Joe Carnahan quit 'Bad Boys 3' after clashing with Will Smith

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys (Credit: Columbia Pictures)

After spending years as the archetypal on-again, off-again sequel, Bad Boys III – aka Bad Boys For Life – pulled itself from years in development hell and wrapped last week.

With Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back as detectives Mike Lowrey and Martin Burnett, it hopes to re-energise the movie franchise that gave director Michael Bay his big break.

It’s helmed by Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, but at one time, The A-Team director Joe Carnahan was on board to both write and direct.

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He signed on in 2015, and even secured a release date, but after being delayed, he walked from the project in March, 2017, with ‘scheduling conflicts’ given as the reason.

But Carnahan, who made movies like The Grey and Narc, has now suggested that it was more to do with what Smith wanted from the movie.

He told Collider: “I love Will, he’s a great guy. I always say this, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Will Smith – you find me a motherf**ker in the modern era that’s walked away from movies with those guys and is still working in some capacity.

“I just know myself. 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.”

Joe Carnahan (Credit: AP)

He goes on to say: “I’m telling you, the end of my original Bad Boys script is one of the best endings I’ve written in any movie.”

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Carnahan still has a writing credit on Bad Boys 3, and his premise of Mike and Martin now over the hill but joined by a new team of young cops is all still central to the plot.

“There’s an ammo team, the kind of young go-getters like the 21 Jump Street kids, and there’s still the idea of these guys being kind of 50 and maybe over-the-hill… Like that kind of stuff. There’s still all that,” he added.

Also starring Paola Núñez, Jacob Scipio, Vanessa Hudgens, DJ Khaled and Joe Pantoliano, returning as Captain Howard, the movie is due for release in January, 2020.