The duo starred in the first buddy cop film back in 1995 alongside Téa Leoni and returned to the big screen for the 2003 sequel.
Nearly two decades later, Lawrence and Smith reunited for the third flick in the franchise: 2020’s Bad Boys for Life. The third installment was a box office smash, and speculation of a fourth picture quickly began to spark.
“It was big,” Lawrence recalled of the first movie. “For us to come together and prove that we can deliver, and we can pull people into the box office — that two Black stars, two sitcom stars, could make money at the box office — [was huge]. It also was an important pivot for him personally and professionally. I didn’t go to college, so I felt TV was my college years. I felt with movies, I had graduated; it was just different.”
Despite the endearing success of the Bad Boys franchise, the fourth project seemingly lost traction following Smith’s 2022 Oscars incident. After the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum slapped Chris Rock on stage, the Academy banned him from all Academy events, including the Oscars, for the next 10 years. Smith, for his part, apologized for his actions.
Several months after the drama, Lawrence gave an update on the future of the franchise in July 2022. “We got one more at least,” the Martin alum said in an interview with Ebony magazine at the time. Five months later, Jerry Bruckheimer — who produced the previous Bad Boys films — weighed in on the status of the film and said he could “absolutely” see Smith still involved.
“Will made a mistake, unfortunately,” the producer told the Hollywood Reporter in December 2022. “That’s not who he is. He’s a phenomenal actor and there’s always forgiveness in the world. And hopefully, the audience will forgive him.”
In January 2023, the Bad Boys actors teamed up to reveal that the film was officially in pre-production and they were both officially returning as Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey.
“Yo, I’ve got an announcement. Y’all better stop scrolling,” the Smith said in a video as he drove with “Shake Ya Tailfeather” — which was a single from the Bad Boys II soundtrack— playing in the background. “I wish I was you, not knowing what I’m about to show me.”
Smith pulled up to Lawrence’s house with the comedian walking out the door yelling, “It’s about that time!” The Men in Black star responded, “Bad boys for life baby.”
In March 2023, it was confirmed that Vanessa Hudgens was reprising her role as weapons expert Kelly, whom she portrayed in the third film. While the details of the action flick’s plot have not been released yet, Deadline confirmed at the time that filming was to begin “within the next few months.”
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