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Chris Hemsworth in talks to star in Men in Black spin-off

The film will take place in the same universe as the original, but will not see the return of Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones

Clarisse Loughrey
Friday 09 March 2018 10:43 GMT

Chris Hemsworth is making the most of his comedic chops.

After increasingly rotating his image from straight-faced leading man to loveable goof with the likes of Ghostbusters and Thor: Ragnarok, he's now in early negotiations to star in the long-developing Men in Black spin-off, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Fate of the Furious' F. Gary Gray is set to direct, with a script by Iron Man writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.

"It’s so rare to get to the end of the script and know you’re holding a movie in your hands, but Art and Matt have written a spinoff that somehow is true to the core of the MiB world and yet expands the franchise to a fresh new place," producer Walter F. Parkes said.

The spin-off is set within the same universe as the previous films, putting a contemporary spin on the franchise that captures things on a more global scale. However, one thing is clear: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones aren't expected to reprise their roles.

Supposedly, Sony is hoping to do something similar to Jurassic World, which changed up the stakes while still acknowledging the history of previous films. Sources also say that the studio is hoping to expand things with a diverse ensemble cast, potentially looking at leads that are a white man, a woman of colour, and an older man.

The first film, released in 1997, made a neat profit for Sony with $589 million at the global box office, spawning two sequels in 2002 and 2012. The franchise has so far made more than $1.5 billion worldwide.

Trailer: Thor Ragnarok

This isn't, unfortunately, the planned crossover movie that would pit the worlds of Men in Black and 21 Jump Street together, either; that idea is still apparently in development, despite Jonah Hill previously confessing the project was pretty much dead.

He admitted: "I had the idea, but I doubt that movie will get made. It’s too complicated. They’re trying to make all the deals, but it’s kind of impossible with all the Men in Black stuff."

"The Jump Street films were so fun to make and the whole joke of them was they were making fun of remakes and sequels and reboots and then now it’s become a giant sequel, reboot. It’s almost become what we were making fun of and it’s hard to maintain that joke when it’s so high stakes."

That said, the project did manage to advance pretty far into development, at least to the point of attaching a director - The Muppets' James Bobin - and even acquiring a title, MIB 23. Plus, both are Sony franchises; this shouldn't technically be a deal as complicated as, say, the studio's Spider-Man deal with Marvel. So perhaps there's still a sliver of hope something can be sorted out.

The Hemsworth-associated film is slated for release on 14 June, 2019.

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