Will Smith Explains Why ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Took So Long to Make

Will Smith on the Tonight Show (Credit: NBC)

Bad Boys arrived in theaters 25 years ago, and it’s been 17 years since Bad Boys II. Now the countdown is on for the arrival of Bad Boys for Life.

After a series of false starts, the action sequel starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence will open next week. Smith sat down for an interview Thursday on The Tonight Show, and talked about why Bad Boys for Life took so long.

“What we tried to do, that was really critical and important to me, is not try to just do the old movies again. I was like, ‘You had to take into consideration the time, had to take into consideration how the characters would have grown,'” Smith told host Jimmy Fallon.

Related Story: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Trailer – Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Can’t Be Stopped

Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
Bad Boys for Life (Sony)

The rapper and actor admitted some of his previous sequels weren’t that great, and said he didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

“The reason it took so long is because I didn’t want to make it as a cash grab… I had fumbled a couple of my last sequels. I wasn’t happy with the Men in Black sequel and I just really wanted to make sure that this was a standalone film that people would have a real, brand new experience with,” he explained.

The first Bad Boys film came out in 1995, and Bad Boys II arrived in 2003. The Bad Boys saga continues in part 3 with Miami-Dade detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) talking about retirement. But criminals don’t rest, and the two cops get pulled into more violent confrontations, shootouts, and car chases.

The film is directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and co-stars Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, and Joe Pantoliano.

Bad Boys for Life arrives in theaters on January 17.