Liam Neeson is in negotiations to join Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Sony’s “Men in Black” spinoff, sources tell Variety. F. Gary Gray, who previously helmed “Straight Outta Compton” and “The Fate of the Furious,” is on board to direct.
The studio fast-tracked the project earlier this fall, setting Matt Holloway and Art Marcum to pen the script and dating a May 17, 2019, release.
The original movie followed Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, who played agents of a secret organization known as the Men in Black and protected Earth from intergalactic bad guys. The first film was huge hit in 1997 and produced two more sequels.
Neeson will play the head of the U.K. branch of the agency. Rip Torn portrayed the head of the American division in the original pics.
Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producing, with Steven Spielberg executive producing. David Beaubaire is overseeing the film for Sony.
The role would be a change of pace for the veteran star, who is known more for his tough-as-nails action roles in movies like the “Taken” franchise, “Non-Stop,” and, most recently, “The Commuter.” His most recent comedic role was as the villain in Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”
Neeson can be seen next in Steve McQueen’s “Widows.” He is repped by CAA and Artists Rights Group.