we had a great first act and a great ending and we knew we had a whole script, but just some of the scenes were going to have to be lost for money, some scenes felt duplicated, some scenes we didn’t feel had enough action, but its all stuff… You know movies is a very plastic medium, things are always changing and where you think your problem is it isn’t. It’s just the nature of these movies and then you’re combining genres. You’ve got a MEN IN BLACK genre, which has certain requirements, and you’ve got time travel, which requires really specific rules that have to be set up for an audience. They have to understand them. You can’t cheat on them. You can’t kill the wrong guy first. You can’t suddenly have a great scene but suddenly realize, “Oh wait a minute, if he’s there, then where’s that guy?” And sure, you always want to start a movie wit ha perfect script and the lowest budget possible, but that’s like saying “How come you shot a master, over the shoulders, close ups, and insert and did sixty-two takes of the master, but you never used the master at all in the scene?” It’s just the inefficient nature of movies. It’s just a wacky thing that happens.


The Kidd: To expand upon that point, how much flexibility do you then have to make changes along the way knowing that you have this time travel story locked in? There’s a very delicate and careful balance to making sure that works, because you have these very fine details that all have to connect and if any one of them drops off, then the movie or the plot will kind of crumble underneath that, because at that point, like you said, then you’re “cheating?” So how much flexibility do you still have built into this script to work around these really fine details that you have to nail exactly?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Well you have a lot of flexibility, because you can get a clue from 15 different aliens in 15 different scenes and so “What’s the best way to get the clue?” “What’s the funniest way?” “What’s the way that shouldn’t be funny, but should be scary?” “Which scene should it follow from?” “Where should it go to?” So there’s flexibility in the script stage to figure all of this out, but the truth is as long as you figure it out before the film comes out… Look, to me writing about the process is kind of… I don’t want to say “naïve,” but I want to say that if you interviewed the next thirty films that are going to be released you would find out that there are thirty different versions of the same story that you’re writing about here.

The Kidd: Okay.

Barry Sonnenfeld: You know, you can write a story about SPIDERMAN, BATTLESHIP, AVATAR… TITANIC… Every movie I’ve ever directed. You can say “Why would it take the studio seven years to do GET SHORTY if you didn’t change a word?” “Why did Tri-Star Studios have a huge deal with Danny DeVito and Danny DeVito was one of the stars and had a big production deal on the lot and was also producing the movie, “Why couldn’t they see that GET SHORTY was a good movie?” I don’t know.

The Kidd: Well let me ask you about Will Smith and the process of working with him now on three movies in this series. It seems like there’s a bit of maturity now to the character of Jay. In the very beginning there’s kind of this, not immature, but there’s a certain shtick I guess that comes with Will Smith’s character to a point that seems to be a little bit lessened this time out. I’m curious if that’s just a natural progression that you see with the character. Or is it really a maturity of Will Smith the actor? Or is it a kind of combination of both that I guess ties into where we see Jay this time out?

Barry Sonnenfeld: Yes. Will is 15 years older and I felt that it’s not funny for Will to, let’s say strap himself to a monocycle or the jet packs and 15 years ago he would have gone “Wooooooo,” you know? We had it and we looped it and I just felt it’s just the guy’s 42 years old and 15 years ago J was a rookie and hadn’t experienced any of this before and I think it would have been desperate to have Will at the same level of exuberance and energy as he was when he was 27 years old as he is at 42, both not only is he older as a person, but because he is now experienced as Agent J - 15 years of seeing aliens and being attacked by aliens and almost getting killed by aliens. So it’s not blasé and it’s not laissez-faire and he still has to be… in his DNA he has more energy than Agent K and more sort of outrage, but it’s got to be a different performance or it’s kind of goofy. So that’s where that comes from.


The Kidd: Also I mean you have Josh Brolin here who is spot-on, I think, as a younger Tommy Lee Jones. So how does the process go in picking Josh Brolin? Did you try to find somebody who you thought would be the closest, as far as Tommy Lee Jones? Or did you go out and say “This is the best guy for the job” and I guess hope that his work becomes Tommy Lee Jones?

Barry Sonnenfeld: No, that’s easy. I read the script. I saw there was time travel, that there was young Tommy Lee Jones and I called the studio and I said “I want Josh Brolin..” I had seen Brolin in W. and I thought his performance was spot on perfect, because although he sounded an looked like George W. Bush, it was not an impersonation, it was an interpretation and he became that guy and you just bought into the whole movie that he was that guy, but what was great was that I wasn’t saying “Yeah, I think in that scene his accent didn’t quite sound like George Bush,” because he wasn’t. He was playing a guy he created and the thing about… So A.) there was that. B.) Brolin has a very strong resemblance to Tommy if you look at Tommy’s photos like when he was a football player at Harvard and stuff he looks very much like Josh. So there was that. I had met Josh a couple of times at various events in one year when I was sort of on an awards circuit for PUSHING DAISIES and he was on the awards circuit for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, so through the Coens we met a couple of times and I liked him. Finally what Josh was going to have to do as young Agent K was totally get Tommy’s syntax and rhythm and Tommy’s voice is very melodic. It actually has a lot of movement. People think his performance is very flat, but his tonality is very musical and moves and some times he ends a sentence softly or goes up on certain words. So not only did Josh have to nail that, which I knew he would, but young Agent K is different than old Agent K. They are the same guy with the same genetics and all of that, but young Agent K needs an arc what we have is that young Agent K has much more romanticism and also much more optimism than present day Agent K and over the course of the movie, and I hope you don’t write about this, he discovers why he lost his optimism and what changed him at the end of the movie without telling what the specifics are. So now Josh and I are constantly talking about how different and how similar he should be than Tommy and what you don’t want is for him to be so happy that he’s like a different guy and then the audience says “I don’t know. I don’t like this movie anymore. I mean the chemistry was between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, now they bring in this new guy and it’s deadly.” Will Smith and I always felt the only way for this movie to really screw up would be if the audience got pissed at us that Tommy wasn’t in the whole movie and the truth is although Tommy isn’t in the whole movie, Agent K is in the whole movies and you start to forget and stop thinking “Old K, new K,” you just think “Agent K. Now he’s younger. Now he’s older” and that’s the true brilliance of Josh’s performance, just like in W. it’s not an impersonation, it’s an interpretation of Tommy, but it’s so spot-on you think you’re watching one guy the whole movie and Josh was totally my idea. He’s the first person I went to. He didn’t audition. He came in. He met us once and I offered him the job and was thrilled that he said yes.

[The two are notified there is time for one “really quick” question.]

The Kidd: Okay, you are a big proponent of shooting on film and not necessarily doing it digitally. Does that really factor in to the choice of whether or not to shoot it in 3D or to convert it?

Barry Sonnenfeld: There were many reasons. I think conversion looks better if you know what you’re doing. First of all, you can’t shoot on film and Rick Baker’s alien makeup looks much better on film than digital. Second of all, because I used very wide angled lenses… the physical matte box on this reality or pace rigs are too big for the way I shoot, literally too big. They will not accommodate a 21mm lens the way I shoot and by using wide angle lenses I feel that I’m inviting the audience to feel like they are in the room with the actors. It’s a subliminal thing. If you look at let’s say Michael Mann or the Scott brothers movies they use much, much longer lenses. We sort of see opposite ways. Their movies are fantastic and beautiful, but they tend to I think unconsciously distance you from the actors a little bit. It feels a little bit more like reportage and by using wide lenses I feel the audience unconsciously feels they are in the room with the actors. So therefore because I wanted to release this movie in 3D, it was my idea. By converting it and shooting with these wide lenses, the actors, if you see the movie again, even just in a scene like Will and Josh in the diner, they are actually in front of the screen and not behind it. The thing that drives me crazy about most 3D movies is because they have to set intraocular separation ahead of time. Almost all the depth in 3D movies on native 3D movies is at the screen and at the screen or behind it and I find it very distancing and I wanted my movie to be very immersive, so everything is slightly in front of the screen and if we had more time I could give you many, many other reasons, but because of the nature of the way I shoot… I shoot on axis. I never pan. I use wide lenses. I was the perfect guy to shoot a movie to be released in 3D that was converted and I honestly believe that as 3D technology is, that MEN IN BLACK 3 in 3D is right now the best use of 3D of a movie that’s been released in the last several years.

The Kidd: Okay. Barry, thank you very much.

Barry Sonnenfeld: You betcha’.

The Kidd: All right. Thank you.

Barry Sonnenfeld: Bye.



Soon after we hung up, I heard from Barry’s publicist. He must have gotten word out quickly that things got a bit contentious during our call, and they were trying to see if I had any more questions for him that weren’t able to get answered. There were maybe one or two, as I always over-prepare and hope to get to most of it, but, with no plans to change the interview from being published as it was, I told them I didn’t think it would make much of a difference to the tone of the interview and how things played out. They insisted on trying to get back on the phone with Barry, and I agreed to see if we could make it work in order to get a little more information from him. In the end though, our schedules didn’t match up, and the interview was officially done.

Barry Sonnenfeld has a good film on his hands with MEN IN BLACK 3, and I’m not entirely sure why he chose to deny how it is that he got there. For all of the issues that arose in making the film, the ends justified the means. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting it, but during our talk, Barry did. At that point, just own the path you took and talk about it. Otherwise, this is what should have been a rather pleasant interview turns into.

MEN IN BLACK 3 opens in theatres today, May 25.



-Billy Donnelly

"The Infamous Billy The Kidd"

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 25, 2012, 6:32 a.m. CST

    I'll pass,...

    by Kevin

  • May 25, 2012, 6:40 a.m. CST

    Can we get the audio?

    by Franky_Four_Fingers

    Can read where he gets a bit defensive but would love to hear this to understand just how pissy he gets. You should have read his quote about an unfinished script back to him as a basis for your question and let him talk his way out of it.

  • May 25, 2012, 6:40 a.m. CST

    The Kidd

    by double_ball_hanger

    Sometimes you seem like a prick and sometimes you seem alright. I'll say, though, that regardless of my opinion of your interviewing technique and reviewing style, it's a necessary breath of fresh air for this site.

  • May 25, 2012, 6:43 a.m. CST

    A tired sequel in a tired franchise.

    by MaxDembo1

    The second one was so bad I'm surprised they even bothered.

  • May 25, 2012, 6:58 a.m. CST

    Interesting the haters who haven't even seen it...

    by DellsDontBounce

    I did see it, it was a fresh take, and the audience I saw it with absolutely loved it. I walked out ready to see it again. Not every film can be Avengers level, but MIB has ALWAYS been about J and K and their relationship, and they've always done a great job with it.

  • May 25, 2012, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Good interview

    by robertdee

    I don't think he came across that bad. Sounded like he was expressing his point of view clearly. Of course, without the audio, its impossible to judge his tone but it felt honest. Then again, I'm British and we use the word 'cunt' as a term of endearment.

  • Better than entertainment tonight type twaddle. look to the community internal press help story to see what this interview could have been. It`s also probably stressful and irksome after spending a year making something for people to come along and seemingly snipe at it. It`s one of those questions that can seem have have an agenda even when information is the only desired result. It`s modern social interaction get used to it like I can`t.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:12 a.m. CST

    maybe your're both right and its a matter of interpretation

    by rakesh patel

    he's right you have to plan the budget and the schedule, if you have set piece you need to plan to ge there and make sure you can shoot. Maybe he didn't see it as a script "problem" he knew what he had to film in his minds eye. he had the set pieces and the scenes already set-up and organised to be shot. and maybe he realised that the scenes in between would go like he expected once he had given his input to the writers. that's where experience plays it part. if you're a rookie you haven't got experiences to fall back on. If you have the experience you'll realise that things dont go according to plan, nothing is black and white, and you'll have to calibrate to reach an equilibrium accordingly.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:14 a.m. CST

    No thanks.

    by Grrrr....

    That is all. Sorry Barry but you won't be seeing my money. MIB2 sucked. Plus, I will never forgive you, just saw you made RV. And I won't even mention Wild Wild West.... Fuck you Barry!

  • May 25, 2012, 7:15 a.m. CST

    so to barry a finished script

    by JAMF

    is one which has a good beginning and a good end and a bunch of crap in the middle - but hey it's finished so let's start filming! some time later... we need to shut down production and sort this shitty script out, guys! but i'm so glad it was finished before we started shooting or we'd be in real trouble right now!

  • May 25, 2012, 7:23 a.m. CST

    ^ thats exactly why he got defensive in the interview methinks

    by rakesh patel

    he didn't want people thinking the script wasn't finished when it was filmed and therefore it was shitty and hacked together at the last minute and therefore a turkey. in nerd terms its like a time paradox whereby you create the accident you're meant to travel back to prevent.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:23 a.m. CST

    to be fair to sonnenfeld

    by notspock2

    I've read a couple of interviews that have focussed on the hiatus, and he's probably aware that it's VERY easy to spin that into "the movie is a dud". If you were the third or fourth person to ask, it would only be natural for him to get a bit fed up with setting the record straight. Also I think he's quite right that it's not actually important in the grand scheme of things. - If the movie is good. Good interview nonetheless. Have heard enough good things about the movie that I'm actually going to see it now.

  • Seriously! That guy really needs to come back to earth, Best 3-D movie? uh, no, sorry mac. I'm sure it's good but MIB has never been 'the best of the best, of the best' "With Honors"! Sorry maybe i'm being too harsh, but The Kidd is right, that interview should've gone less awkward. It just really sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder and when Billy asked him the question he just verbally spewed all over him. Not cool in my book. You got an issue talk to your therapist for $2,000.00 an hour. What a doosh! -Rex

  • May 25, 2012, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Sounds like someone needs to get laid!!!

    by Stephanie Ann Diaz

    He needs to CHILL!!! The question was not offensive at all and he should not have taken it so negatively. >.<

  • May 25, 2012, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Why Exactly Is Billy The Kid Referred To As "Infamous"???

    by Graphix67

    Did I miss something???

  • May 25, 2012, 7:30 a.m. CST

    it's a typo

    by JAMF

    "unfamous" LOLZ!

  • May 25, 2012, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Casablanca (production without a script)

    by ME_M

    I thought "Casablanca" was being written, scene by scene, as the shooting was going on. In particular, they didn't have an ending in mind, until the last moment. Which makes it a minor miracle how well the story holds together.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:33 a.m. CST

    infamy infamy

    by rakesh patel

    everyone's got it in for me /apologies to Frankie Howard.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:38 a.m. CST

    His instincts are right

    by schnipple

    why does it matter? These blogs, sites, constant second guessing, idolizing, then hating, debating about budgets, casting, box office, nitpicking casting choices, color schemes on posters, all this constant analysis and judging every aspect of every concept or script or idea becoming a film, then shooting a film, then marketing a film, then making money from a film, then glorifying the film or burying the film IS NOT REALLY CONDUCIVE TO CREATING AN INDUSTRY THAT TAKES CHANCES OR FOSTERS FILMMAKERS WITH UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES OR VISIONS. It's getting ridiculous.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:42 a.m. CST

    It did not seem that heated to me Kidd

    by Russell

    I know I have given you shit on here on the past but that was a solid interview. What I did NOT appreciate was Barry's pathetic backpedaling about the script and production problems on MIB3. He admitted himself that it was a troubled film numerous times and trying to obtusely retcon that now is absurd.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST


    by Russell

  • May 25, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST

    mr_x_ that would be Kenneth Williams

    by pearlanddean

    from Carry on Cleo as Caesar. However both Frankie and Kenneth were comedy geniuses, the like of whom have not graced UK films or TV for some time.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    I think John Carter put the fear into everyone.

    by knowthyself

    In terms of talking too much ahead of time about problems and then having it hurt the box office.

  • A truly underrated and great film.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    THe KIdd


    Right or Wrong...I like your style...because you havent sold out, and your not selling a bad movie because your friends with the Director, or studio. Idont put much into a lot of reviews on this site anymore, because Ive seen too much selling, I really just want the real story. Not everybody can be the person everyone loves Kidd. Some have to be willing to stick to their guns no matter what,

  • May 25, 2012, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Good interview, fair questions.

    by JP

    Kidd - good work.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:51 a.m. CST

    This movie was going to get made, with or without a script.

    by SoylentMean

    I think a lot of the box office predictions for this have been skewed way too low. Sure, people will continue to go see The Avengers, but A LOT of people are going to be seeing MIB3, worldwide.<P> While it could be a POTC4 type of scenario (where it makes way more $$$$ overseas), I still think this movie is a contender for being one of the top 5 (in terms of box office) for this year.<P> It doesn't hurt that it's getting positive reviews, either.<P> You might want to get an objective opinion on the audio of your interview, Kidd, as it very well could have been your tone that set Sonnenfeld on edge. People misinterpret tone all the time.<P> Otherwise, yeah, it's kinda odd that he didn't own up to what seems like a verifiable issue.<P> I guess now you know every interview won't exactly go according to plan.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST

    "Heated" is unreasonably charged for what went down.

    by jonathancaltman

    The guy took you to school a little bit on the tropes of movie reporting. After getting a question that's been asked to him countless times on this movie. What he says about budgeting and planning is true. Take a class on scene breakdowns to find out how insanely detailed the planning is for this stuff. They end up affecting changes of their own once everything in the script is laid out in a spreadsheet. It seems he took umbrage with the nature of reporting on MIB3. And on this site? You guys aren't invisible, and you've definitely had it in the shit pile. Of course, he went way over keel into the "mind your business and eat the meal!" sort of thing, and I think you did a fine job directing him back to the curiosity of the process. But this is what happens when you create an environment like the one online now with movies. John Carter was a 'failure' before it opened, that sort of thing. Take some responsibility. And give the guy some credit for spreading actual information about the process we're all so supposedly curious about. Heated or not, it was valid.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST

    That's considered a Heated exchange? Really?

    by DingFriesAreDone

    I think Billy is being a little thin-skinned about this. At no point did Barry become insulting or facetious. Just because he disputed your interpretation of the process, that causes you to classify him as being defensive and heated? After attempting to make him seem like an irrational and confrontational prick in this piece, I honestly think you owe him an apology but that's up to you. Going forward, if you are going to get this sensitive every time you have a disagreement with a filmaker then I do not see you conducting many more interviews in your future. Writing a piece like this will be counter productive for your reputation.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST

    The MIB movies all need an extra 20 minutes.

    by knowthyself

    I just hate how rushed they feel and then part 2 was just total crap.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Has he never heard of AICN?

    by cool_britannia79

    Talkbackers love the process, of course we want to know how what we see came to be. He really should know better.

  • May 25, 2012, 7:59 a.m. CST

    I live my life with without a finished script

    by Spandau Belly

    a quarter mile at a time

  • May 25, 2012, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Yeah this was not "heated" , way overblown

    by Monolith_Jones

    Unless he was a screaming his answer at the top of his lungs. That headline and intro may get him heated now though.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Brolin is definitely a young Jones. Who is a young Smith?

    by UltraTron

  • May 25, 2012, 8:06 a.m. CST

    This interview makes Kidd look like an ass...

    by Jayemel

    "I hope you don't write about this." (Kidd writes about everything Sonnenfeld asked him not to write about.)

  • May 25, 2012, 8:08 a.m. CST

    ultratron SPOILERS

    by Xen11

    watch the film and you'll find out

  • May 25, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST


    by Judge Briggs

    I absolutely agree. The movies are far too short. When you have a movie that has a running time of 1 hour and 15 mins ... you really can't delve into the universe or characters.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST

    didn't read that contentious to me.

    by j_difool

    i've met some real hollywood assholes. i was prepared to hate on this fucker, but this didn't seem so bad to me. grow some thicker skin.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:17 a.m. CST

    This was a tremendous interview

    by Sam

    Well done Kidd.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:17 a.m. CST

    If you're going to ask controversial questions

    by Mondo_dismo

    That's fine, but maybe next time you should try to build some rapport before launching into script problems (your 3rd question by the looks of it). This is aicn, not 60 minutes.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Suggestion for The Kidd

    by chris

    I noticed that you hit this peckerweed with tough questions right off the bat. Maybe you should consider a series of fluff questions with which to begin in order to warm up your subject. Remember, this is entertainment and not Watergate...

  • May 25, 2012, 8:21 a.m. CST

    not really as 'heated' as I thought it would be

    by Titus05

    'heated' would have been if he hung up on you...or met you face to face and punched you...this sounds more like a minor disagreement

  • FACT. He was a porn cinematopgrapher/cameraman.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Great interview

    by flax

    It's really refreshing to see someone confront a filmmaker with some serious criticism rather than feeding them the typical questions that invite the usual marketing drivel in response.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:31 a.m. CST


    by Robusto

    I always thought he got a raw deal on Wild West. Its no worse than any of the MIB films. Which I never cared for. It always surprises me when younger people have fond memories of the MIB series. I always saw it as a wasted opportunity that we never got a serious film on the subject. I don't blame him for being annoyed. The press loves a bomb. He will always be a genius for his work on the three Coen films. His Adams Family was way ahead of its time. But I never got into hi

  • I still don't really understand why J's father left his Son alone in the car on the beach.. while he, assuming he's off-duty, helped the Men in Black, while in full uniform. <P> Yes, Yes. A lot of excuses can be made, but you know the whole scene felt tacked on even though the film was leading up to that ending.. BECAUSE IT WAS TACKED ON. <P> Even still, some funny bits are to be had. I personally love the Andy Warhol part. There are some good solid beats in MI:3, even if the whole is extremely sloppy.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST

    So the theme song to this film is "Back in Time" by Pitbull

    by Wilford_Brimleys_Diabetes_Rage

    so im guessing this song is referncing going back to a time before everyone knew Will Smith was as gay as Richard Simmons eatin a pink ice cream cone on a big pile of sugar.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:40 a.m. CST

    @pearlanddean - i stand corrected good sir.

    by rakesh patel

  • May 25, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Fair questions

    by tomdolan04

    but the hiatus issue issues concerning script quality are all speculation on part of desperate journos desperate to hypthosize. Barry does have far more experience in the process of actually, you know, making movies that journos sit and bitch about so he was right to get pissed off when he's hit with speculation that are only grounded in half truths and guesswork

  • May 25, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST

    I think Kidd was just the victim of other people's lazy reporting.

    by blackmantis

    Barry probably got tired of hearing stories focused solely on MIB3 being a 'troubled' production and thought Kidd was going for the same angle. Once he figured out Kidd wasn't some shlocky magazine reporter and didn't have an agenda, he chilled out.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Great Cinematographer

    by Samuel Fulmer

    He was awesome (see early Coen Bros.). As a director he's done one truly great movie (Get Shorty), one decent movie (Men in Black), bits and pieces of a good movie (the Addams Family films), and the rest has been shit (Wild Wild West, RV, Men in Black II, etc...etc...etc..).

  • May 25, 2012, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Its like if you had a meeting at work

    by tomdolan04

    and a random guy comes up to you in the pub later to say 'geez that meeting was shit wasnt it mate'. Youd be like 'who are you. Were you there'?

  • May 25, 2012, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Subtlety, Kidd, subtlety.

    by originalmemflix

    It's a good interview (though you should've had the quote you referenced in the prelude during the interview to firm up your question). AICN seems to be struggling, so I guess if you have something, even a small disagreement, you have to dress it up and sell it for page hits, but it would've been more on-the level if The Kidd had let it play without post-commentary, and just allow the readers to make up their own mind about Sonnenfield's position. Instead, right off the bat, I already think he's an ass with getting to make up my own mind about it. Just wish AICN wouldn't buy into the 'if it bleeds, it leads,' media mindset.

  • May 25, 2012, 8:59 a.m. CST

    This isn't fucking Watergate

    by matthooper8

    Why needle Sonnenfeld like you are trying to uncover some coverup? It's a comedy about aliens not a government conspiracy. Is hard journalism really what is needed?

  • May 25, 2012, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Kidd you were being a loud obnoxious white guy.

    by knowthyself

    Too easy.

  • Seriously, I thought this would be much bigger news. As you can see, the reporter is NOT in fact, trying to kiss Will on his =mouf=, as Will insists. He's simply doing the European greeting of kissing on both cheeks. Not really an appropriate thing to do, granted, but not worth getting HIT over! Jesus!

  • May 25, 2012, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Saw it today

    by SminkyPinky

    A pretty worthy sequel. A few problems here and there but it's pretty good. Go see if you liked the first one. Forget the second one.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Maybe defensive, but fascinating information

    by ShifuPoBoy

    Okay, maybe Barry got a bit defensive in some of his answers, but what he did say was fascinating about his perspective on films scripts and making films. I appreciated the long paragraph where he talks about Men In Black I as well as the current film. It's not that often, these days, that fillmmakers are willing to talk about the problems behind their films, especially if they don't do well at the box office (though I do expect MIB3 to do pretty well). And I did like Get Shorty a lot, too. On a slight tangent: This week I watched the Blu-Ray of This Means War, a film I didn't get to see in theaters. It's a rather stupid film, but very nicely shot. And the commentary by McG on the extended cut is also fascinating because he describes scenes, angles, shots, and plot points that he's unhappy with or didn't get the way he wanted to. There's not a lot of talk about how the film started out in script form and morphed in the filming, but it's similar in a way to Sonnenfeld's insights in the interview above.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Wow, a real interview. Congrats, Kidd

    by disastermag

    Minor quibble: don't just say "okay." It sounds either passive aggressive or just passive. Anyway...good job.

  • That would have explained some of that nightmare. How does Barry Levinson keep getting handed tentpole projects?

  • May 25, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Good interview, but

    by SenatorJeffersonSmith

    It didn't seem all that contentious. Sounds like he's just gettin the same question over and over and doesn't understand the fascination. Either way, it got a good answer out of him.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    lmao - gotta love awkward interviews

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    or at least interviews with awkward moments........afterward I'm sure both guys were still thinking about the weirdness from earlier - but both tried to move on with other subjects. Kidd - be honest - were you still thinkign about the awkward moment throughut the rest of the interview? lol was there a point during him babbling on & on where you just wanted to interrupt and say HEY ASSHOLE GO FUCK YOURSELF and hang up.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    He thought we missed Will Smith?

    by alienindisguise

  • May 25, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Kidd, I think you kinda suckerpunched him, but he did overreact

    by Jaster Mareel

    Int he end we got a really interesting extended response that showed us the inner-workings of getting a film made that we otherwise would not have had. The downside is, Sony may be reluctant to have to conduct any more interviews for their films.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:32 a.m. CST

    I'm not so sure he denied anything...

    by Tom Fremgen

    He may have been talking off the cuff in Empire, and heard how people were making a big deal about it, and want to clarify that- it wasn't that they didn't have a script, they just started shooting before everyone was happy with every scene. Doesn't sound too outlandish to me. He did seem to get quite bothered by the question though. Saying he didn't understand a question about making the product when the product was finished- huh? Isn't that every interview? I guess we'll never know if he was just having a bad day or some sort of studio spin was in play.

  • The interview still came out well and informative, and it's not like either one of you comes out of it looking like a dick.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST

    by Rob Taylor

    I think it's a fair question... The problem is that the junkets have been so tepid for so long that people get caught out when a real question gets asked. They are so used to it being cleared what can and can't be asked etc that they have become hypersensitive. Some in Hollywood roll with those kind of questions, some get pissy... This reminds me of the Eddie Murphy "You presume too much" thing... It's refreshing to see a director questioned, perhaps Sonnenfeld should be more concerned how the script issue stories got out rather than needling the guy asking about them...

  • May 25, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Come to think of it, I'm surprised Sonnenfeld didn't start crying...

    by PotSmokinAlien

    ...when the first MIB came out, I read an article about the making-of in Newsweek, and the first thing it talked about was how Sonnenfeld cries at the drop of a hat.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Sonnefeld always seemed like a douche

    by gridlockd

    I tried to listen to his Wild, Wild West commentary. He also as a really annoying nasal whine.

  • May 25, 2012, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Good interview

    by mastermold

    You asked good questions and didn't softball anything. As I think someone already said, he may have not been prepared for a serious back-and-forth and instead thought it'd be a goof-off interview. Also, from what I've read over the years, Sonnenfeld has had a reputation for being difficult. I'm sure if you had been interviewing someone like say Spielberg or Cameron, they would have been willing to explain the process, instead of getting defensive.

  • May 25, 2012, 10:10 a.m. CST

    BLAH BLAH blah blah blah BLAH

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    Who gives a fuck...i just got from seeing it and thought they got just about fucking right,best in the series(not hard that mind as the first is to short and the second stinks) it had some great moments and you could tell Tim Curry was really enjoying himself

  • May 25, 2012, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Kidd, you're a piece of work

    by Apocalypse_Pooh

    Your aticle begnis about how you'd start the article if you're following a formula, and then you follow the formula you describe. Then you stumble on your shoelaces talking to one of the more mercurial and angtsy directorial talents in Hollywood (Sonnenfeld broke down in tears during an exec meeting on the first ADDAMS FAMILY movie, he's famous for being a bit of an angsty control freak). Did you really not know that Barry can be so quick to emotion? And did you really not know that no major film is made without pre-pro budgeting, and all films have a finished script prior to principal photography? Did you really not know that all films face revisions during production, and that lensing is only part of the creative process? It's no wonder the man inferred you were naieve, and this is just one example out of many articles. If you want to be a great film journalist, you actually need to get your hands dirty and make some movies. Then you understand films in ways beyond that of, say, your average high school or college newspaper critic. Film journalism isn't a cult of personality, it's reporting, like sports journalism. If you don't get that, then you're not a journalist, you're a blogger.

  • May 25, 2012, 10:17 a.m. CST


    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    Apparently it wasnt Tim Curry is was Jemaine Clement (im staggered i was certain it was Curry)

  • May 25, 2012, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Re: Good Thing You Didn't Ask Him About ...

    by ArmageddonProductions

    ... having a complete nervous breakdown on the set of THE ADDAMS' FAMILY (Google it). Guy seems a bit high-strung to be a director, but, eh, it's Hollywood.

  • Honestly, he directed the movie, all movies go through changes, and because you've read a rumor that there was no finished script you feel the need to badger him on it, then post online that he must "own up" to it? Boils down to the fact that he is a Hollywood director with limited time and he is giving an interview to someone named "The Infamous Billy the Kidd"...PR is the only reason he didn't hang up on you one would think.

  • May 25, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    pack_jalance is Right...

    by Read and Shut Up

    ...Bill is overselling his influence/importance here. You're not writing for CNN or Time or something. You're writing for the site whose owner once compared watching a movie to getting a clit licked. I doubt Sonnenfeld's people are losing sleep over the fact that you and he had an (extremely) minor dustup over a point that, from the looks of it, was a fragment of the entire interview.

  • May 25, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    you're being a dick again

    by purplemonkeydw

    he's right that most films go through multiple revisions even during shooting. probably wouldn't have gotten rough if you didn't phrase it as 'it's been pretty widely known'.

  • May 25, 2012, 11:05 a.m. CST

    that's not even confrontational...

    by simonpod

    The tone may seem a little less than perfectly pleasant - maybe to a nervous terrier of a corporate publicist wrangler - but it seems to me that Sonnenfeld tried to genuinely talk about the script process, and answer your questions. Most of the people on this thread only watch films, talk about them, consume them: they don't actually make them, and no matter how many "special features" you watch on blu-ray or DVD, you basically know jack shit about the movie-making process until you make one. Billy, don't pretend this was more heated than it needed to be. You're still new at this game but you're honestly not a Capone of Moriarty yet, and you need to not manufacture this kind of faux friction. What did you expect him to say?

  • May 25, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Any guy who wears a bright green cardigan sweater one day

    by Snookeroo

    and follows it up with a cowboy hat the next is not likely to be too daunted by the opinion of an on-line blogger.

  • May 25, 2012, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Better interview than it could have been.

    by adeceasedfan

    I don't think he was ready for the tonal shift, but he didn't seem irate. I feel once he realized you don't work for Parade magazine it worked out well. And we got more insight about the process. Totally agree with those who said the first were too short. That always irked me as well.

  • I can remember reading on Dark Horizons way back in 1999 that The Matrix was to blame for all the negative buzz around Wild Wild West. Why? In his estimation, a rabid test audience thought for sure they were going to see The Matrix, but saw Wild Wild West instead and were so mad about that they just trashed Wild Wild West for the sake of it. I remembered looking forward to seeing Wild Wild West but all the negative buzz changed my mind. When I saw parts of it on HBO, I was glad I skipped it. I just think that Sonnenfeld has a big chip on his shoulder. He probably feels undervalued or something. But let's face it, he has a few clunks on his filmography as a director. Big Trouble and RV weren't exactly critical successes and neither was MiB 2. He probably figures MiB 3 is his last chance at theatrical success, since he's been doing nothing but TV for the last several years.

  • jeez this guy has range.

  • Hello Star Wars (1977) being the perfect example (and thank god they did because the original script and the original cut were disasters according to the multiple behind the scenes stories. many films just shut down for months UNLESS they have zero budget (like Orson Welles' Euro phase)...not many. Romero's Dawn of the Dead is the only one that comes to mind, and from what I understand that had to do with the logisitcs of working in an actual mall. Let's face it, something wasn't right with the direction the film was going in. Did it help it, well the reviews indicate it's better than the forgetable Men in Black take that for what it is.

  • May 25, 2012, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Good for you though Kidd

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Compared to most of the interviews around here, like the pathetic one done with Michael Mann a few years back, you actually did ask more than just mere softball questions. Hey maybe we should get you to interview John Landis and actually ask about the Twilight Zone accident, or maybe actually get Spielberg to at least say something about Poltergeist.

  • May 25, 2012, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Or to put it another way

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Your interview didn't consist of oh I love your you like movies...have you seen this movie or that movie.....I interviewed you three years ago for about two minutes do you actually remember me or the conversation we had?????

  • I think there's a lot of misunderstanding. Like he said he changed the entire plot of MIB1 two weeks before music was added. You hear that, you think he's nuts. Then by "changing entire plot" he means the aliens don't speak English and the boards are changed. I'm assumign the means that he said something to the extent of changing the entire second act, but in reality they probably just changed the dialog in most it and added some extra product placement.

  • Live and learn. Good recovery from a sensitive exchange.

  • ...Because we're movie buff's man. that's why I've watched every single minute of the 60 hours of bonus material on my Alien Anthology box set. We dig movies, we love watching movies, we like buying books, watching documentaries and reading articles about a movies production. Look at the success of the Lord Of The Rings production diaries. Only bit of his response that struck me as "niave" as he puts it. The rest was fine, he was responding honestly, if a little defensively

  • the question was totally appropriate - guess ya struck a nerve with Barry.. heheh. Great interview.

  • Either that or he's just REALLY chatty and defensive and The Kidd happened to catch him in an irritable mood. I guess since the guy's got a wife and a kid, the latter reason is probably more probable, but you never know...

  • May 25, 2012, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Probably more accurate*

    by Riley Harrison

    Damn redundancy

  • After reading your comment I think I'm better for skipping the interview. Sounds like a douche was being interviewed by a turd sandwich.

  • May 25, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Kidd: False Premise

    by FloatingHolmes

    As he says, no studio starts filming without a completed script. And almost no movie finishes filming without production rewrites. You can't honestly say he "denies" how he made the film. He explains it perfectly clearly and accurately. Your attitude from start to finish seems bent on painting Sonnenfeld as irresponsible. If you want to call MIB3 a movie that started shooting "without a finished script" then own the fact that, by your definition, almost every movie starts shooting without a finished script. It's a false premise based on a too literal interpretation of the words "finished script". Production rewrites are the norm. If MIB3 set a new record with the number of pages they rewrote, you should have phrased your question accurately about that. As you put it, you basically told him to admit he was irresponsible-- intentionally or not.

  • May 25, 2012, 2:37 p.m. CST

    what an asshole...

    by la te ral us

    that bit at the end about the 3d, come on! he's the perfect person...not james cameron, not ridley scott, not george lucas...yeeeeaaah riiiiiight. barry sonnenfeld, here's your sign (palms forehead)

  • Imagine you're being interviewed about your own kid, and the question comes up, "So I understand that during the early years, you had some slip-ups as a parent that might have impacted the end result of your child's development. Care to comment?" Its very hard not to come off as defensive in a response to that - this is how I read Mr. Sonnenfeld's comments in this interview. Clearly, he loves the film making process, and good for him for being paid to be in love. You have to allow him that reaction because (a) its very very human and (b) we all would do the same. In fact, I probably would have bared my whole ass and just hung up the phone. But he's a pro. AND TO BOOT, his publicist called you back and wanted to make sure that YOU were happy about the interview, and to make sure that YOU were okay with how it went down. He easily could have dismissed you as an internet man-child and never gave you a second thought. To that I submit that Mr. Sonnenfeld is a true class act.

  • May 25, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Great interview

    by Paul Paradis

    Fantastic. So this is the douchebag that is responsible for that abortion known as Wild Wild West.

  • May 25, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Barry opened the door for the question with his Empire interview

    by Mace Tofu

    Why he would wonder why the question would be asked at all? Barry said the script was unfinished himself. Good interview but Barry should have let it go after his first response as to most here it is old news and we don't really give a crap at the end of the day. To have his people call after the interview for damage control shows he was still letting this question piss him off. Barry should go back and read his Empire interview. Be pissed at yourself. As to his porn days nothing wrong with good lighting in a porno, did he work on stuff like Cafe Flesh or trashier videos? I may have seen some of his work and not know it : )

  • May 25, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST



    Kidd should end every interview with...<p> "HEY ASSHOLE GO FUCK YOURSELF" and hang up on the interviewee, then he really would be infamous.

  • May 25, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CST

    The Kidd always seems to be on a witch hunt

    by Finn

    So I'm not sure I take this interview as concrete without hearing the tone. it's sort of like The Kidd vs. the theater texters, except this time a bigger fish. maybe i'm being unfair, and if so I apologize. I just feel that the kidd is overly aggressive in his opinions and pushes them down throats around here.

  • May 25, 2012, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one here who loved MIB 2?

    by DanielnocharismaCraig

    The second one had a sense of humor to it that seemed to elude the first one. Plus Jones and Smith just really seemed to gel in the sequel. But then again, I'm the only one I know who loved Freddy Got Fingered.

  • May 25, 2012, 6:01 p.m. CST

    The Kidd...

    by micturatingbenjamin

    Well, if I were to approach Rob Liefeld and interview him about drawing comics, and I asked a question like -- 'Why don't you know how to draw feet?' It's a question he's probably heard a million times, what's worse, is I'm a professional illustrator, but I'm not widely known -- I'm not exactly a peer, but the guy KNOWS I'd love to be -- so I come to him with this question without even prefacing it with something like 'There's a rumor going around, and I'm sure you've heard it, that you don't know how to draw feet. What's the deal, there?' All of a sudden, I'm asking the question, and I can follow up with straight 'net hater questions, but this first one makes him think that I'm going to get his side of it. This read like Kidd wanted a fight about this flick. The fact that he likes it, kinda makes me think this was the design here, to make it an issue between him and a director, to make it a story. Infamous Billy the Kidd --- I never heard of you before you started promoting yourself as such. (This is a lack of my knowledge of you, not saying you didn't earn the title). This will help make you infamous, though. People will know that you will ask snide and direct questions without fear of reprisal -- then say that the film you're asking about is really good. (Even when it seems like all other folks are calling it crap) Wish I were a reporter for AICN. That'd be killer, pissing on a director to his face, then salving it all over with a 'this movie's great' after using the argument as fodder for pageviews. I'm a little jaded, I guess.

  • You couldn't pay me to watch that in 2012... Script or no script...

  • May 25, 2012, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Have to say the kidd sounds more like the ass to me

    by brechtsky

    Sonnenfeld gives long thoughtful answers that make you look, as he put it, naive.... Also, you make the controversy SOOO much greater than it is with the title, comments, etc... ps, his comments about the 3D were very interesting to me, and spot on.... although I don't mind the 3d being convex, so to speak, as much as I mind shots designed for 3d, aka to fly in your face... They always take me out the moment, and seem super gimmicky and cliched....

  • May 25, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Ps meant concave....

    by brechtsky

  • May 25, 2012, 6:42 p.m. CST

    I like it when 3D comes right up and licks my asshole

    by UltraTron

  • May 25, 2012, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Whatever, I will see it in theaters. I liked the last two.

    by Chaz

  • May 26, 2012, 1:29 a.m. CST

    What Sonnenfeld says makes complete sense to me.

    by Muldoon

    I can't help but think if JAWS were made today, Spielberg might be asked before the film's release -So it's a well known fact that you tried to make a film without a working shark and had horrible freak scheduling issues.- That might not be the best comparison, but I really do think the end product should speak for itself. It's similar to famous folk on perezhilton, where people get so wrapped up in wanting to feel like they know what's going on that they end up beating the thing to death before it has a chance to breath. (Oh hi JOHN CARTER) It's a sign of the times. Today everyone wants to see something or get a scoop from a film before it's even in preproduction and it's kind of sad. It's coming from a place of love (for film), but gone are the days when the filmmaker could just make the damn movie. I don't think The Kidd was trying to be disrespectful AT ALL. I think Sonnenfeld must have just reached that point where he was tired of being put on the defensive by people who thought because they read something online that they knew all the goings on behind the film's creation. Interesting interview nonetheless. Good stuff.

  • Had we not had the explanation I don't think anyone would have really noticed. It was odd though. The question seemed to touch a nerve. The issue seems to be a confusion or concern with the word 'unfinished', when in fact, as Barry explained, in many respects that can be the nature of film. Some are shot with a script that never changes and some have scripts develop and change while shooting. However, I don't think that was the issue. It was clear it was nothing to do with the question or interviewer, but the annoyance was an overspill from a previous interview or conversation, or something else. Anyway, I enjoyed the interview. I genuinely think directors are the most interesting and informative people in the industry. They're insight into the movie-making process, their understanding of all the details, the processes to find actors, the motivations of characters, etc, is all more insightful than any one else can possibly explain on a movie set. I don't think a director or anyone else involved need ever to explain their decisions, choices or justify the quality of a movie to anyone! They've been paid to do a job, and they enjoy what they do. As anyone who does a creative job knows, everything you do is up for criticsm and there for people to see. And it can be hurtful when people make negative comments, however most creative people have to build a confidence and belief in themselves, that alone can be criticised by people who don't understand the nature of the creative process. The biggest disappointment with the interview was it being cut short, just when it was getting really interesting and informative about the 3D process, lenses, etc. While I may not care for too many of Sonnenfeld's movies, I still appreciate him as a director, and find what he says, whether that's general information on the film making process or specifically about one of his movies, very interesting. Nice guy, great interview! More of this please, and fewer duplicated reviews.

  • May 26, 2012, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Anyone remember the DeNiro movie about the blacklist era?

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    He gets hired on to direct a western whose director was blacklisted during production. He shows up to do a scene where the script says the hero walks up to a guy, has a few words, and punches him right out with a single swing. DeNiro calls everyone around and says, "okay some changes - you're going to go INSIDE the saloon, and this guy bumps you. Then he blames you and tries to hit you so you shove him, then YOU four guys all jump him at once and suddenly you're all thrown away like a grenade went off. Cut back to the outside where THAT GUY comes flying out the window then runs away.... everyone is blown away by such a dynamic change to the script and DeNiro is like, "Im the director - this is my job. Now go do yours like I described." THIS is how movies get made, and THIS is what Soddenfield was referring to. The Kidd comes off as pretty uninformed about how movies are made.

  • May 26, 2012, 8:44 a.m. CST

    wow hats off to the wardrobe team on this movie (pic #3)

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    Look at Brolin's jacket - 3 buttons instead of two. He's wearing a period accurate jacket down to the # of buttons on the front. thats some seriously good wardrobe work - very subtle, but accurate.

  • May 26, 2012, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by easystjohnson

    That didn't seem heated at all unless, as someone said above , he was screamining and smashing up his hotel room whilst answering the question. Does not seem like a dick at all. In fact, what resulted was actually pretty fascinating and in depth in reference to some of the nuances of a production that we don't often see on here, or anywhere. There's a lot to be learned here and a useful exercise would be to see the film with this interview in mind. I had no intention of ever seeing this thing or even considering it after the ads had finished running - I've never cared for the property. Now, honest to god, I think I may see it. It's useful to remember how massive these productions are and the tiny details that a director has to retain, control, and delegate on. So, great interview. Great to be reminded that there are human beings, real pros too, that are behind some of this tentpole event cinema.

  • May 26, 2012, 9:35 a.m. CST

    this is because the kidd is a no good shithead...

    by thedottedlion

    As I have opined before.

  • May 26, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    I thought Barry is right to be a bit defensive about it..

    by Avon

    It's wrong to presume the state of a script going into production, to presume that the script is not finished. He probably thought it was Internet fan boy hearsay and got agitated.

  • Remember Kidd, you're a REPORTER not a FILMMAKER.

  • May 26, 2012, 8:09 p.m. CST

    Movie looks good. This *kidd* character, not so much.

    by Mike

    When are we going to be rid of him and his little girlfriend?

  • May 27, 2012, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Billy the Kidd...

    by dr sauch

    is the avatar for the foaming-at-the-mouth, "I Hate Everything" talkbacker. He's definitely the worst reviewer on this site.

  • May 27, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Sonnenfeld saying same thing in other interviews...

    by HavokJD

    He's getting just as "heated" in other interviews he's been doing about the same issue. I just read another one over on Moviefone where he takes the same stance about the script. He's probably just tired of being asked about it. But another reason he might be touchy about it is that the script issues will be the ammunition used by the bean counters when this movie doesn't make the money it needs to. If the budget got as inflated as they are saying it did, this movie is going to need to make a ton of money, and I don't personally see that happening in this crowded summer season where we already have films bolting for next year. He's touchy because he sees what's on the horizon. I know he can't bash the studio right now, but how much you want to bet he starts blaming the script once the final box office receipts come in?

  • May 27, 2012, 11:16 a.m. CST

    And... you should definitely release the audio

    by HavokJD


  • May 27, 2012, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Everyone's already said it...

    by SK229

    this didn't come off as heated in the least bit. Maybe a tiny bit calling you to the carpet, pretty much ASKING you to dig a little deeper, but heated? Have you ever seen the epic arguments that can break out on a film set on a routine basis? And he's right, how can a film, ANY film save for an indie that plans to shoot over the course of weekends for two years, start shooting without a finished script. SOMETHING has to be broken down for budgeting, locations, wardrobe, etc., otherwise you'll have no idea what the final cost is, how long the principals need to be booked for, who needs to be where and when... that is patently absurd. I just shot a short and we made changes throughout the entire process in order to make it better but nobody would start without something readable that's finished. Sometimes (most of the time) you don't realize something won't work the way you thought it would until you're there on the set and all the factors of real life come into play, some as simple as the distance between two points. Ideas are thrown out, others are combined and honed... it's always an evolutionary process. Every creative endeavor is. The funniest thing about this interview is you actually did a great job (except for the 'okays', you really sound like a fuckin' passive-aggressive hipster sometimes, I swear... go to for a definition), but for your fucking framing device and the title of this article. If you had just said that you did the interview and he seemed a little annoyed but did a great job explaining himself and here it is for our pleasure, you would have gotten only kudos in the TB.

  • May 28, 2012, 1:40 a.m. CST

    I've said it once and I'll say it again...

    by captr53

    Billy the Kidd is a heavily biased member of this team at aint it cool, that mistakes his personal feelings with facts and allows his fanboy emotions to interfere with his assessment of whatever property he is reviewing.