Muppets director James Bobin confirmed long-rumoured plans for a 23 Jump Street and Men in Black crossover on Wednesday, saying he was excited about directing the project.
The idea of the movie mash-up emerged in an email leaked during the 2014 Sony hack crisis regarding Jump Street star Jonah Hill’s involvement — but the studio has not so far commented.
“It’s two brilliant ideas worked together into one amazingly brilliant idea and its really fun,” he told journalists at a media event in Los Angeles to publicise his new movie, Alice Through The Looking Glass.
“I can’t say much about it right now because it’s obviously super early days. But I’m very excited about it because it’s just an amazing idea, which really works, and in a way that feels incredibly brave and interesting and original.”
Asked if he was definitely on board to direct, he said he “couldn’t possibly comment.” But entertainment industry weekly Variety reported last week that he was slated to replace Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with Sony eyeing a June production start date.
The pair directed the first two Jump Street films, but were unable to take on the crossover as they were focusing on an untitled Star Wars anthology film focusing on Han Solo, Variety said.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are expected to return to reprise their roles as Jenko and Schmidt, although Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are not said to be returning as Agents Jay and Kay.
Bobin, who cut his teeth writing and directing for British television, helped create comedy actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G, Borat and Bruno characters, as well as directing two Muppets films.
Bobin said recruiting his long-time friend Baron Cohen, who plays the antagonist Time in the Alice sequel, was critical to his involvement in the movie.
“We’ve already got a bad guy, the Red Queen, so we don’t need another one. But I thought it would be interesting to have a guy whereby he was this omnipotent being, but he’s also a twit.
“There’s no one better at playing the confident idiot trope than Sacha Baron Cohen.”
Alice Through The Looking Glass opens in US theatres on May 27.