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Men In Black III starts filming this week in New York City, assembling a cast that includes Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones along with Jemaine Clement, Josh Brolin and Emma Thompson, and involves time travel in a way that may or may not make any sense. And though production is just starting, there's already a shutdown looming-- though depending on who you ask, it's either a scheduled business tactic or a sign that things are not going smoothly behind the scenes.
As The Los Angeles Times reports, production is scheduled to run until the Christmas holiday and then not resume until February, when they will start shooting the sections of the film that take place in 1969. One version of the story is that the delay is to accommodate rewrites from Jeff Nathanson, who will be tweaking the script by Etan Cohen starting this week. The other version, the one coming from both Sony and producer Walter Parkes, is that the strange schedule is all about taking advantage of New York State tax incentives that required them to start shooting this year:
"We had to start shooting this year to take advantage of New York State tax incentives, but we also needed to be able to shoot certain exteriors in warmer weather. So back in July we had the idea to keep the start date but build in a hiatus so we could essentially extend the production to late spring.”
If you're inclined to believe the story about the script being a mess, recent history agrees with you; production was shifted from an October start date earlier this fall when Smith, director Barry Levinson and the producers reportedly couldn't agree on the storyline. I have no idea how they managed to come to an agreement, especially since the script is changing even as we speak, but I imagine there's a lot of money being thrown around to keep everyone happy in this threequel that nobody, absolutely nobody, was clamoring for.