Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are about to get some company in the highly-anticipated Men in Black spin-off, with Liam Neeson in talks to join the cast. If he does sign on, Neeson will portray the head of the U.K. branch of the Men in Black, although there is no indication as to how large or small a role he may have. This will be the first time that the U.K. branch of the Men in Black has been featured in the franchise, with Rip Torn previously portraying the head of the American version of the MIB.
The original Men in Black trilogy is one of the few that has dropped off at the box office more with each film at the domestic box office. The first Men in Black took in $250.9 million domestic in 1997, with the 2002 sequel Men in Black II earning $190.4 million and MIB3 taking in $179 million in 2012. There had been talks of a fourth film ever since MIB 3 was released, and for a while there was even talk of a crossover with the Jump Street franchise, with a project tentatively titled MIB 23, with James Bobin set to direct, but that never came to fruition.
Then last fall, Sony gave the green light for this currently-untitled Men in Black spin-off, handing out a May 17, 2019 release date back in January. As of now, it will be facing Lionsgate's highly-anticipated John Wick: Chapter 3, Warner Bros.' The Sun Is Also A Star and Universal's A Dog's Purpose. It also falls in the middle of a very competitive month, with Disney's Avengers 4 kicking off the summer movie season on May 3, followed by Universal's Detective Pikachu, STX Entertainment's Uglydolls and Tristar's The Rosie Project on May 10, with Disney's Aladdin and Warner Bros.' Minecraft arriving May 24 and Warner Bros.' The Six Billion Dollar Man debuting on May 31.
F. Gary Gray signed on to direct in February, working from a script by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man). Original Men in Black franchise producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are returning to produce, alongside executive producer Steven Spielberg. A report from March claimed that filming will kick off this summer, although no exact filming start dates have been released. That report claimed that filming will take place on location in London and also in Berlin, Germany, although that has yet to be confirmed.
This comes just a few months after Liam Neeson revealed in an interview that he was "retiring" from making action movies, like this year's action-thriller The Commuter, but the actor, who turns 66 next month, walked back those claims a few weeks later. The actor currently has two films in post-production, Widows, the latest from director Steve McQueen, starring Elizabeth Debicki, Carrie Coon, Garret Dillahunt and Daniel Kaluuya, which hits theaters November 16, and Hard Powder alongside Emmy Rossum and Laura Dern, which doesn't have a release date yet. Variety broke the news on Liam Neeson joining Sony's Men in Black spin-off.