The film was originally going to be a "Jump Street" - "Men in Black" crossover with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprising their roles. However, plans fell apart, so it became a spin-off, with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
Frank the Pug (voiced by Tim Blaney) and the Worm Guys (voiced by Thom Fountain) are the only characters from the first film to also physically appear in this one. Although they have a prominent place on the movie's poster, these characters have less than a minute of screen-time.
All of the suits worn by the men and women of MIB are cut from designer Sir Paul Smith's 100% wool A Suit to Travel In cloth, which has a "natural crease recovery" so that everybody will always look sharp no matter where saving the universe may take them.
It was director F. Gary Gray's idea to cast Les Twins, Larry and Laurent Bourgeois, as the film's villains. Les Twins are dancers and choreographers whose YouTube videos have been seen by millions around the world. They have also performed with artists like Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
This is F. Gary Gray's second film, since his directorial debut Friday (1995), to be shot in the taller 1.85:1 aspect ratio, although presented theatrically in the Univisium 2.00:1 aspect ratio. It is also the first Men In Black movie to be presented in the Univisium aspect ratio.
Producer Laurie MacDonald describes Chris Hemsworth as having "...effortless charm, strong comedy instincts and, as with all great stars, an extraordinary understanding of who he is as a screen persona."
The alien assassin characters were molded around the impressive dance moves of Les Twins. One of the twins, Larry Bourgeois, remarks, "We prefer to dance than to talk. In fact, the best way for us to communicate is through dance, and we have created our own style since childhood. We're perfectionists and crazy connected to one another, so it's incredible how F. Gary Gray took our dance and energy and created the perfect villain for us to portray..."
Rafe Spall enjoyed playing Agent C because "it's fun to play a character who is horrible to everyone, all the time." He says, "It's quite freeing. We spend so much of our lives pretending to be nice, so it's great to not have to do that and get paid for it, as well!"
This is the first Men in Black film to be given a BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) '12A' rating in the U.K. (the U.K. equivalent of the MPAA's 'PG-13' in the U.S.A.). The previous films were all rated 'PG' in Great Britain.
The filmmakers wanted the actor playing High T to be a formidable match for Chris Hemsworth, but also someone with a good feel for comedy. Producer Walter Parkes says, "Much like with Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K...we wanted to cast actors who could do comedy, as opposed to comic actors. Liam is a consummate actor with big comedy chops."
Tessa Thompson loves the character of Pawny and knew that Kumail Nanjiani would be perfect for the role. Although his character is all CGI, Nanjiani flew out to London so he could read with Thompson and Hemsworth in person, making the character interactions feel more dynamic.
The "high" in "high tea" refers to the height of the table on which it is served. Afternoon tea is a tradition that many upper class English people enjoy and it consists of tea served with small cakes and snacks at around 4 in the afternoon. Because many working class people were unable to take a break for tea at 4, they would instead wait to have tea after work and serve it with a heartier meal. This tea was served on a "high" table with high-backed chairs as opposed to a low table, similar to a coffee table, on which afternoon tea is served.
H&M began in Sweden with Erling Persson opening a store for women's clothing in 1947. The store was called "Hennes," which is Swedish for "hers." The M came along in 1968 when Hennes acquired Mauritz Widforss, a hunting and fishing apparel company.
This is the first Men in Black movie to be filmed in the Univisium 2.00:1 aspect ratio, unlike the first three movies which were filmed in the taller 1.85:1 ratio, although trailers and TV spots advertised this film in 1.85.
Agent J, Agent K and Frank the Pug are the only characters to appear in some form in every Men in Black movie. Agents J and K were characters in the first three movies, and appear in a painting in this one; Frank was in the first, second and fourth movie, and appeared on a picture in J's living room in the third.
At the time of this film, drivers in the United Kingdom drive on the left-side of the road. In 1919, the world's territories were evenly split between left and right-handed driving, with 104 territories each.
Molly's dad takes his three-wood with him to investigate the strange noise. A three-wood is a golf club that's used to hit the ball over long distances. They are generally not made of wood anymore, but, rather, metal.
In the first "Men in Black" film, Agents K and J often claimed to be from "Division Six." According to their websites at the time of this movie's release, there are six branches of the FBI: National Security Branch, Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, Intelligence Branch, Science and Technology Branch, Information and Technology Branch, and Human Resources Branch. The CIA has five main directorates: Directorate of Analysis, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Science & Technology, Directorate of Support, and Directorate of Digital Innovation.
A stranger to neither the big screen or small, Tessa Thompson can also be seen as Charlotte Hale in HBO's critically-acclaimed series "Westworld." The series received 43 Emmy nominations for its first and second seasons.
Chris Hemsworth, who plays Agent H, is widely known for playing the Norse god Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He first played the character in 2011 in the titular film. He also appears in "Avengers: Endgame," which has made more than 2 billion dollars worldwide and surpassed James Cameron's "Titanic" and "Avatar" on the box office charts.
Boots Riley directed Tessa Thompson and her co-stars Lakeith Stanfield and Armie Hammer in "Sorry to Bother You." The film premiered at Sundance in 2018 and went on to receive much awards recognition, including an NAACP Image Award nomination and a Film Independent Spirit Award.
In early 2019, Chris Hemsworth launched his personalized digital health and fitness program called CENTR. The app brings a team of elite experts together to help with one's physical fitness, diet, and mental health.
Agent M says she heard that meditation "dramatically improves mitochondrial energy production." Mitochondria found inside of cells and they are indeed key to the cell's energy production. Mitochondria also have their own DNA.
Tessa Thompson starred as Valkyrie opposite Chris Hemsworth's Thor in "Thor: Ragnarok." Taika Waititi directed "Thor: Ragnarok" and the TV show "What We Do in the Shadows" (based on his film of the same name) which stars Kayvan Novak, who appears in "Men in Black: International." Bonus: Another director of "What We Do in the Shadows," Jemaine Clement, played Boris the Animal in "Men in Black 3."
Chris Hemsworth was very impressed with Les Twins' dancing skills. He says of them, "There is something so impressive and also unnerving about the way they move in synchronicity. They even finish each other's thoughts, physically as well as verbally. It's amazing to watch."
VFX Supervisor Alessandro Ongaro talks about the most complicated VFX sequence in the film: meeting Vungus in the nightclub. "This is a pivotal point for the story and Vungus was fully digital from head to toe. He had to interact with H and M with full facial animation via keyframes," he says.
Production designer Charles Wood designed the film's vehicles. The Jaguar XJ6 is full of hidden weapons. For example, there are five handguns in a window, a gun in the gas cap, and a Gatling gun in the rear bumper.
According to producer Walter Parkes, the style of the first "Men in Black" movie drew upon the modernism of the 1960s that begin in the U.S. with the World's Fair in New York City. For this film, they were inspired by the British architecture from the Art Deco period, creating a more textured look.
Prop modeler Pierre Bohana worked on this film's design of the Men in Black's signature device, the Neuralyzer. "It's iconic, so we didn't change it too much," Bohanna explains. "We added a bit more animation to its mechanism - providing a little different feel with how it opens and moves - but its design remains unchanged from the version audiences loved from the first films."
The film's composer, Danny Elfman, wrote the iconic themes for "The Simpsons." He has also written music for "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Edward Scissorhands, "Big Fish," and many of Tim Burton's other films.
Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco, with the largest city being Casablanca. In the first "Men in Black" film, Agent K mentions that the first aliens to come to Earth wanted to use the planet as an "apolitical zone" and he compares it to the movie "Casablanca."
Being a fan of the other "Men in Black" films, Kumail Nanjiani was excited to join the cast. He describes his character of Pawny as "snarky and innocent; cynical and enthusiastic; and intellectually mature and emotionally childlike."
The costume designer on the film, Penny Rose, and British designer Sir Paul Smith created a new look for the black suits of the London office. Tessa Thompson says, "The suits are really powerful and provide a sense of gravitas and force," but also that "they're still elegant - and suitable for a powerful and empowered woman."
According to Chris Hemsworth, each of the suits has a personal touch. For example, Hemsworth says that Agent H wears his suit with "non-regulation socks". High T's suit is also the only one with a waistcoat.
Production designer Charles Wood enjoyed imagining the look of the hover bike that Agents H and M ride in Marrakech. He says, "...we wanted a vehicle and shape as far removed from that world as possible." "We gave the hoverbike a big front end with a huge vent and we made sure to add some crazy flames coming out the back of the whistling turbine. It also had to be agile enough to squeeze down the city's narrow streets. We came up with around 30 different designs until we settled on a shape everyone was happy with. Then we built four of them."
Fans may remember the 1980s Ford LTD Crown Victoria that Agents J and K drove in the first "Men in Black" movie. That car got the agents through some thick traffic in record time with the touch of a red button, a feature that lives on in the modern MIB vehicles.
Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, wrote and appeared together in their film "The Big Sick." The film received the Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy, an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, among many other accolades.
Rebecca Ferguson and Chris Hemsworth both got their starts acting on soap operas in their home countries. Hemsworth appeared as Kim Hyde in the Australian series "Home and Away." Ferguson played Anna Gripenhielm on the Swedish show "Nya tider."
Tessa Thompson says of direction F. Gary Gray: "Gary doesn't miss a beat. His attention to detail and sense of scope and scale is incredible. Gary was always able to balance the legacy of the franchise with fresh ideas and a unique vision."
Wade Eastwood knew Rebecca Ferguson from both "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" and "Mission: Impossible - Fallout," where she played Ilsa Faust and he served as a stunt coordinator. When Eastwood recommended Ferguson play the part of Riza, the three-armed alien arms dealer, she said, "Where and when do you want me?"
In a video posted by the official "Men in Black" Twitter account, Kumail Nanjiani describes the character of Pawny as a version of himself. He says, "I basically sort of played a version of myself who's very very enthusiastic. I'm very enthusiastic but I get insecure about showing it too much, so this character Pawny is just basically me as a kid who's just always really excited, always ready for anything ... I just sort of pretended like I was a little kid."
Kumail Nanjiani will return as Dinesh on the HBO series "Silicon Valley," which will be returning for a sixth season. The show has won two Critics' Choice Awards for Best Comedy Series during its run so far.
Production designer Charles Wood, who also worked on "Avengers: Endgame" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," described the Eiffel Tower in the movie as an "Ellis Island idea", a place where aliens from other universes would arrive on Earth, but a place that hasn't been used in a long time.
Producer Walter Parkes comments on what he hopes the film will do for audiences: "'Men in Black: International' takes you on a journey into an exciting hidden world that's available if you just look hard enough. We hope that in addition to being entertained, you'll come out of the film and look at your own world with fresh eyes."
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith stated that they would not return for this film. They do appear briefly, in a painting in the London MiB office, which is a dramatized depiction of their fight with the Edgar-bug from Men in Black (1997).