NEW YORK — For "Men in Black," aliens aren't out-of-this-world enough on their own anymore. Time travel needs to be brought into the equation as well. The third installment in the star-studded sci-fi series adds that fourth dimension-bending element as Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to work alongside a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save the future. It's as complicated as it sounds, not just for the fans, but for the actors and filmmakers themselves.
"You cannot put your head around time travel," Smith told MTV News on the "Men in Black 3" red carpet in New York on Wednesday. "We would sit around for hours and hours trying to figure out what happens if you go back into the past and you do something [differently]."
It's a conundrum that kept director Barry Sonnenfeld up at night while shooting the third "Men in Black" movie. "Coming up with ideas and plots and stories for aliens was easy, but time travel was really hard," the filmmaker confessed. "Every time you think you have it figured out, you would wake up at three in the morning and think, 'But wait, if I kill him, wouldn't he ....' You have to start all over again!"
In the real world, time travel is a tricky concept for "Men in Black" newcomer Alice Eve to wrap her head around, too. "[The existence of] time travel would be weird," she said. "I could go back to your childhood and change it, and then you would be somewhere else right now. You wouldn't be with MTV. Would you be happy with that?"
The answer, Ms. Eve, is a resounding no, especially since this job afforded this lucky reporter the chance to ask the infamous Donald Trump to weigh in on the time travel debate. We asked the "Apprentice" host and real-estate mogul for his thoughts on which of the two "Men in Black 3" concepts is harder to accept — time travel or aliens — and his answer was predictably priceless.
"You always have to go with time travel," he said. "We've seen plenty of aliens, believe me."
For Brolin, the answer isn't so easy. The younger Agent K said that as an actor, he's able to "cheat time travel" by spending months with characters living in different time periods. "I believe in aliens, too," he said. "They're just so much fun. I grew up on Asimov, Ray Bradbury, 'Martian Chronicles,' all of that stuff. So neither [concept is hard to believe]. I love both. I don't care if it's not true: It's true to me, in my head!"
In the end, there's no doubt that time travel creates some wacky, existential questions that can keep the mind boggled for hours — which is exactly why Smith refuses to think about it too much.
"Trying to figure out those [questions]? Just forget it," he laughed. "Just try to make it funny and don't ask."
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