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Men in Black 3 – Will Smith and his love of time travel

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Men in Black 3 - Josh Brolin and Will Smith
Young Agent K (Josh Brolin, rear left) and Agent J (Will Smith) © 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries Inc

Was it fun to put the suit back on again?

You can’t beat the black suit. It’s such powerful, iconic imagery. You put on the suit and the shades and it throws you into the mental space of the Men in Black.

It’s like a childhood fantasy – you know things that the other people don’t know and you’ve got the most important job in the world. The seven-year-old boy in me comes running out when I put the black suit on.

Can you explain your working relationship with Tommy and how you translated it to have that same effect on screen with Josh?

That’s what is crazy. That’s all Josh Brolin. As actors when you’re in a scene it’s like a tennis match, you’re going back and forth. And what you do as an actor is you try to develop the chemistry.

So I was expecting to make an adjustment from Tommy Lee Jones to Josh Brolin, but Josh studied Tommy so thoroughly that it was almost identical.

The way the inner-actions were in the scenes, it was absolutely stunning, and it’s crazy because you don’t even notice how good his acting is because it’s so good [you think] you’re just watching Tommy Lee Jones.

People thought that Tommy did the voice for Josh Brolin’s K. That’s how thoroughly Josh is delivering it.

What is your favorite gadget from this movie?

Men in Black 3 - Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith
Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) © 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc

It has to be the time-dial.

I’ve always loved time travel, and for this movie to actually dive into it, and start thinking about it and talking about it, I realized that for black people you really don’t want to do too much jumping into the past!

Right now is the best it has ever been. (He laughs) I was like, ‘Maybe I could go forward with the time-dial. That would be a great thing!’

What do your fans recognize you the most from?

What’s crazy for me is that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. I’m the ‘Fresh Prince’ everywhere in the world.

That television show was a stroke of luck, because of the amount of outlets for the show, a nine-year-old kid thinks it’s new. So The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has been a huge gift for me in that sense.

What is it like having your two children, Jaden and Willow, in show business as well?

Men in Black 3 - Will Smith
Agent J (Will Smith) © 2011 Columbia Pictures Industries Inc

I was a child of Dallas. I’ve dreamed about this life my entire life. On Dallas they had Southfork, the property had a name! And Sue Ellen would come to breakfast and the whole family was there, and everybody worked the family business.

That was my vision of my family.

Now coming into that space, I’m actually surprised that other people have got their own vision. Willow made a huge hit record, Whip my Hair. And then she cut her hair off. (he laughs) I was like, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’

For me in the last three years I’ve been seeing just how much everybody has their own opinions and ideas and their own lives, that may or may not fit in my ‘Sue Ellen’ vision!