Joe Carnahan, who was set to write and direct Bad Boys for Life, left the project due to creative clashes with Will Smith. Carnahan's departure resulted in the movie losing its 2017 release date, but it has since found its footing and will release next year. Sony has brought in rising filmmaking duo Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah to helm the project and production on the film recently wrapped.
The original film arrived in theaters back in 1995 and a sequel followed eight years later; and though their critical reception wasn't the best, both films were major box office successes. Bad Boys marked the feature film directional debut of Michael Bay, who is now best known for his involvement with the Transformers franchise. The film also helped launch Smith's career, as he would go on to star in several major movies in the future. Bad Boys for Life will see Smith reunite with co-star Martin Lawrence to reprise their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. Carnahan was attached to the project for years, but finally stepped away citing scheduling conflicts and/or creative differences as the reason. Now, Carnahan has revealed what specifically led to his departure from Bad Boys for Life.
According to ComicBook, Carnahan's decision to leave Bad Boys for Life was due to creative clashes with Will Smith. According to Carnahan, Smith didn't prefer his take on the film, which led to his exit from the project. Carnahan mentions that he thinks Smith is a great guy, but working with him wasn't going well. He then mentioned that the story he envisioned and was excited to bring to life wasn't getting made. When discussing his exit from the project, Carnahan said:
“I just know myself, man. And I thought what we were doing at that point was the law of diminishing returns. I wasn’t servicing the story that I was really excited about telling, that the studio had greenlit. And again, this isn’t to throw shade at Will it’s your face on the poster, it’s your name on the poster, you need to do things the way you want them done.”
Bad Boys for Life has faced several stumbling blocks over the years, and Carnahan's departure was another major blow. Sony scrambled to find a replacement, and luckily two were brought on to fill in Carnahan's role as director. And, while he has clarified what ultimately led to his departure from the project, it is not known what he and Smith specifically battled over regarding the script. Speculation about what Smith didn't favor in the script will certainly be discussed among fans of the series, but the truth may never be made clear.
Regardless of the creative frustrations, the movie has overcome all its obstacles and production has finally wrapped. After years of wondering and waiting, the third entry in the action-comedy series is finally going to become a reality. However, once Bad Boys for Life releases next year, fans will no doubt wonder how things might have played out differently had Carnahan remained on board.
- Bad Boys for Life (2020) release date: Jan 17, 2020