The Schmooze

Q&A: Barry Sonnenfeld on 'Men in Black'

Understandably, Barry Sonnenfeld seems surprised by the question. He pauses briefly, chuckles and then says, no, he doesn’t believe any of the Men in Black are Hasidim. “But,” he quickly, adds, “some of them could be in disguise.”

As far as he knows, none of the MIB aliens are Jewish, either. “I don’t really think there are aliens,” he said. “They’re just in the movies. And the ones in our movie were written in by an Orthodox Jew, Etan Cohen.”

Sonnenfeld, of course, is the director of the successful “Men in Black” trilogy — the third opens May 25 — as well as the two popular “Addams Family” films, “Get Shorty” and a host of other commercial and critical successes.

“Men in Black 3” is a return to fun form, with Agent J (Will Smith) going back in time to save the life of his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones and, in 1969, Josh Brolin).

Sonnenfeld spoke to The Arty Semite about celebrating his bar mitzvah in a church, how Judaism infuses his films and how he and the Coen Brothers started their careers together.

Curt Schleier: I noticed one Jewish reference in the film — a mezuzah on the door of Apartment 5K once occupied by Agent K. Was that Etan Cohen’s idea?

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Q&A: Barry Sonnenfeld on 'Men in Black'

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