The Men in Black spinoff is pulling in some heinous reviews, and its only real purpose seems to be reminding us about how we'll never get that 21 Jump Street/MIB crossover, but it turns out that Men in Black: International has a greater purpose, after all: Blessing us with this truly wild story about Will Smith farting on set. Thanks!
On Wednesday, Vulture released a new oral history about Vincent D'Onofrio and his role as that giant cockroach in 1997's Men in Black. The thing is packed with stories from D'Onofrio and the film's director, Barry Sonnenfeld about how the movie came together—and why it wound up being exponentially better than it had any right to be. But the best anecdote from the entire article, by far, is this fascinating little tidbit:
Tommy and Will have such good chemistry. Are there any fun stories you haven’t shared about them from the set?
Sonnenfeld: Will has really nasty farts. There’s a scene where he and Tommy Lee are driving through the Midtown Tunnel, and the car goes upside down and they’re driving on the ceiling. So we had a rig to put Will and Tommy into the car body, and then we had to seal that and turn the rig upside down on a green-screen stage in Manhattan. By the time you’d seal it, turn it upside down, and make sure it was safe, it was about 10 minutes worth of work. We finally got it upside down; we’re ready to shoot. We hear Will say, “Oh, Jesus! I’m so sorry, Tommy. Guys, get us out of here! Get us out!” And we panicked and started to turn it around, and you hear Tommy say, “No, Will, it’s okay.” And Will was like, “No it’s not! Get us out!”
The scene, of course, is the one where Smith's character, Jay, finally gets to push the little red button and their car zips across the ceiling of the Midtown Tunnel. Jay forgets to fasten his seat belt, so he rolls around the car as Tommy Lee Jones sits, calmly, upside down, presumably pretending not to smell the foul stench inside the car while the cameras roll.
It's hard enough to hang upside down through multiple takes, even without a co-star stinking up the set, but Jones, ever the stoic and consummate pro, didn't complain—though he did get as far away from that car as possible once the shoot was over, apparently.
"[Smith had] farted so bad in this enclosed space," Sonnenfeld continues in the interview. "Tommy is a manly man. If you talk to him about intellectual things, he says, 'I’m just a rancher.' So he played it cool. But man, as soon as we opened it up, Tommy was outta there."
Inexplicably, Sonnenfeld decided against sharing this particular story on the Men in Black DVD commentary, but the tale of Will Smith's rancid ass-ripping has finally come to light, over two decades later—and for that, we have Men in Black: International to thank.