Director: Wife behind Will Smith "MIB" casting

Director: Wife behind Will Smith

OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 11: Will Smith and Donna Summer perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert at Oslo Spektrum on December 11, 2009 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Sandy Young/Getty Images for Nobel Peace Prize)

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by CBS News

KMOV.com

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 11:21 PM

(CBS News) Director Barry Sonnenfeld is the man behind the "Men in Black" franchise, but his wife, is apparently behind casting Will Smith as its star.

Friday on "CBS This Morning" Sonnenfeld said he and his wife Susan - nicknamed "Sweetie" - both read the script in 1993. She suggested Smith for the role. At the time, Sonnenfeld noted, Smith had only appeared on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Six Degrees of Separation."

"She looked at me and I looked at her and I said, true story, Tommy Lee Jones. And she said, Will Smith. And this is the point...(was) way before 'Independence Day.' The movie was not written for a black man but Sweetie said, Will Smith. I then had to get the studio convinced to hire Will because Sweetie told me that's what I had to do."

Since then, the sci-fi comedy movies have grossed more than $1 billion. "Men in Black 3" opens nationwide Friday.

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