“The studio really wanted Clint Eastwood” for a Movie That Made Tommy Lee Jones a Sci-fi Icon

Tommy Lee Jones' iconic Agent K role was almost given to Clint Eastwood.

“The studio really wanted Clint Eastwood” for a Movie That Made Tommy Lee Jones a Sci-fi Icon


  • The iconic role of Agent K which presented Tommy Lee Jones in a very different way was initially almost given to Clint Eastwood.
  • Tommy Lee Jones also had certain personal problems with the role before eventually getting comfortable with it.
  • Recently, the actor made headlines for a hilariously awkward encounter with Jenna Ortega.
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Tommy Lee Jones surprised everyone when he appeared in the role of Agent K in Men in Black. His appearance in a comedy flick was unexpected and was a major surprise for everyone. However, Jones was not the initial choice for the makers who wanted to cast Clint Eastwood in the role. It was director Barry Sonnenfield who vouched for Jones.

Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones

The role of Agent K or Kevin Brown was quite different from the gruff type of roles that Tommy Lee Jones played in his other films. Initially, the actor was also very uncomfortable with the role. It was Barry Sonnenfield who solely believed on his part and knew how to infuse humor in his character in the correct way.

Also Read: “I don’t want to be in his shadow”: Harrison Ford Needed to be Convinced to Work With Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive


Why wasn’t Tommy Lee Jones interested in Men in Black at first?

clint eastwood bronco billy
The studio wanted Clint Eastwood for the role of Agent K

Although the Lincoln actor was turned into a sci-fi icon for his performance in the Men in Black franchise, the Oscar winner didn’t seem the perfect fit for several reasons. In an interview with Inverse, it was revealed that the studio’s initial choice for the role was Clint Eastwood. Director Barry Sonnenfield said:

“The studio really wanted Clint Eastwood. It was me who asked for Tommy, and then I almost got screwed — they couldn’t hire me because Tommy had director approval. Tommy gave me approval.”

The 1997 film was plagued with further troubles even after Tommy Lee Jones was cast. It was different from the roles he played till that time and it took some time before the actor got used to it. At first, Jones couldn’t rely on Sonnenfield’s direction and thought that the director was only focused on making Will Smith funny.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black
Agent J and Agent K

Also Read: “We do not care what’s true”: Will Smith Has 1 Major Issue With Men in Black Co-Star Tommy Lee Jones


However, it was the deadpan expression and the straight-man attitude that was needed by Barry Sonnenfield. He wanted Jones to believe in him that he would look fun in the final cut. Eventually, the presently 77-year-old actor’s doubts were cleared after the film was released. It also helped him to bond better with the director during the filming of the sequel.

The Fugitive actor even took to a later interview to acknowledge how Will Smith’s company and Barry Sonnenfield’s direction were the sole reasons he looked so funny.

Also Read: “We don’t want to waste our time”: Men In Black Actor Tommy Lee Jones Angered Emmy-Winning Journalist After Acting Bratty During an Interview


Tommy Lee Jones’ interaction with Jenna Ortega took a weird turn

Tommy Lee Jones and Jenna Ortega star together in Finestkind
Tommy Lee Jones and Jenna Ortega star together in Finestkind

The Natural Born Killers actor who is known for being tough in interviews was recently subjected to an awkward interaction with the young actress Jenna Ortega. Tommy Lee Jones co-starred in a crime thriller drama titled Finestkind for Paramount+ alongside the Wednesday fame.

During the red carpet of the film when Jones and Jenna Ortega posed together for photos, the moment turned awkward when the elder actor questioned if he had any scenes with the actress. The actor turned to Ortega midway and asked (via Mirror): “Did we have any scenes together?”. 

When the 21-year-old replied that they had a scene together, the MiB fame asked if she had watched the movie to which Jenna Ortega replied no. Following this, both the actors started laughing while the fans also had a fun time on social media talking about it. Several fans referred to the MiB and stated how Agent K’s memory might have been erased with a Neuralyzer.


Men in Black can be streamed on Hulu.

Also Read: “Why don’t you reread the f—king thing”: Men in Black Star Was Almost Forced To Accept Iconic Batman Villain Role After Initially Being Confused

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Written by Subham Mandal

Articles Published: 1238

Subham Mandal is currently working as a content writer for FandomWire with an ardent interest in the world of pop culture. He has written more than 1000 articles on different spheres of modern pop culture and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He’s also an experienced student journalist having demonstrated work experience with the Times of India. He aspires to be a column writer in the future.