Bad Boys For Life

Friday 5th March 2021

25 years after Bad Boys and 17 years after Bad Boys II, from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, it's the old school versus new school as Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back for one last ride in Bad Boys for Life.
Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nuñez, Kate del Castillo, Joe Pantoliano
Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Jerry Bruckheimer
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
1 hour 59 minutes

That chorus from the hit song Bad Boys, by the Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle, became the memorable anthem for not one but two pop culture landmarks, including the blockbuster Bad Boys motion picture franchise. It speaks to the films' attitude, vibe, beat - and to the two global superstars who headline them.

The first Bad Boys film introduced Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who each had previously headlined a hit television series, to motion picture action-comedy fans. Smith and Lawrence, under the direction of action maestro Michael Bay, electrified audiences with their performances as Miami narcotics detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. The film's triumphant reception led to an even more successful second chapter, Bad Boys II (2003). Now, Marcus and Mike are back for one last ride in Bad Boys for Life.

Everybody's favourite crime-fighting duo is back on their beat - and they're as fun, dangerous, and unpredictable as ever. Smith and Lawrence return in two of their signature roles, Lowery and Burnett, but this time they're joining forces with an elite Miami P.D. team to take down the vengeful head of a drug cartel.

The film also stars Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Kate Del Castillo, Nicky Jam, and Joe Pantoliano.

Moroccan-born Belgian filmmakers Adil & Bilall (Black, Gangsta, FX's Snowfall) direct from a screenplay by Chris Bremner and Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan and a story by Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan. The producers are Jerry Bruckheimer, Will Smith, and Doug Belgrad, with Chad Oman, Barry Waldman, Mike Stenson, and James Lassiter serving as executive producers.

The director of photography is Robrecht Heyvaert, the production designer is Jon Billington, the editors are Peter McNulty and Dan Lebental, ACE, the costume designer is Dayna Pink, and the music is by Lorne Balfe.

25 years after Bad Boys, 17 years after Bad Boys II, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back for one last ride in Bad Boys for Life. For producer Jerry Bruckheimer, there's one simple reason why the time is right for Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to return to their signature roles. "It's always the right time for good movies, fun movies, entertaining movies, like this one is", says Bruckheimer. "People love good entertainment. We have these two wonderful actors coming together with their humor and their edge. It's very exciting for an audience and for me to make a movie like this."

And Bruckheimer says that though so many years have passed, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have picked up right where Lowrey and Burnett left off. "It's the same fun as it was twenty years ago", he says. "They have a good time. Will is the friendliest person in the world, and Martin is just funny - anytime you cut to Martin, you're gonna get a laugh. You want to be in the presence of these two guys. That's what it's all about."

While there had been talks since Bad Boys II to create another Bad Boys event picture, it was a years-long process before Bruckheimer began working with his executive producer, Chad Oman, to develop fresh ideas for a third installment. Bruckheimer, one of the industry's most successful and honored filmmakers, is also recognised for helping define the cop film genre for a new generation, through films such as Bad Boys and Beverly Hills Cop. "If Jerry and Don [Simpson, Bruckheimer's late partner] didn't invent the buddy cop genre, they were certainly key contributors to it", explains producer Doug Belgrad. "The Bad Boys franchise is funny, packed with action, and has lived in audiences' imaginations for over twenty years."

The key to the Bad Boys saga is the energy and chemistry between its stars. The relationship between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is so powerful and entertaining that today it seems obvious to pair them - but that wasn't always the case. Back in 1995, Bruckheimer was part of the team of filmmakers that had to figure it out. Before Will and Martin made history, Bruckheimer notes that the film's development went through a number of other pairings - including Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz - that never quite made it off the ground. "We had an idea that we loved, and we had to figure out who could we cast in it. An agent called me and said, 'You really should meet this guy, Will Smith.' He was on Fresh Prince at the time and I think he had done one small movie. He came into my office and this guy's tall, he's handsome, he's funny, he's got an infectious personality, and I said, 'He's the guy. I really want to make it with him.' And then Martin had a TV show that was doing quite well, and so we put the two of them together."

The fun of the movie in 1995, is the same fun in 2020: the odd-couple pairing of Lowrey and Burnett. "They're entirely different", Bruckheimer says. "One is a bachelor and wealthy. The other is a middle-class family man, a straight-ahead guy who tries to do things the right way." But while Smith and Lawrence are still the bad boy cops you know and love, the new film picks up the dynamic duo after many years have passed, so the guys have certainly evolved - well, at least Marcus has. "Mike is the same guy he's always been - he loves catching the bad guys", Bruckheimer continues, "but Marcus is starting to think it's time to retire. Mike has slowed down a little, but doesn't want to accept it, while Marcus realizes he's slowed down and tries to make Mike appreciate that."

As Bad Boys for Life opens, a sexy new 992-Generation Porsche (VIN number 001) screeches through the streets of Miami; as usual, Burnett and Lowrey are in hot pursuit ... of something. At last, they somehow make it to their destination, only to reveal there is no shootout to be had or bad guys to 'cuff. The two have arrived at a hospital ... just in time to see the birth of Marcus' granddaughter.

For Bruckheimer, it's an opening that's perfectly emblematic of the tone of the Bad Boys films. "The chases are fantastic, because there's so much humor in them", says Bruckheimer. "There's edge too, so it's serious, but it's always peppered with fun."

"We wanted to immediately embrace the fact that time has gone by for Mike and Marcus, as it does for everyone", says Smith. "The opening sequence with Marcus becoming a grandfather is new territory that launches these characters' stories into another chapter."

Smith's on-screen partner adds that he couldn't wait to "get back with Will to do another Bad Boys movie. Audiences wanted to see us together again because the two characters work so well together. But as Marcus says in the film, 'This ain't the same old song. This here's the remix.'"

To helm Bad Boys for Life, Bruckheimer and Oman brought aboard two young filmmakers, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Oman recalls how he and Bruckheimer became aware of the talented partners. "About four years ago, we screened a movie called Black, an action-crime drama about gang warfare in Brussels, which Adil and Bilall had directed, and we loved it. The film had so much edge, texture and beauty. It's very emotional but also intense. We loved their work on it, and always kept them in mind for a new Bad Boys film."

It was a match made in heaven, as both directors cite Bad Boys as being influential in their careers. "We grew up with those movies", states El Arbi, with Fallah adding, "We're the luckiest fanboys ever because the Bad Boys pictures are iconic - and now we've directed one."

Smith says the two filmmakers were indeed a perfect fit for the world of Bad Boys: "Adil and Bilall's energy is just so right, and they're coming at the film with a different angle. They have so much love for this franchise and the characters, and it was great to work with them."

An unexpected bonus for the two filmmakers was the opportunity to not only meet but direct one of their idols, filmmaker Michael Bay, who helmed the first two Bad Boys pictures, as well other blockbusters, such as Armageddon and the Transformers films, and has a cameo in this film.

Even with their love for what Bay did in the earlier films, El Arbi and Fallah were eager to change things up. They take the franchise in a new direction, while keeping all the action and the electric Lowery/Burnett dynamic that have thrilled and entertained audiences since the arrival of the first film in 1999. "There's a ton of action in this movie, and things get crazy, so all the fans of the first two films have a lot to look forward to", points out El Arbi.

While the relentless on-screen action is a key element, the filmmakers acknowledge that the real excitement in the Bad Boys films is always about...well, the Bad Boys themselves. "As soon as Will and Martin start acting together, you can feel and see how they have the best time", Oman states. "Will's high energy and intensity and Martin's laidback humor bring out the best in one another. But what makes this franchise different is that it's very grounded and emotional while being very funny. So, it's got an edge that is captivating."

"To see them together on screen was like magic", adds Fallah. "At the same time, we acknowledge that the Bad Boys have grown up and they have to face a new generation of law enforcement, embodied by the elite AMMO [Advanced Miami Metro Operations] squad they team up with. We had a lot of fun with that old school versus new school theme."

Indeed, the filmmakers conceived Bad Boys for Life as an opportunity to delve into what it means to be a Bad Boy after all these years. "What happens when Bad Boys become men?" asks Belgrad. "Do they lose that maverick quality and become soft? Or do they mature?

"Of course, Mike and Marcus are still badasses", Belgrad continues. "They are always going to do whatever it takes to get the job done. While they may not be quite as fast as they once were, they're still damn good at their jobs. They're resourceful and when push comes to shove, they have the skills to get it done."

At the same time, the new film amplifies the comical differences between Mike and Marcus by exploring how each deals with getting older. "Mike is in a position in his life where he wants to hit it harder than he ever has before", says Oman. "Meanwhile, Marcus has settled in on the idea of retirement. He's decided that it's time to hang up his spurs. He's had a grandchild and wants to hang out the rest of his life."

Marcus definitely doesn't want his legacy to be muscle shirts and body counts.

"These two dudes are total opposites in every way, but that's why they work so well together", Smith adds, with Lawrence interjecting, "It's the yin and the yang that pulls it all together."

As Mike keeps pushing the action envelope and Marcus adjusts to retirement, someone from Mike's past seems to want him dead - and Mike won't give up until he figures out who's after him, and why. "Mike tries to convince Marcus to join him for this final ride, but Marcus is done with all that, at least at first", Smith points out. "I thought that was a great dynamic to explore: how friendships pull apart. When people aren't willing to grow, they can divert from their friends' pathway. You start to see a separation between Mike and Marcus in this way."

"Mike and Marcus tease and razz each other, but there's also an underlying love - they've been through so much together", says Belgrad. "They have each other's backs at all times. That relationship is what makes this franchise unique."

Smith and Lawrence are rejoined by familiar faces from the first two films, including Theresa Randle, reprising her role as Marcus' wife, Theresa; and Bianca Bethune as Marcus' daughter, Megan, who's engaged to be married - and a brand new mom.

Randle says Theresa is all for Marcus' new life of leisure. "Theresa is in one of the happiest places in her life because she gets to actually experience Marcus on a whole other level and he needs her and loves her." Still, she doesn't see Marcus' new lifestyle as an indication that he's a new, more mature man.

"All women understand that Bad Boys really never grow up", Randle notes, with a laugh. "Marcus and Mike are at a place in their lives where they have to break up to make up. They can't quit each other."

Aside from their personal struggles, Mike and Marcus must contend with the elite new police unit Advance Miami Metro Operations (AMMO), which has introduced high-tech investigative tactics to the Miami P.D.

The old school versus new school interplay is highlighted in the guys' dealings with this state of the art, elite squad. "It's the Bad Boys versus this new style of policing", Smith offers. "That was another aspect that really drew me into this story - Mike and Marcus know how to get it done by kicking down doors, but then these AMMO guys come in and show there's different way, guys."

"And you know Mike Lowrey loves kicking stuff", Lawrence adds. "He doesn't just kick the door open; he kicks it off the hinges. And now this new wave of cops come in and wants them using non-lethal weapons."

"The contrasting approaches to police work is hilarious, because we all think of Mike and Marcus as these young, go get 'em fighters", elaborates Vanessa Hudgens, who plays AMMO weapons specialist Kelly. "They still have that taste for getting the job done, and the AMMO team is fresh, young, and focused, and they do things by the book - which they're writing."

The mastermind behind AMMO is the notoriously high-strung and risk averse Captain Howard, played by the beloved character actor Joe Pantoliano, returning to the franchise.

"We really wanted to make sure we could get Joey Pants back", says Oman, referring to the actor's nickname, "because he brings a certain flavor and tone. Will and Martin always play really well off him, and Joe brings a lot of chemistry and energy to the film."

For all the aggravation Mike and Marcus inflict on Howard, Pantoliano observes that the veteran cop is always looking after the pair. "Mike has not really evolved from that young, brash and determined individual we met in the first Bad Boys, and the conflict here comes from Mike needing Howard for one more run", Pantoliano observes. "Howard doesn't want to see Mike get hurt again, so he's protecting him from himself. He doesn't want to see Mike be destroyed by his insatiable appetite to get even, so he forces Mike to work with the new AMMO team."

It ain't an easy sell for the beleaguered captain. "The AMMO team is applying more refined technological tactics to taking down criminals, and Mike is feeling a little threatened by the new ways of policing", says Belgrad.

While Howard supervises the unit, it is Rita, played by Paola Nunez who runs the show. Complicating matters is that she's a former flame of Mike's - and he now must take orders from Rita.

Nunez embraced the character's strength, intelligence and leadership skills. "One of the things I'm most proud of in this movie is the way that women are portrayed", she explains. "Rita, for example, is a brilliant criminal psychologist. She is empowered, strong, intelligent, and a badass."

A key member of Rita's team is Vanessa Hudgens' Kelly, an aggressive young cop who's also a big fan of Mike Lowrey. "She's the weapons expert who's tough, fearless - and crazy in awe of Mike", states Hudgens. That feeling extended to Hudgens' view of Smith and Lawrence. "Seeing Will and Martin back together again is iconic", she shares. "Their chemistry is just unreal."

Joining Hudgens and Nunez on the AMMO team are Alexander Ludwig, as Dorn, and Charles Melton, as Rafe. Dorn is the unit's technical expert and a lethal weapon in his own right. "He is like this big teddy bear who's afraid of his own strength", says Ludwig. "Dorn has a history of using his muscles in violent ways, so he's afraid of overdoing it. Now he likes to sit in the van and work the tech side of things, like flying a drone and hacking alarm systems. He is kind of the brains of the group, which is funny because he's also its muscle."

Charles Melton's AMMO specialist Rafe is a former DEA agent who rivals Lowrey's wit and charm. "Rafe has history in the streets, and he's pretty cocky", the Riverdale star explains. "He sees himself as the man. He wants to call the shots, to be the head honcho, and there's a clash between Rafe and Mike."

Melton adds that he loved exploring that back-and-forth with Smith, while being equally taken with the Lawrence-Smith interactions. "Will and Martin have this electrifying chemistry and a connection that's seamless. They riff off each other and they're very collaborative and fearless in their work, and that's a testament as to why they're so great together on camera."

The four actors portraying AMMO agents attended a special "cop college" to train and be immersed in tactical police work being used by Miami P.D. The training was curated for each character based on his or her personality and specialties. "Everyone had their own feel on how their characters needed to go about their action pieces", says stunt coordinator Mike Gunther. "That added some variety and also gives unexpected layers to each of the AMMO cops."

Nunez says the training was essential in her exploration of Rita: "A Special Forces team member taught us how to hold a gun and shoot it, and how to move and work as a team", she recalls. "They're little touches but super important because we had to be convincing in the action scenes."

"We were trained on how to move through rooms when our characters are clearing them and how to shoot specific types of guns", adds Ludwig, who met with an advisor who was undercover for Miami P.D. "My character operates a drone, so I wanted to really understand how that worked and how a tech would operate in the field."

The AMMO team, joined, reluctantly, by Mike and Marcus, certainly has its work cut out for it. Their prey - and vice versa - is a beautiful criminal overlord from Mike's past, Isabel, along with her strong-willed and lethal son, Armando. Noted Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo (Under the Same Moon) takes on the role of Isabel.

"I love playing villains", she notes. "Isabel has a lot of anger because she's been in prison for twenty years, where she had nothing but time for her rage to grow against a certain Bad Boy cop. Now that Isabel is out, she wants blood - and Mike is her principal target."

Del Castillo further notes that there's more to playing the antagonist than just being evil. "I wanted Isabel to be a real woman, who's been hurt and betrayed, and who's a mom, which is the greatest love a woman can have."

While Isabel was imprisoned, she gave birth to a son, Armando - now a fully-grown assassin, played by Jacob Scipio. Upon her release, she works with Armando to make sure there's no escape for those who wronged her, turning Armando into a spiteful weapon.

"Armando is a warrior who's trained his entire life in martial arts and high-tech weaponry", says Oman. "He's physically fit and essentially fearless. So, in every confrontation with Mike and Marcus, the two guys are overmatched. It's going to take every bit of their resourcefulness, wisdom, and physical prowess to deal with him."

"But Armando also has a code", adds Scipio. "And that code is closely tied to his mother's. They're incredibly close. He was raised in prison - it was just the two of them in a cell until he was six years old. So, their bond is incredibly powerful. Then he was torn away from her and taken into the care of the cartel. So, Armando has been bred and raised on hate. His mom loves him, there's no doubt about that, but it's a tainted love."

Ultimately, Armando and Mike go mano-a-mano in a fight to the...well...that, too, goes in unexpected directions. "They really get into it", says Scipio, in a grand understatement. "It was a huge thrill for me to share scenes with Will, who's an icon."

According to Belgrad, Scipio was a perfect match for the character. "Jacob's physicality, athleticism and acting chops helped him bring a combination of intensity, depth and empathy to his scenes. Armando is a stone-cold killer, but you want to know what's going on in his soul."

Armando stealthily infiltrates the underground criminal network in Miami to take down his victims. One of his most helpful allies in that quest is Zway-Lo, played by popular singer-songwriter Nicky Jam.

And then there's Manny, a butcher who knows too much and falls victim to a Lowrey-style interrogation. Manny is played by singer/songwriter/media personality Khaled (DJ Khaled) Khaled, who also lends his creative talents to some of the music in the film as executive music producer.

While the Bad Boys films have the turbo-charged action and mayhem expected of a Hollywood franchise, El Arbi and Fallah were determined to inject some new elements into the picture. "The challenge is to create super exciting action but at the same time getting something kinetic, gritty, real and raw that audiences are not necessarily used to in a film like this", says El Arbi. Adds Fallah: "We definitely sprinkled some action 'flavours' in the movie."

El Arbi and Fallah's primary collaborative partner was Robrecht Heyvaert, the film's director of photography, who had served in the same capacity on the directors' previous films. "Robrecht is the biggest film buff we know and huge fan of Michael Bay's visual style", says El Arbi. "He loves to move the camera a lot and uses colourful lights and neons to make the images stylish and exotic, the way a Miami movie should be. At the same time, he gives the shots a kinetic and raw quality, which makes everything feel more real, a heightened reality you could say. He has been our partner in crime for all of our projects since we were film students."

To spearhead the action, the two filmmakers brought on stunt coordinator and second unit director Mike Gunther. Gunther, whose credits include Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: The Last Knight, immediately sought to outdo the action of the previous Bad Boys epics.

The opening car chase - to the hospital where Marcus is about to become a grandfather - points to that upping of the stakes. Although there were no bad guys to chase or shootouts to orchestrate, Gunther explains that that sequence was challenging in an unexpected way. He was tasked to not scratch the Porsche because that's how the scene was scripted - and because the super-sleek and futuristic vehicle was the new 992-Generation model and replacements weren't readily available at the time of filming. "They wanted to have the big car chase, but we were not allowed to scratch anything while still making it look dynamic and cool", says Gunther, with a laugh.

Then, of course, as scripted, Marcus dings the door after arriving safely at the hospital.

"It's not all babies and family time though", notes El Arbi. "This is kind of our way of throwing viewers off the trail because what starts out as an innocent rush to the hospital turns out to be a wild ride."

Another major action set piece unfolds when Mike and Marcus chase down Zway-Lo. El Arbi and Fallah take the tension and chaos to new heights by bringing a small army of motorcycles into the scene. To create maximum impact, Gunther assembled some of the country's best trick motorcycle riders, including DaWayne Davis, who's part of the dirt bike riding group "12 O'clock Boys", and Kortel Autrey, of "Bikes Over Bangn."

"They were unbelievable on motorcycles", Gunther recalls. "Adil and Bilall had this cool idea to have them do circle wheelies around the car, followed by a shootout. Finally, our heroes get out of the car and they hijack a motorcycle with a sidecar. Now you have Mike and Marcus in a motorcycle with a sidecar, and the scene gets even bigger from there.

"So, there's a gun battle being waged on a freeway; a helicopter roaring overhead; a car flipping over, narrowly missing other cars; a bike going down; and a bunch of cars blowing up. It's wild", he adds.

To execute the massive explosions, the filmmakers sought the talents of special effects coordinator Eric Frazier, whose early credits include a stint on Bad Boys 2, working with his father, SFX supervisor John Frazier.

Eric is in sync with Gunther about the challenges and opportunities presented by the biker chase. "For our department, the most challenging sequence was a chase sequence with some bikers", Eric continues. "You got Mike on the motorcycle and Marcus in the sidecar. Marcus finds a machine gun - and all hell breaks loose."

"I think that motorcycle chase is going to be one of the signature scenes of the movie", Smith enthuses. "It's just so uniquely Bad Boys. But at the same time, you've never seen that sequence before. Marcus riding shotgun in a sidecar creates a unique Bad Boys vibe."

In addition to delivering on the warm aesthetics of the previous films, El Arbi and Fallah wanted to create a Miami, Florida - home base for our heroes - that was more urban, electric, and colourful. "We embraced the club culture in Miami and added a unique look that wasn't seen in the other two installments", says production designer Jon Billington.

"Miami is a vibrant city, with rich colours", Bruckheimer adds. "Adil and Bilall and Jon jumped right in to bring those colours to life. They have an interesting style that's aggressive and a little avant-garde, but again, it's always about the humor and action, and they certainly delivered on those."

After filming in Atlanta, production moved to Miami, where it shut down the sleek new Brickell Shopping Center to drive Lowrey's Porsche straight through it. The spectacle drew quite a crowd in the open-air shopping mall, while fans patiently waited to snap a photo of Smith and Lawrence back together again in the streets of Miami.

A far more foreboding environment is seen in the final fight sequence, set in a gone-to-seed hotel where Mike and Isabel had once had a fateful encounter. "We had to build the interior of this on stage because we knew we needed room to blow things up and set rooms on fire", Billington explains. "The hotel in the script is described as being decayed and weathered, so we built a hotel to look brand new with fresh tiles and tables and then we aged it to death until it looked like it was on the brink of collapse."

There's a mystical aspect to Isabel's character, which plays into the production design. "We incorporated religious elements into the set, including candles and imagery, which add a haunting element to the scene and builds on the tension of the final act", Billington adds.

"Isabel is a believer in La Santa Muerte, who is the saint that blesses those who are otherwise considered irredeemable, and there's definitely a sense that Isabel might have some kind of mystical powers, or at least very powerful abilities of manipulation", Belgrad elaborates.

"She wants revenge so much, and she has this pact with La Santa Muerte, and La Santa Muerte is rewarding her allegiance", Castillo interjects.

Our Bad Boys are always stylish, and it fell to costume designer Dayna Pink to make sure the guys were dressed in their iconic finery. Pink was pleased to be collaborating with Fallah and El Arbi, whom she describes as having a "fresh sensibility that's edgy and fun. Adding the two of them to the mix of this franchise is not only interesting but fitting."

Fallah and El Arbi gave Pink the creative freedom to explore. "Their marching orders were to 'push, push, push' - to go as far as we could", she remembers.

Sometimes, "pushing" involved actually pulling back from the garb the guys donned in the previous films. "In the first two pictures, Mike and Marcus wore bulletproof vests and they're always tacked up", Pink states. "That really isn't this movie. Will wanted to make sure they were only wearing tactical gear when it was absolutely necessary."

Lowrey's outfits evolved with his character arc. "When we first see Mike in this film, he's wearing bright colours - bright orange and super fine", Pink states. "And he's got glasses that match. A littler later he's wearing yellow, and then there's all the fun pieces you'd expect Mike to wear."

But that colour scheme changes after Mike is felled by a bullet. "Then, his clothes reflect how he's feeling, which is dark and angry, so the outfits become pretty somber and dark. Will still looks great. He looks sexy, always. But he isn't wearing the same crazy, out there colour."

Newly-minted "pop pop" Marcus gets to display a more sensitive side and a desire to turn in his badge and live a safe and comfortable life with his family. "So, we see him trying to be an everyday grandfather", says Pink. "Even when Marcus is slumming it at his house on his couch, he's in great Timberland shoes and nice jeans; he's not in a grungy sweater or pants up to his waist. He's still cool and looks great."

The brainy but always-ready-for-action AMMO team wear more "serious" garb, says Pink, "because they take themselves seriously. For the most part they are wearing a uniform that is intense and black."

The unit does get to lighten up a bit with its wardrobe when it goes undercover at an exclusive club. "Vanessa Hudgens' Kelly is a bottle girl, so she wears a crazy little bikini thing with boots", Pink details. "It's super fun. Rita's in a super sexy dress. Rafe is wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off - also super sexy."

Pink even carefully outfitted the extras to ensure each carried that distinctive Miami vibe. "When you think of Miami, you think of sexy and blingy", she explains. "Miamians dress differently than those in any other place in the country. Men have belts with bling and they're all wearing jewelry. They're kind of peacock-y."

The behind-the-scenes team also includes noted composer Lorne Balfe, whose work spans blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Fallout and acclaimed indie hits such as The Florida Project. In addition, Black Eyed Peas joined forces with J Balvin for a brand new single, "RITMO (Bad Boys for Life)." The upbeat track served as a lead single for the film's soundtrack. "The music is exciting", says Bruckheimer. "In addition to that hit single, we have some Latin-based and hip hop tracks. It's a great, vibrant soundtrack, which DJ Khaled, who has a role in the film, helped us put together."

While the majority of the film takes place in Miami, the production also shot key sequences in Mexico. "Some key scenes in the movie take place in Mexico. It was very important to us to shoot there, because Mexico, and especially Mexico City, is such a unique, vibrant location", says El Arbi. "It is filled with history, and has an exotic, cinematic quality you just can't fake. Put a camera in Mexico and your production value rises. We always want our movies to feel as authentic as possible and, in this film, the location became a character on its own. We had to push to go there, because usually these types of scenes would be filmed on a soundstage. But Will and Martin also pushed to shoot in Mexico, and for the first time, two big Hollywood stars were shooting scenes in Los Arcos, the outskirts of Mexico City. It was the real deal."

As an actor, producer and musician, two-time Academy Award® nominee four-time Grammy nominee and winner Will Smith (Mike / Producer) has enjoyed a diverse career encompassing films, television and multiplatinum records.

Smith's vast filmography includes transformative portrayals of true-life icons in Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Concussion. He has headlined an extraordinary list of films, including Hitch, I Am Legend, I, Robot, Independence Day, Men in Black I, II, and III and Suicide Squad.

Smith was most recently seen in Ang Lee's action/thriller Gemini Man, in which he plays an over-the-hill hitman who faces off against a younger clone of himself. Additionally, Smith can be seen in Walt Disney Pictures' Aladdin in the iconic role of the Genie. The movie was directed by Guy Ritchie and has taken in over $1 billion worldwide since its release on May 24, 2019.

Smith will next go into production on Warner Bros.' King Richard, in which he will star in the titular role of Richard Williams, the father of renowned tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.

Recently, Smith created the daring Facebook Watch series "Will Smith's Bucket List", in which he challenges himself to a different item from his bucket list each week, including performing standup comedy with Dave Chappelle, skydiving in Dubai, swimming with sharks, and racing a Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi. The show has been a massive success for the platform.

Smith began his career as a musician selling millions of records worldwide before crossing over into television with the beloved series Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In 1998, he and partner James Lassiter founded the production and management company Overbrook Entertainment, which has produced numerous top film and television projects.

In addition to his artistic achievements, Smith is a successful business owner. Along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, he launched a new media venture, Westbrook Inc. This is a cross-platform holding company formed to execute the Smith family's global content and commerce business strategy. Westbrook Inc. will encompass subsidiary companies including the existing Overbrook Entertainment, Red Table Talk Enterprises, and the recently formed Westbrook Studios, Westbrook Media, and Good Goods, the latter an elevated merchandise business. Additionally, he and Jada founded the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. WJSFF is a nonprofit, philanthropic organisation committed to improving lives and investing in organisations and initiatives that empower traditionally overlooked communities.

Martin Lawrence (Marcus) started in stand-up comedy at the legendary club The Improv, where he honed his talents until he was asked by Russell Simmons to host his groundbreaking comedy series Def Comedy Jam on HBO. From there, Lawrence became a household name after his hugely popular self-titled TV show, Martin, was an instant hit with TV viewers. He starred for five years as not only the title character, but other support characters, including the sassy Sheneneh and Mama Payne, who became comedy classics. Lawrence would later go on to star in comedy blockbusters like Bad Boys I and II, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, which he also directed, and Big Momma's House 1, 2, and 3, in which he once again proved his talent for creating and acting as multiple characters in one storyline.

Vanessa Hudgens (Kelly) began her career in the world of musical theatre at the tender age of eight. Immediately realising the incredible future that lay before her, she has tirelessly pursued her dream with much success. These early roles, in such productions as Evita, Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King & I, The Music Man, Cinderella, and Damn Yankees, gave Hudgens the opportunity to showcase her impressive singing and acting skills.

The recognition Hudgens received quickly brought her to the big screen. She made her feature film debut in Catherine Hardwicke's controversial Thirteen starring Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood. Soon thereafter, she co-starred in the action-adventure film Thunderbirds.

It was however Hudgens's role in Disney Channel's breakaway sensation High School Musical that has garnered her much praise and attention. With critics and fans clamoring for more, Hudgens was also seen in the films' highly successful follow ups High School Musical 2 and the theatrical release of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Hudgens followed up her High School Musical hits by starring in the critically acclaimed Bandslam as well Beastly and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. In 2010, Hudgens won the ShoWest Award for Female Star of Tomorrow.

Looking to branch out and take on some darker roles, Hudgens filmed a series of films that have surprised audiences, including Frozen Ground, directed by Scott Walker. Hudgens portrayed the real-life victim who helped solve the case of a serial murderer in Alaska. Hudgens starred opposite James Franco and Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers, one of the most talked-about films of 2013. The film, directed by the controversial director Harmony Korine, premiered at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. In the drama Gimme Shelter, directed by Ron Krauss, Hudgens plays a pregnant, homeless teenager. For this film, based on a true story, Hudgens spent two weeks living in a homeless shelter doing research for her character.

In 2015, Hudgens made her Broadway debut, starring in the title role of the beloved Oscar® and Tony Award-winning film and stage musical Gigi. She had audiences and critics praising her incredible performance as Rizzo in the record-breaking production of "Grease Live" for FOX in 2016 and, most recently, Hudgens returned to television in the DC Comics comedy Powerless for NBC in February 2017.

Hudgens can currently be seen in Netflix's The Knight Before Christmas, which she is executive producing. The movie premiered on Netflix on November 21, 2019. Hudgens's upcoming projects include Netflix's The Princess Switch: Switched Again and Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tick, Tick... Boom! Last year, Hudgens appeared in Second Act, co-starring Jennifer Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia, and Leah Remini; Dog Days, directed by Ken Marino, alongside Finn Wolfhard, Nina Dobrev, Eva Longoria, and Thomas Lennon; and the Netflix action-thriller Polar, opposite Mads Mikkelsen.

Alexander Ludwig (Dorn) is multi-talented actor who continues to make his mark in Hollywood.

Recently, Ludwig completed his sixth and final season of the History Channel's popular show "Vikings", which premiered on December 4. Ludwig also recently finished filming Swing, opposite co-stars Michael Shannon and Charles Melton, set to release in 2020.

Currently, Ludwig can be seen in Roland Emmerich's Midway opposite Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid. Additionally, Ludwig's film Peace, opposite Franco Nero, debuted at the Austin Film Festival this past October.

Next year, Ludwig will be in production for his new Peter Segal-directed TV series Heels as Ace Spade. The series is about two brothers and rivals - one a villain, or "heel", in the ring; the other a hero, or "face" - who war over their late father's wrestling promotion, vying for national attention in small-town Georgia. Ludwig can also be seen in Operation Christmas Drop opposite Virginia Madsen and Kay Graham, which will be released by Netflix in 2020.

Ludwig was also recently seen in the thriller Go With Me opposite Julia Stiles and Anthony Hopkins; Final Girl, opposite Abigail Breslin and Wes Bentley; and The Final Girls in which he stars opposite Malin Akerman and Nina Dobrev.

Ludwig grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and after beginning his acting career at age nine with a string of successful commercial and television parts, he landed the starring role of Will Stanton in the action-adventure The Seeker: The Dark is Rising in 2007.

Ludwig's previous credits include Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg; Grown Ups 2; and When The Game Stands Tall. In 2012, Ludwig played Cato, the antagonist, in the box office smash hit The Hunger Games. Ludwig also starred in the hugely successful Race to Witch Mountain opposite Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino.

Ludwig's talents extend beyond acting and filmmaking; he is a gifted musician and an avid outdoorsman. In 2020, Ludwig will release a country music EP and music video that he wrote and co-produced.

Charles Melton (Rafe) is one of Hollywood's most versatile actors who continues to captivate audiences with his charismatic performances on film and television.

Melton most recently completed production on the coming-of-age drama, Swing, opposite Michael Shannon. Set in the world of elite varsity rowing circa 1999, the story is centered on a group of friends and crew teammates in their last year of college, whose lives are changed forever when a Vietnam vet, played by Shannon, takes over as coach of their dysfunctional team.

Melton most recently played the lead role of Daniel Bae in the Warner Bros. feature The Sun Is Also a Star opposite Yara Shahidi. Directed by Ry Russo-Young and based on the New York Times best-seller by Nicola Yoon, the film chronicles the whirlwind romance between Daniel, the son of Korean immigrants, and Natasha, played by Shahidi.

On television, Melton currently stars as the iconic comic book character Reggie Mantle in The CW's hit series, Riverdale. In its third season, the series is a modern-day reimagining of the Archie Comics.

A native of Tecate, Mexico, Paola Nunez (Rita) has starred in some of Mexico's most popular television series, including the critically acclaimed series Amor En Custodia, which remains the longest running TV series in Mexico. Nuñez can also be seen in Season 2 of Telemundo's most successful series, La Reina del Sur.

On the big screen, Nuñez has starred in the feature films Mexican Gangster, Los Inadaptados, and Dariela los Martes, the last of which Nuñez also produced.

After making a name for herself in Spanish-language films, Nuñez worked on her first English-language television series when she was cast in AMC's period drama The Son opposite Pierce Brosnan.

Throughout her career, Nuñez has continued to lend her creative talents on stage having starred in the theatrical productions of "Allen's Ball", "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress", "The Graduate", and "Rain Man", among others.

A powerful artistic force since her teens, Mexican actress-producer Kate Del Castillo (Isabel) has carefully nurtured a multi-national presence following over a decade as one of the most sought-after talents on Mexican television and film. The daughter of legendary Mexican actor Eric Del Castillo, Del Castillo appeared in her first film at age 9. Television credits include the title role in Telemundo's blockbuster series La Reina del Sur, Jane the Virgin (CW), Ingobernable (Netflix, also co-produced), Weeds (Showtime), and American Family (PBS). Feature film credits include The Day I Met El Chapo (Netflix, also co-produced), Under the Same Moon, American Visa (Best Actress Award at Málaga Film Festival), Julia with Tilda Swinton, Trade co-starring Kevin Kline, No Good Deed with Idris Elba, The 33, and All About Nina, among others. A philanthropist and an outspoken global activist, Del Castillo was appointed Ambassador for the Mexican Commission on Human Rights to combat human trafficking in 2009 in Mexico City. She remains a devoted spokesperson for PETA and founded the "Los Angeles en Mexico" Charity for Mexico after the devastating earthquake.

In 2017, Nicky Jam (Zway-Lo) released "El Amante" and his very first solo album Fenix. The single quickly became an international hit, reaching a 7x Platinum status. The album also enjoyed quite the success, achieving 11 platinum certifications worldwide. Entering 2018, Nicky Jam began to conquer new territories in his artistic career. His songs achieved more than 14.5 billion views on YouTube and 1.1 billion streams on Spotify. Singles such as "X" (35x Platinum certification) featuring Colombian sensation J Balvin, and "Cásate Conmigo" (5x Platinum certification) in collaboration with Silvestre Dangond became international anthems. The singles obtained recognition in the most important Latin music awards, including the prestigious Latin Grammy, achieving nominations in categories such as Record of the Year, Best Urban Song of the Year, and Best Tropical Song of the Year. His single "Te Boté", a collaboration featuring Casper Mágico, Nio García, Darell, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna became a world phenomenon. The single captured the world's attention and became the main topic in all award ceremonies during the year. It also surpassed all YouTube records, becoming the most-watched video in 2018. Additionally, the singer had the honor of recording and performing the official song for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, "Live It Up", featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi. His undeniable success in the music industry earned him two Latin Billboard Awards that year in the categories Top Latin Album of the Year and Latin Rhythm Album of the Year (Fenix). Nicky Jam also dabbled in the fashion industry, becoming a brand ambassador for the elegant and prestigious watch brand Hublot. The Latin idol showed the world his acting side with his autobiographical series "El Ganador." Telemundo joined the giant Netflix in the creation of a series that tells the story of how the superstar came to be. The series trended in Latin America, Spain, and the US at the time of its release in early 2019. 2019 has been a year of vast success for the singer. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Sech, Anuel, Ozuna, Ñejo, and others, collaborating in the production of the most-played songs of the year, generating millions of streaming in all digital platforms. His Sorry USA Tour 2019 was a total success, with sold-out tickets in 13 different theatres nationwide.

Currently, the urban music pioneer is getting ready for the release of his seventh studio album, "Íntimo", one of the most anticipated albums of the year, going hand in hand with Sony Music Latinand La Industria INC. Íntimo has 15 singles, including international hits "Te Robaré" featuring Ozuna and, of course, his international hit "X" featuring J Balvin. The album also counts with the collaborations of Anuel AA, Darell, Sech and Rauw Alejandro. The release, scheduled for November 1st, will be available for streaming in all digital platforms.

In a career spanning almost five decades, Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard) has amassed an impressive catalog of classic American film and television titles, collaborating with some of Hollywood's most prestigious filmmakers including Christopher Nolan (Memento), Steven Spielberg (Goonies, Empire of the Sun), Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Steal Big Steal Little), Michael Bay (Bad Boys), and Martin Brest (Midnight Run), among others.

In addition to working on critically acclaimed feature films, Pantoliano's television appearances have included the likes of the hit TV series The Sopranos, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award® for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Pantoliano has also lent his talents to writing two memoirs. The first, Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy was released in 2003 to critical acclaim and became a New York Times best seller. Pantoliano later wrote the sequel, Asylum: Hollywood Tales From My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery and Being My Mother's Son.

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