Men In Black 3 has started shooting, and the first set photos of star Will Smith (and his costars) are already popping up online. Not really a surprise, considering that Will Smith is one of those stars paparazzi will burrow tunnels underground just to snap.

What is surprising, however, is the recent news about Men In Black 3‘s script issues and shooting schedule hiatus, which were first reported by the LA Times. It seems that the film will be taking a break fairly soon to smooth out some wrinkles.

The LA Times report (taken from an inside source) states that Etan Cohen’s (Tropic Thunder) script for Men In Black 3 will be re-worked by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can). The source claims that Nathanson is being brought in to rework the time travel elements of the MIB3 story. For those who haven’t read our Men In Black 3 script review, the film’s plot basically involves Agent Jay (Smith) going back in time to the 1960s to prevent the death of a young Agent Kay (Josh Brolin), and basically save the future and Earth from destruction. As we all know from recent examples like Terminator Salvation, time travel stories are extremely tricky to pull off.

In order to give Nathanson the time he needs to rework the script, Men In Black 3 will shoot its present-day portions from now until Christmas, with the 1960s portions being filmed sometime in mid-February. At the moment this hiatus is not expected to disrupt the film’s planned May 2012 release date, but then, you never know. After all, it’s a rare (and not too encouraging) thing to have a major tentpole film “take a break” from its scheduled shoot.

Of course the PR machine surrounding Men In Black 3 is already turning its gears in order to downplay any potential bad press. Said Men In Black 3 producer, Walter Parkes:

“We had to start shooting this year to take advantage of New York State tax incentives, but we also needed to be able to shoot certain exteriors in warmer weather…So back in July we had the idea to keep the start date but build in a hiatus so we could essentially extend the production to late spring.”

That statement is pretty much the company line being towed at the moment – I just hope that the script turns out well. After the mess that was Men In Black II, I think story is going to be a big factor in the fan reception of this third film.

Men In Black 3 Set Photos

Below you’ll find a gallery of Men In Black 3 set photos. The images show franchise stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones headed to the set (obviously), along with shots of Emma Thompson, who plays the hard-nosed “Agent O.” Also depicted is Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger, who looks like she’ll be playing one of the film’s alien villains – possibly “Devil Girl,” the love interest of the film’s main villain, “Boris the Biker,” who will be portrayed by Flight of the Concords star Jemaine Clement. But that’s just my speculative guess at this point.

Check out the Men In Black 3 set photos, courtesy of Splash News:

Men In Black 3 will hopefully arrive (in 3D and 2D) on May 25, 2012, as scheduled.

Sources: LA Times & Splash News via Cinema Blend