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5 Things You Never Knew About ‘Men in Black’

Watch 'Men in Black' Now

“Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) When Men in Black landed in theaters for the July 4th weekend in 1997, it brought a new sense of cool to the sci-fi comedy genre. From the dark suits and shades to Will Smith’s #1 rap single, the big-budget adventure had a style all its own, and it quickly became a smash hit drawing in audiences of all ages. The original film was so huge it spawned two sequels, an animated TV show, video games, and even a theme park ride. But even 17 years after it became a Hollywood sensation, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes stories that you might not know.

  1. The Original ‘Men’ Were Mean

The movie is based on a little-known comic book series, The Men in Black, created by Lowell Cunningham. Originally, only six issues were published in the early ‘90s, it was about black-suited secret agents who kept the public in the dark about aliens on Earth. But unlike the movie, the agents in the book also dealt with other supernatural beings like werewolves, zombies, and demons. And the characters weren’t nearly as nice, resorting to blatant destruction and even murder to keep their secrets.

  1. Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith Weren’t the First Choices

It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the lead roles of Agents K and J. Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood was reportedly approached to play K originally, but he turned it down. Eastwood and Jones would later venture into outer space together in 2000’s Space Cowboys. And Chris O’Donnell was originally considered to play Agent J, but he also passed. It was director Barry Sonnefeld’s wife who spotted Smith on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air who first suggested him for the role.

Original MIB - Eastwood and ODonnell

Original MIB – Eastwood and ODonnell

  1. It Was Much More Complicated

The screenplay had a detailed backstory about two warring alien races who were battling over the missing galaxy that ends up in the hands of the Men in Black. When test audiences watched an early cut, though, they found the multiple aliens confusing. So the filmmakers decided to change it to just one type of alien threatening the planet. Luckily for them, most of the dialogue explaining the story was spoken by aliens, so the filmmakers were able to replace dialogue and rewrite subtitles to simplify everything.



  1. A Last-Minute Change Cost Big Bucks

Originally, the crew filmed an ending where Agent J and the villainous alien bug had more of a philosophical discussion than a big fight. But the filmmakers decided it didn’t live up to the action-packed tone of the rest of the film. So they had to scrap the full-size, robotic alien created by the film’s Oscar-winning makeup designer, Rick Baker, and replace it with a fully computer-generated version at the cost of $4.5 million dollars. They did save money on one effect, though: when J angers the bug by squishing cockroaches, Will Smith was actually stomping on mustard packets.



  1. Steven Spielberg Is an Alien

Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg produced the film, but he also makes a very brief cameo appearance. When Agent K is showing J all of the Earth’s “known aliens” on a view screen, Spielberg shows up as one of the extraterrestrials in disguise. Other famous faces on the screen include Star Wars creator George Lucas, Danny DeVito, Dionne Warwick, Al Roker, designer Isaac Mizrahi, Newt Gingrich, Sylvester Stallone, and the movie’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld.


Today, Men in Black is one of the rare blockbuster hits that is just as entertaining today as when it first hit the big screen, and it has laughs and thrills that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. That’s why it’s a featured film selection at SpiritClips, the only streaming service that handpicks high-quality movies that are appropriate for all ages. You can try out SpiritClips for free for one week, and subscribe for as little as $2.99 a month. See it all at

Phone Message Film Releases Today, WATCH IT HERE NOW!


     Recording a voicemail has become a New Age pressure. These seemingly little recordings require thoughtful preparation, the right wording, appropriate timing, and have the capability of inciting profound conversations. Perceived as simply mechanical and emotionless, answering machines unconsciously expose secrets, share moments, confront rejection, extend invitations and help us stay connected to friends and family. A voicemail can also be a valuable tool to help us communicate a message that isn’t always easy in person; the kind of message that will undoubtedly change the life of the recipient. In the case of our new SpiritClips original film Phone Message, a message can become a beautiful gift both left and received by two people.

     Phone Message is a short film about April Hart, a young woman who was adopted at birth by loving parents, who reveals her tribulations of leaving the perfect voicemail in an attempt to contact her biological mother for the first time. April Hart was focused on exploring her curiosities and taking a risk, which is an essential part of growing up. She begins her quest of self-discovery by recovering her past to build a platform for creating her future. SpiritClips coworkers, Director, Cristina Malavenda and Writer, Iliana Guevara, came up with the premise of the storyline formulated by a challenge to develop a captivating real time, three-minute film.

After interviewing Iliana Guevara, it was apparent the heart and soul shining behind Phone Message directly corresponded to her belief in the underlying power of the storylines motif. Guevara wanted to share an experience of what it would be like to initiate conversation with someone after a long period of silence and investigate the curiosities adoption may lead some young adults to solving. Extensive research on adoption and technology communication studies played an impactful role on how the script was written and how the film was directed. The situation is realistically portrayed and leads viewers to “put [themselves] in April Heart’s shoes”, states Guevara.

The premise of the film focuses on gaining the confidence it takes to commit to following through with a life changing decision. Staying positive and believing in the benefits of your situation outweighing any loss is also an important theme in the film. Maintaining self-belief that we are strong enough to withstand possible emotional repercussions due to taking a leap of faith is an awareness that should be encouraged.

When asked what viewers should take away from watching Phone Message, Rob Fried, SpiritClips CEO and acclaimed film Producer, replied

“It is possible to give a gift to a child that can last a lifetime in just one moment. Parenting is a long-term commitment and consistently an ongoing, daily effort. A real “parent” is someone who is there.”

Fried also noted that there are important events in every child’s life that become a transformative moment shared between child and parent. Loving reinforcements embraced with support by family members help build strong, everlasting ties. Sometimes these ties are initiated late in life, as in April Hart’s case. She was given two gifts from her mother the moment she was born. One, being her genetic musical talents and two, a specific melody that later in life became the basis for her career. Rob Fried was excited to support Phone Message because of the beautiful story it shared.

Overall, the goal of SpiritClips is to share stories of hope and inspiration. Fried is confident in his staff having “amazing, young filmmakers working to change lives for the better”. He noted that there are commonalities between all the employees at SpiritClips; they are driven to encourage others and all possess the same positive mentality. SpiritClips original productions are all uniquely interesting topics that appeal to Fried and are pure, as well as heartening. Launching SpiritClips granted a spirit of freedom that allowed Fried to showcase his personal sensibility without the influence of the “Hollywood Machine” dictating what to show the public masses. Phone Message is just one of the many great original films created at SpiritClips, so please click the link below to watch April Hart’s destiny. It debuts today, October 29.

I encourage you to share this film and its message with your friends, family and loved ones.

Phone Message Film

Discussions and topics that you can open related to this blog post;

– Modes of communication and their differences.
– The social impact of the cell phone.
– Are voicemails too impersonal or more thoughtful than a text, email and letter?

Four Immortal Chaplains Leave One Everlasting Message


    Four Chaplains Writer and Director, James Hernandez, a SpiritClips film editor, teamed with our in-house writer, John Dion, to create a moving three minute motion graphic documentary about a tragic yet courageous saga of four heroic men. Debuting this Friday, October 18, 2013, Four Chaplains depicts the catastrophe of a U.S. Army transport ship that was torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II.

Hernandez developed a desire for constructing the storyline, initially sparked by Dion’s idea for the film, due to his interest in the history and underlying interfaith religious undertones. Each of the four Chaplains, all ranked as first Lieutenants, varied in faith and background but communally shared a selfless dedication to saving lives aboard the sinking ship. Throughout the pandemonium aboard the dark, moonlit U.S.A.T. Dorchester, Methodist minister George Fox, Reform-Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reformed Church of America minister Clark Poling and Roman Catholic priest John Washington stood shining among the frightened passengers calmly assisting in the evacuation of the other 900 soldiers and civilians. Once the battle seemed to be overcome by the frigid North Atlantic waters, the four Chaplains linked arms, sang encouraging hymns and not only sacrificed their own life vests to four other helpless young men, but ultimately sacrificed their lives.

The tale of these men can be summed up in the memorials mission statement,

“to further the cause of unity without uniformity’ by encouraging goodwill and cooperation among all people”.

Accounts from the 230 survivors summarized grandiose disbelief and genuine gratitude of these four honored Chaplains because they brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Keeping the powerful stories from those who endured the wrath of this calamity in mind, SpiritClips realized what a beautiful message had been born from the disaster. Our production team took the necessary steps to make sure the story would be conveyed with as much passion as the Chaplains possessed and the survivors still carry with them today. Traveling to the memorial located in the former South Philadelphia Naval Yard, photographs were taken, recounts were duly noted and informational brochures were collected as source material to ensure a truthful representation for the filming. Since May, production has grown from planning, filming, execution and today it’s release. Please enjoy the short film and the touching, inspirational message behind the documentary. Do something, even if it’s slightly impactful, to better someone’s life today. Share positivity and encourage the influences of how far a small act of kindness can go.

Click the link below to watch Four Chaplains:

Four Chaplains

If you don’t already, please follow us on Facebook for updates and encouraging words. Also, visit to sign up for a membership to be sent weekly heartwarming, thought provoking and inspirational original short films created by SpiritClips.

Watch Hallmark Hall of Fame’s FIRELIGHT

Troubled young women in a correctional facility seek redemption by volunteering for an elite firefighting program founded by a passionate counselor.

ON Spirit: Lila Downs

Lila DownsIn this ON Spirit talk, musician Lila Downs discusses how her mixed heritage has inspired her music. The daughter of a Mexican mother and white father, Downs describes trying to fit into Anglo culture and how she eventually learned to express her self and embrace her passion for life. Watch Now

Watch Celebrities Share ‘Quiet Triumphs’

NEW on, Quiet Triumphs presents a tremendously personal side of celebrities as they face personal issues of challenges and adversity. The signature Odyssey Networks series, available on, is a touching, joyful, practical, sometimes funny, yet always moving acknowledgment that despite the tough times, people can move ahead and live patient, strong, and faithful lives. Premium Members of may watch the complete series of episodes as part of their subscription package.

Visitors may WATCH A FREE EPISODE (featuring singer Ricky Skaggs) of the Quiet Triumphs series by visiting today! The episode will be available for free viewing through February 15th, 2012.

The talk-format series is hosted by Mary Alice Williams, an Emmy-award-winning television journalist, and former news anchor with both NBC and CNN. She has appeared regularly on NBC News Special Reports and theNBC Nightly News.

Honoring Black History Month: Watch MONTGOMERY free

In honor of Black History Month, is releasing the SpiritClips Originals film, Montgomery, for free viewing. Montgomery depicts the moment in 1955 when Rosa Parks, a Black woman in the segregated South, became an integral part of American history by refusing to give up her bus seat to a White passenger. WATCH MONTGOMERY FREE on

We invite you to also visit our the SpiritClips YouTube Channel to watch behind the scenes footage of the filming of Montgomery.


View Press Release

SpiritClips Originals Presents a Sneak-peek for Veterans Day

In this SpiritClips Originals documentary, Veterans return to Vietnam on a trip of inspiration and healing. Coming soon to (Click image to watch a sneak-peek of this film.)


In honor of Veterans Day, 2011, is sharing this sneak-peek of our upcoming SpiritClips Originals film, which documents the moving stories of Vietnam Veterans returning to Vietnam on a journey of inspiration and healing.

We encourage you to remember and honor our Vietnam Veterans by sharing this inspiring film clip.

This film is as yet untitled. It will be available exclusively on For updates about its release, please join our mailing by becoming a free member of

SpiritClips Originals Presents ‘Chivalry In The Sky’

In honor of Veterans Day, 2011, is sharing a free viewing of our SpiritClips Originals film, Chivalry In The Sky, now through November 14th, 2011.

Based on the true story of bravery and compassion between WWII pilots Charles Brown and Franz Stigler. A young WWII pilot is put to the test when his B-17 bomber is singled out by 15 Nazi Fighters.

Watch 'Chivalry In The Sky' this Veterans Day 2011 weekend, courtesy of (Click image to view film)

Read more about the origins of this inspiring film and the story of the two WWII veterans who forged an unlikely bond of ‘Chivalry In The Sky’.

We encourage you to remember and honor our Vets by sharing this inspiring story of the two WWII Veterans who forged an unlikely bond of ‘Chivalry In The Sky’.

Extraordinary Life Gallery

The SpiritClips staff hopes our latest release, “Extraordinary Life”, allows you to see how special your memories are in the context of our national history. Below are some of the filmcards that we’ve made and shared with our loved ones. We hope that they encourage you to make and celebrate your own “Extraordinary Lives”.

Make your own “Extraordinary Life” here.

Executive Producer Craig Ginsberg sent this personalized Valentine’s Day filmcard to his wife.

Executive Producer Tyrrell Shaffner made this personalized filmcard for her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

Editor Mitch Rouse made this filmcard for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day.

Interaction Designer Ellen Perry made her card to celebrate the canines in her life.

Nare Mkrtchyan made this personalized card to make her boyfriend smile on Valentine’s Day