Thursday, January 18, 2018

Relying On Pity

Director Barry Sonnenfeld Men in Black III with Will Smith and Josh Brolin.
"I haven't read a review of one of my films for the best part of 10 years."
- Director Barry Sonnenfeld
Barry Sonnenfeld directed Men in Black I (1997), Wild Wild West (1999), Men in Black II (2002), and Men in Black III (2012).  
He appeared on NPR in 2012 and talked about his unique director's seat and working with Will Smith. 
Director Barry Sonnenfeld who reports that "I embrace all things cowboy."

The truth is I embrace all things cowboy. It's my way of trying to be manly. I often wear fake cowboy mustaches. 
When you're on the set and it gets really boring, you say to the hair and makeup people, hey, you got any interesting mustaches today?
Barry Sonnenfeld, a Director And His Trusty Steed on set.
I direct while sitting on a saddle . . . that sits on what's called an apple box. It has wheels. And recently, the grips had to add additional wheels because the saddle kept throwing me. 
I find that if you look like you're in need, because, you know, the saddle is throwing you and stuff, others will really come and sort of take up the slack.

Barry Sonnenfeld, director of Men in Black I, II, III holding the neuralyzer
So instead of, like, striking fear into their hearts or demanding their loyalty with your authority, you're sort of relying on their pity.  
They're like going, oh, let's not misbehave, Barry might crack. 

Oh god, yes, and it's worked for me quite well.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld Men in Black with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones
I describe [Will Smith] as if he's an 8-month-old Great Dane puppy. On various shows, he's harmed me. On "Wild, Wild West" he broke my fifth metacarpal in five places. 
Will and I got into a habit of trading [shoulder] punches. He would hit me as hard as he could, and I would collapse in pain . . . then I would hit him as hard as I could and he would laugh uncontrollably.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld and Will Smith on the set of Wild Wild West. Barry's hand in a cast, broken after hitting Will in the shoulder
One day, I punched him so hard, and his shoulder is like hitting a brick wall, so I collapsed in pain, had to go to the hospital. I couldn't say why this happened because, you know, we're responsible adults here. Instead, I said I walked into a door. 
When the doctor rolled up my sleeve to take my blood pressure, he saw that my shoulder was covered in red, orange, purple, green and yellow welts from Will hitting me. And he said, what's that? And I said I have no idea. 
Will Smith, publicity photo for Wild Wild West, 1999
So I guess we understand why it took ten years between the "Men in Black" movies. You had to recover from your injuries.

#Film #Star #Director

Other Stories of Will Smith 
Shablam! Will Smith


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