Inside The Production Of 'Men In Black III'

So Men in Black III started filming without a finished screenplay. That's seems to be the norm in Hollywood nowadays. But, in the case of MIIIB, the circumstances are a little different -- and not in a good way, either.

Now the hiatus has been extended until March 28, and a new writer, David Koepp, who did uncredited work on the first MIB, has been brought on board to work out complex script issues involving time travel. Although the delay is costing millions, Sony says those expenses will be more than offset because the studio started shooting in late 2010 -- in time to save millions thanks to New York state tax breaks.

But the decision to start filming a complicated, effects-driven tentpole without a finished script has some in Hollywood baffled. The top executive at one production company expressed skepticism that "the tax break is covering the chaos cost," adding, "There isn't any tax break that would convince me to do [what Sony did] -- ever!"

MIB III, scheduled to open in 3D in May 2012, has a budget that will easily pass $200 million. In the story, Will Smith's character returns to 1969 and encounters famous figures of the day, like Yoko Ono, as well as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K (played by Josh Brolin). Smith would have to travel quite far into the past just to see the previous edition of MIB in theaters: The sequel was released in 2002 and, despite a drubbing from critics, grossed more than $440 million worldwide.

With studios chasing franchises, it's hardly surprising that Sony was determined to pursue another MIB. Sony spokesman Steve Elzer says the studio came up with the unusual shooting plan because it feared the New York incentive program would expire at the end of December. (Instead, it was extended for five years.) The studio also has said it included the hiatus to allow outdoor scenes to be shot in New York in spring weather.

Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter for the story.