'Bad Boys for Life' Will Feature Multiple Villains and R-Rated Action, Says Director Joe Carnahan

MarM Photo by: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection(10300840)
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in ‘Bad Boys’ (Photo: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

It’s been 13 years since Will Smith and Martin Lawrence last paired up as Miami narcotics agents in Bad Boys II — and almost 13 years since people began speculating about a third entry in the franchise. Now, finally, it appears that production is finally moving forward on a new sequel.Joe Carnahan assumes the director’s chair from Michael Bay, who directed the first two films. In a lengthy new interview, Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team) revealed the reasons he was drawn to the project, and what fans can expect from Bad Boys for Life.

Speaking to Collider’s Steve Weintraub, Carnahan said his main attraction to tackling a new Bad Boys film was the rapport shared between Smith and Lawrence.

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“It’s a very grounded, as much as it can be, Miami narcotics/robbery/homicide cops [story], two lifelong friends, these things are all appealing to me,” Carnahan said. “That and knowing and doing something that I thought would be interesting, that would be an interesting challenge. Because those other films are Michael Bay’s and if you’re gonna come in you really gotta take it, you really gotta own that franchise. I came at it from a screenwriter’s standpoint and wrote my own version of the story, which is always exciting and fun. That’s what it was, being able to, as a writer, put my own spin on that world, more than anything else.”

As for what to expect from the storyline, Carnahan is predictably cagey, although he did state that the plot will take into account the amount of time that’s passed since Bad Boys II debuted: “We’re certainly not ignoring that, and that is a part of it. What happens 15 years on and where’s your life at now and what did you foresee yourself, it’s really rich material in that way. That part I’m really excited about, it’s a lot of exploring where are they now.”

And as for the villain challenging Smith and Lawrence’s cops? Carnahan wouldn’t divulge his or her identity yet — but he did make it clear that there will be more than one antagonist this time around.

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“It wasn’t challenging [coming up with the antagonist]. It should’ve been. You’ve got all these years in the game and you’ve made all these enemies, you’ve accumulated all this, so in that respect it would be easy. But I don’t wanna say anything else because I don’t wanna ruin the delicacy of who our antagonist is, because I think it’s very cool. It’s not one person. It’s a multi-headed hydra, I’ll say that. It works beautifully.”

As far as Carnahan is concerned, Bad Boys for Life will follow in its predecessors’ footsteps by delivering R-rated action — although given that the film is still undergoing rewrites, it’s possible that could change between now and the film’s scheduled Jan. 18, 2018 release date. Click over to Collider to read Carnahan’s entire chat.

‘Bad Boys II’: Watch a trailer