Acclaimed makeup artist Rick Baker has announced his involvement with Men in Black III. The 8-time Academy Award winner worked on the first two Men in Black films and sounds eager to begin the third installment.

Baker’s latest work in The Wolfman recently hit home video and it was mighty impressive. He has an uncanny ability to transform actors into completely original characters, while maintaining the performer’s recognizable appearance. Just take a look at Anthony Hopkins in The Wolfman for proof.

Baker’s legendary status has been established by his makeup work on Star Wars, An American Werewolf in London, The Nutty Professor and Hellboy to name a few.

In an interview with the LA Times, Baker discussed his hopes for The Wolfman. While it did not redefine a genre, his work deserves recognition as a high point of the film. In the interview, he briefly mentioned his upcoming project.

“I’m just starting up now ‘Men in Black 3,’ which is another one I wanted to do because I worked on the first two.”

Benicio del Toro giving Rick Baker his good grace

Many filmmakers likely request his services throughout the year, but it is nice to see his own desire to work on Men in Black III. This is a step in the right direction for the production and bringing Baker on board should prove that they will stick to the live-action look, rather than fall into the all-CGI trap.

The film could have easily followed Green Lantern‘s footsteps with all-CGI characters or even Avatar‘s realistic use of motion capture. But movies always benefit from the most realistic approach and Rick Baker brings that element of practical effects.

Rick Baker's previous work on both Men in Black films

Baker’s makeup on Vincent D’Onofrio in the original Men in Black was one of the more impressive aspects of the entire film. But it is also his imprint on the background characters, like the aliens walking around at MIB Headquarters that were fun to look at. Going back to his days on Star Wars, those secondary characters bring about some of his most interesting work.

Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement has signed on to play the lead villain. His extra-terrestrial nature may lend itself to another Rick Baker masterpiece.

Josh Brolin is rumored to play a younger Agent Kay, with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones allegedly set to reprise their roles of Agent Jay and Agent Kay respectively.

Men in Black III is set to hit theaters May 25th, 2012.

Source: LA Times via Collider