Chris Hemsworth has entered negotiations to star in Sony's highly-anticipated Men in Black spin-off, news which comes just a month after The Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray came aboard to take the helm. This new report also reveals that the story will be set in London, centering on a trio of new characters including a "white character, a black woman and an older man." While it seems likely that Chris Hemsworth will be playing the, "white character," no further details about this character were given.
Sony's approach to this project is said to be similar to Universal's approach to their 2015 blockbuster Jurassic World, which brought in new characters to the world established in the 1993 classic Jurassic Park. This Men in Black spin-off will not feature Will Smith's Agent J or Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K, but the movie will continue to build off the sci-fi world those beloved characters inhabited. It's certainly possible that there could be references to J and K, or possibly cameos/appearances from other characters from the first three movies, although, as of now, Chris Hemsworth will be the first to come aboard, if a deal is finalized.
The franchise kicked off with 1997's Men in Black, which introduced audiences to J and K, along with other characters like Linda Fiorentino's Laurel Weaver, Rip Torn's Zed, Tony Shalhoub's Jeebs and Vincent D'Onofrio's Edgar. The movie opened with an impressive $51 million en route to $250.6 million domestic and $589.4 million worldwide, from a $90 million budget. Five years later in 2002, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones returned as J and K for Men in Black II, which introduced new characters such as Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), Agent Tee (Patrick Warburton) and Newton (David Cross). The sequel opened with $52.1 million, while dropping a bit at the domestic box office with $190.4 million and a worldwide total of $441.8 million, from an increased $140 million budget. 10 years later in 2012, Men in Black III brought back J and K again, with Josh Brolin as a young K and Emma Thompson as Agent O, which opened to $54.5 million en route to $179 million domestic and $624 million worldwide, from a whopping $220 million budget.
While the franchise's domestic take was on the decline from each movie, the huge international take ($445 million) of Men in Black III is perhaps one reason why the studio wants to bring this franchise back once again. There had originally been talk of Sony putting together a crossover/spin-off with the Jump Street franchise, bringing in 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, but that project never came together. Now F. Gary Gray is directing from a script by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man), with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald producing and Steven Spielberg executive producing. Sony has set a June 14, 2019 release date, putting it up against Warner Bros. Shaft sequel, which is currently in production.
Chris Hemsworth is coming off last year's MCU blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, and he most recently starred in Warner Bros. true story adaptation 12 Strong. He will next be seen as the mighty Thor in Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, and in Bad Time at the El Royale, which arrives on October 5, 2018. The Hollywood Reporter broke the casting news earlier today.