The other day, on social media, actor Will Smith posted an update about the upcoming “Bad Boys for Life” (aka the long-awaited threequel to the popular Michael Bay franchise), saying that the film has finally wrapped. That means that in less than a year, barring some post-production catastrophe, action film fans will finally get to see the continuing adventures of Smith and his ‘Bad Boys’ partner Martin Lawrence. But the film that audiences see will likely be very, very different than what could have been if filmmaker Joe Carnahan stayed aboard as director/writer.
For those not aware of the behind-the-scenes development of ‘Bad Boys 3,’ Carnahan was brought on to write and direct the film, filling in for Bay, who was not going to return to the franchise. The filmmaker worked on the project for 2 years from 2015 to 2017 and left the film, which was then handed to directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah in 2018. They stayed on and the film finally went into production last year, finishing this year.
But speaking to Collider, Carnahan spoke up about why he left the project, and what could have been, if he stayed aboard.
“[My script is] phenomenal. But it’s no more,” said Carnahan with a laugh.
Carnahan continued by speaking bluntly about the whole process, including how he holds no ill will towards Smith and the folks working on the film.
“I love Will, he’s a great guy…Listen, I always say this. Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, you find me a motherfucker in the modern era that’s walked away from movies with those guys and is still working in some capacity,” the director said.
He continued, “I just know myself, man. And I thought what we were doing at that point was the law of diminishing returns. I wasn’t servicing the story that I was really excited about telling, that the studio had greenlit. And again, this isn’t to throw shade at Will — it’s your face on the poster, it’s your name on the poster, you need to do things the way you want them done.”
That being said, Carnahan is a bit upset that his vision for the film isn’t going to see the light of day. Despite walking away from the project, it’s clear that there’s still a lot of love for the film, and his script, in particular, which the director says features “one of the best endings I’ve ever written in any movie.”
While we don’t know what that ending is, we do know something that has been changed from Carnahan’s involvement, and it’s something that he’s not going to hold back his dislike of.
“I think we budgeted a $12 million dollar action sequence — and I think they’re doing a portion of it — I had a sequence where they’re on a Gunbus, which is a German motorcycle. They changed it, now it’s like a sidecar, not a good idea, whatever. [Laughs] It’s one of the greatest.”
Another thing that probably won’t make the final cut of the film is a joke/jab that Carnahan directed at a film that he holds a personal hatred of, the Oscar-winning “The Danish Girl.”
“I hated ‘The Danish Girl’ so much,” revealed the director. “I said, ‘Could you make a poster for ‘The Danish Girl’ and blow it apart?’ And they, ‘Yeah, we can do that.’ I fucking hated that movie with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns.”
“I think [the people who worked on ‘The Danish Girl’] are all really talented, I just hated that movie, me personally,” Carnahan added. “I’m sure they hate my movies.”
But those differences aside, the basics of the filmmaker’s original pitch and script seem to be in place for the final film.
“There’s an ammo team, the kind of young go-getters like the ‘21 Jump Street’ kids,” said the filmmaker. “And there’s still the idea of these guys being kind of 50 and maybe over-the-hill, and now you gotta develop a mid-range game like [Michael] Jordan, because you can’t dunk anymore and you can’t take anybody off the dribble. Like that kind of stuff. There’s still all that.”
He concluded, “I’m not gonna bitch about it — listen, I bitched about ‘Death Wish’ and then saw a residual check the other day, I was like, I said to myself, ‘Shut the fuck up.’”
“Bad Boys For Life,” minus the ‘Danish Girl’ explosion, is expected to hit theaters on January 17, 2020, which is an odd weekend for a Will Smith film. But hey, if the man can make the Fourth of July a blockbuster weekend, then perhaps he can do the same for the winter?