'Men in Black' Spin-Off Close to Nabbing Director F. Gary Gray

The 'Fate of the Furious' helmer is reportedly in talks to direct the film, which is due out in cinemas in June next year.

AceShowbiz - Sony Pictures' planned "Men in Black" spin-off is close to landing director F. Gary Gray, who is known for directing the critically-acclaimed "Straight Outta Compton" and the eighth installment of the "Fast and Furious" film series, "The Fate of the Furious". According to a new report from Deadline, the studio is currently in negotiations with the 48-year-old filmmaker to serve behind the lens for the film which is due out in the United States on June 14, 2019.

The "Men in Black" spin-off, which was announced in September of last year, was being fast-tracked by the studio, with Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, the writers behind "Iron Man" and "Transformers: The Last Knight", penning the script. It will be a different project from the aborted "21 Jump Street" franchise mash-up, "MIB 23", which %cJonah Hill% admitted last year was "too complicated" in terms of the deals needed. That film remains in development, though.

The untitled Men in Black spin-off won't see the return of original stars %cWill Smith% and %cTommy Lee Jones%, but the film is expected to take place in the same cinematic universe as the original trilogy. While the original movie followed the titular characters protecting Earth from intergalactic bad guys, the new film will focus on new characters as opposed to Agents K (Jones) and J (Smith).

Original franchise producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are back, with Steven Spielberg also returning as executive producer. David Beaubaire is overseeing the project for Sony.

The first "Men in Black" film came out over two decades ago in the summer of 1997 and became one of the biggest hits, grossing nearly $589 million worldwide. Its sequels, "Men in Black II" (2002) and "Men in Black 3" (2012), didn't match the success of their predecessor, grossing $441 million worldwide and $642 million respectively.

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