Will Smith’s Private Writer Causes Confusion on Men in Black III

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Actor Will Smith arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" held at Nokia Theater L.A. Live on February 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Will Smith Photo: Jason Merritt/2011 Getty Images

Good news: After a lengthy, elongated hiatus in the middle of production, Men in Black III has resumed shooting (though without co-star Alec Baldwin). Bad news: Everyone is very confused about the work being done by Will Smith's personal screenwriter, Mike Soccio. While it's not uncommon for comic actors like Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Will Ferrell to bring in "their guys" to personalize a script, it rarely happens this far into shooting, and it's not supposed to happen (as per WGA rules) without the other writers — in this case, Etan Cohen, David Koepp, and Jeff Nathanson — being notified of it. Soccio is a personal friend of Smith's who has TV credits on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and King of Queens (he also did rewrites on Men in Black II, according to his self-submitted IMDb bio, and attempted to earn a credit on the Smith-produced The Karate Kid), and the studio's hope is that he'll act as a liaison to the hard-to-please Smith, who didn't approve Men in Black III's shooting script or the recent, hiatus-mandated revisions. Not that it stopped him from making the movie! [HR]