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June 13, 2019 6:00 AM   Subscribe

An Oral History of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Perfect Men in Black ‘Sugar Water’ Scene On the eve of the release of the latest Men In Black movie, Rachel Handler at Vulture looks back at one of most memorable scenes from the original film.
What a lot of people don’t notice is when Tommy Lee and Will come to her house the next day to interview her, she offers them lemonade. Tommy doesn’t take it, but if you watch Will, he takes a sip, then spits it back into his glass. The reason being there’s no sugar in the lemonade because “Eggar” drank all the sugar. It’s subtle but hilarious. That was Will’s idea.
posted by Servo5678 (28 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Men In Black films hinge on the villains, and D'Onofrio's "Eggar" is the fuckin gold standard.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:25 AM on June 13 [15 favorites]


Oh thank you for this. GF and I rewatched MIB a few weeks ago for the first time in like twenty years and I was wondering every question about this scene (and definitely caught the lemonade brick joke in the later scene.)

Thinking of the original casting choices, Eastwood would have been fine, probably, though nowhere near as sublime. Chris O'Donnell would have sucked out loud and I never understood what Hollywood was so horny for him about. I guess every age needs its own Ryan O'Neal.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:30 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


What D'Onofrio is doing with his body is phenomenal. It's a master-class in body acting. He completely sells that he's an insect wearing a hollowed out human suit.
posted by Fizz at 6:32 AM on June 13 [39 favorites]


I for one welcome oral histories of ever-increasingly minute minutiae. Pass me a plate of beans, let's overthink this motherfucker.
posted by duffell at 6:32 AM on June 13 [21 favorites]


This was much better than expected. I liked the movie, obviously, but didn't expect to learn anything from the article.
posted by mumimor at 6:34 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


He completely sells that he's an insect wearing a hollowed out human suit.

I’ve heard D'Onofrio is such a method actor he had him self hollowed about by an insectile intelligence to prepare for the role. Top that, De Nero!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:38 AM on June 13 [22 favorites]


Really enjoyed this article. I'm not a big fan of D'Onofrio, but he was magnificent in the original MIB. Without him, that movie would have been just as crap as the next two.
posted by briank at 6:41 AM on June 13


By the end of the Men in Black shoot, I realized Vincent was playing John Huston, specifically from Chinatown. When he’s talking to David Cross in the morgue and he says, “I left something here. A pet cat.” You can hear him doing Huston.

above average!
posted by From Bklyn at 6:43 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I was glad to see this article because I, too, think about this scene a lot, especially in crowded, sparkling social situations, wherein I frequently feel like I am merely piloting a skin suit.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:00 AM on June 13 [13 favorites]


I feel like a week doesn’t go by where either my partner or I say, “SUG-AR. In WATER.”
posted by gc at 7:32 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I see Edgar as Kafka's long-delayed revenge. I only wish Edgar had reached into his pocket, and, pulling out a hidden jelly doughnut, waved away the sugar water. Nice callback.

If Eastwood had played K, you know only one man could be J: that's right. Denzel.
posted by zaixfeep at 7:35 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I am 100% in for John Huston voice. Every time I watch Chinatown, I end up talking like Huston for the rest of the day. Excellent choice on Vincent’s part.
posted by valkane at 7:41 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I now kind of want to see a movie with D’Onofrio and Daniel Day Lewis just John Hustoning at each other.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:01 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


That was a joy to read.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:09 AM on June 13


TIL that Will Smith “has really nasty farts”.
posted by migurski at 9:15 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Is that a Wilhelm scream when he gets grabbed?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:59 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I have a deep love for the way Siobhan says "Eggar, your skin is hangin off yer bones". I tend to say it to my husband when he's stumbling around half awake in the morning.
posted by Constant Reader at 10:19 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Please Kill Me has a lot to answer for.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 10:21 AM on June 13


"Wow, if Vincent can work with Kubrick with no direction, I’ll be in a good place when I give him no direction."
posted by tobascodagama at 1:02 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I like Sonnenfeld's comment about directing towards flatness, because hot damn the Addams Family movies wouldn't have worked at all without that instinct.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:37 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I have a deep love for the way Siobhan says "Eggar, your skin is hangin off yer bones". I tend to say it to my husband when he's stumbling around half awake in the morning.

My wife also loves that delivery and says it to me often.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:41 PM on June 13


Siobhan Fallon Hogan is criminally underrated, for sure.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:33 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


From the Vulture article:

How did they cast D’Onofrio, who at the time had yet to appear in either The Cell or Law & Order: Criminal Intent?

Sputter.

Well, perhaps because he had already appeared in Full Metal Jacket, Strange Days, The Player, and Ed Wood?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:16 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


I always liked the joke that sugar is the cow's name: "I've never seen Sugar do that!"
Also most of the skinning-Edgar scene is the cow's reaction.
posted by netowl at 9:01 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of D'Onofrio

Look at this picture do u really want 2get in2 it w/me
posted by mpbx at 8:42 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I'm not a big fan of D'Onofrio, but he was magnificent in the original MIB. Without him, that movie would have been just as crap as the next two.

Nah, even if you removed all scenes featuring the main villains entirely, MiB would still be entertaining, and MiB II would still be a bunch of unfunny shtick that was ironically far more cartoonish than the actual MiB cartoon.
posted by Wandering Idiot at 3:45 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Sonnenfeld: The concept of an action-adventure comedy is an oxymoron. Almost without fail, the comedy kills the reality of the action, or the action has to stop for some sort of funny line. And it doesn’t make sense. If the action is too scary or too gross or graphic, it kills the comedy. It’s a very hard line. I remember seeing Will Smith in Hancock. I loved the first two-thirds of it. I was so jealous I didn’t get to direct it. It was funny, charming. Then in the third act, the tone changes, and it becomes a darker thriller. I think the audience wants one tone. Another example of that is Bad Boys II — inside the three hours, or what felt like three hours, there are decapitations and car crashes that go on forever. But inside of those three hours, there’s an extraordinarily funny 90-minute comedy. If I’d gotten a chance to recut Michael Bay’s movie, it would have been a hilarious movie.
emphasis mine.
posted by mikelieman at 4:56 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I loved the part in the interview where D'Onofrio correctly calls how impressed Sonnenfeld was about him drinking so much actual sugar water.
posted by Salamandrous at 2:35 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


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