10 Things You Never Knew About Men In Black

One of the best buddy action movies ever made, Men in Black is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The movie about government agents defending the world from intergalactic threats spawned three sequels of varying quality, but the original Men In Black remains a '90s classic.

A lot happened to make Men In Black come to fruition, rom the movie actually beginning production several years before filming to multiple big stars turning down the lead roles. The Men in Black are the best-kept secret in the universe, and the production of the film has a few secrets of its own.


Men In Black Is Technically The First Successful Marvel Movie

Split image of Agent J and Agent K from the Men In Black movie and comic

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear fancy suits with Ray-Ban sunglasses. Before Spider-Man, X-Men, and even Blade, Men In Black was Marvel's first big success. Most are unaware this is a Marvel film since there are no Marvel elements to be found, but the movie is based on a short-lived comic book series.

RELATED: 10 Most Memorable Quotes In The Men In Black Franchise, Ranked

The movie version also deviates from the comics quite a bit. The comic itself was published under Malibu Comics at first in 1991 but Marvel purchased and absorbed Malibu in 1994. Prior to the movie's release, Marvel reprinted the original run and produced some new Men In Black comics to promote the film.

Men In Black Won Multiple Awards

Will Smith as Agent J in the Men In Black music video

A movie such as Men In Black was never going to win an Oscar for Best Movie but it did win an Oscar for its makeup and creature effects. This was thanks to the work of Rick Baker, making it his fifth Oscar for makeup after An American Werewolf In London, Harry And The Hendersons, Ed Wood, and The Nutty Professor.

On the musical side of things, Men in Black features one of Danny Elfman's most iconic film scores, one that earned him a Grammy nomination, but it was Will Smith who won a Grammy for his "Men in Black" song. He would win the award for the Best Rap Solo Performance with the music video going on to become almost as famous as the film itself.

Men In Black Spawned An Animated Series

Agent J and Agent K in Men In Black The Series

In the 90s, anything somewhat marketable was given an animated series, even hyperviolent R-rated movies such as RoboCop and The Toxic Avenger. Men In Black was given a darker animated series that was created as a sequel to the movie but was stylistically closer to the comics.

Men In Black: The Series was one of the more effective cartoons based on movies, seeing how it lasted four seasons with a total of 53 episodes. Though Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith did not return, Vincent D'Onofrio and Tony Shaloub did return in a few episodes.

The Pug Was A Spoiled Men In Black Co-Star

Frank The Pug in Men In Black

According to Regal, the pug that portrayed Frank was as spoiled as some of Hollywood's biggest divas. Mushu flew with luxury on business class flights, had his own bed in hotel rooms, drank only bottled water, attended red carpets and ate five-star meals.

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In all fairness, Mushu's owner was treated equally with all the same perks. It's still funny to know that a dog that's only in the movie for a few minutes was more pampered than Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were.

Several Marquee Stars Passed On Roles In Men In Black

Split image of Will Smith as Agent J, Chris O'Donnell, Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K, and Clint Eastwood

Men in Black is one of Tommy Lee Jones' best movies, and it's impossible to think of anyone else but him as Agent K, not to mention Will Smith as Agent J. According to HuffPost, director Barry Sonnenfeld almost went with different actors. Clint Eastwood was originally eyed to play Agent K, which explains the cowboy-esque attitude that K sports throughout.

Agent J was originally offered to Chris O'Donnell, but Sonnenfeld wanted Will Smith so much that he actually lied to O'Donnell to make him decline. O'Donnell didn't want another incident like Batman & Robin which he had just suffered through. Meanwhile, Vincent D'Onofrio was cast as the movie's villain after Bruce Campbell and John Turturro declined.

Linda Fiorentino Won Her Men In Black Role In A Poker Game

Linda Fiorentino as Laurel Weaver in the morgue in Men In Black

Most actors are either offered a role or go through proper audition processes but not Linda Fiorentino for the role of Laurel. According to Looper, Linda actually got the role in Men In Black when she played poker with Barry Sonnenfeld.

Linda won the game and her prize was the role of Laurel Weaver. Apparently, Linda's casting led to some changes, including the ending in which her character becomes Agent L, where originally her character was going to have her memory erased.

Vincent D'Onofrio Put A Lot Into His Men In Black Role

Edgar The Bug putting his hands on his head in Men In Black

The extraterrestrial threat of the film known simply as Edgar The Bug was portrayed by the talented Vincent D'Onofrio. He ends up stealing the movie in many scenes but it was far from an easy process for the actor, according to Regal.

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His eyes were glued shut and his makeup process for the several stages of Edgar's decaying body took six hours. Vincent D'Onofrio even went the extra mile and put his legs in braces to keep his legs from bending, simulating the idea that he was a compressed being inside a rotten corpse.

No Roaches Were Actually Harmed In The Making Of Men In Black

Cockroaches on Agent J's arm in Men In Black

Even though most audiences view cockroaches as pests and would shrug off the idea of them being squished in the film, this was not the case. The Humane Society actually confirmed that no roaches were harmed in the making of Men In Black.

When Agent J stomps on cockroaches to get Edgar's attention, it's all shot and edited with cuts to make it look like he is crushing cockroaches. Will Smith was actually stomping on mustard packets, emulating the visual of bug innards.

An Entire Men In Black Subplot Was Removed

Agent J and Agent K speaking with Zed in Men In Black

With Edgar hunting the Galaxy, Agent J learning the ropes, and the death of Rosenburg, Men In Black already had enough plotlines occurring at once for a sci-fi comedy featuring super agents with super advanced space guns. Initially, there was going to be even more, according to Regal.

Not only were the Arquillians threatening Earth but originally, they were going to be at war with another alien race known as the Baltians. Thanks to some proper cuts, some new dialogue, and removing the Baltians altogether, Men In Black's plot was streamlined and probably for the better.

Men In Black's Original Ending Was Less Action-Packed

Agent J confronting Edgar The Bug in his true form in Men In Black

Ending a story is difficult, so multiple climaxes were made for Men In Black according to MovieFone. The original ending was not about action; instead, it focused on Agent K and J talking the Bug down from destroying the Earth.

An interesting idea but Barry Sonnenfeld did not like it so more action-packed climaxes were made, leading to an extra $4.5 million added to the movie's budget. It shows that reshoots don't always mean a film has a troubled production cycle.

NEXT: 5 Reasons The Men In Black Franchise Deserves Another Chance (And 5 Why It Should Die)