Men In Black International hits Channel 4 at 8:30pm on Saturday, January 14, 2023 – but long before Thor star Chris Hemsworth took over the series, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith were the faces of the franchise. While both were extremely famous in their own right at the time, Jones was also known for being “unkind” on the set of Tim Burton’s Batman series.
Jones worked opposite Carrey in 1995 on Batman Forever. Jones played Two-Face, while Carrey was The Riddler.
The tongue-in-cheek movie involved a lot of garish sets, outlandish make-up, and a packed script. But Carrey still managed to give himself a strong comedic role in the picture. This detail was something Jones could not endure.
Director Joel Schumacher recalled: “I said Tommy Lee Jones was an a****le in People magazine … he was fabulous on The Client. But he was not kind to Jim Carrey when we were making Batman Forever.”
Schumacher mused that Jones was irritated by Carrey because of his extremely extroverted personality.
“Tommy is,” he remembered. “And I say this with great respect, a scene stealer. Well, you can’t steal the scene from Jim Carrey. It’s impossible. And, I think it irked Tommy.” He clarified that Jones didn’t try to steal any scenes from Carrey, but was “not kind” to Carrey. He said: “He did not act towards Jim the way an Oscar winner with a star on Hollywood Boulevard – being the oldest member of the cast, and having such a distinguished career and the accolades to go with it – should have acted towards Jim. But what happens on the set stays on the set.”
Carrey corroborated these claims by recalling a moment when Jones was particularly aggressive towards him in person.
The comedian appeared on the Norm Macdonald Live podcast back in 2018. He recalled going to dinner one night and bumping into the actor during filming. He remembered: “The maitre d’ said: ‘Oh, I hear you’re working with Tommy Lee Jones. He’s over in the corner having dinner.'”
Carrey said: “Hey Tommy, how are you doing?” But he didn’t get the response he expected. “The blood just drained from his face,” he said. Carrey described the actor as if he had been “thinking about him for 24 hours a day”.
“He got up shaking,” he went on. “He must have been in a mid-kill-me fantasy or something like that.”
Jones then stood up, hugged Carrey, and told him: “I hate you. I really don’t like you.”
Carrey continued: “I said: ‘What’s the problem?’ And pulled up a chair [to his dinner table], which probably wasn’t smart.”
Jones replied: “I cannot sanction your buffoonery.” After Batman Forever, Carrey and Jones did not work together again.
But their film made a lot of money. Although the film was made on a staggering $100 million budget, it earned a whopping $336 million at the box office.
Schumacher later returned to the series to direct a sequel – Batman & Robin – in 1997.
Men In Black and Batman Forever are available to rent on Amazon Prime Video now.