What Happened to Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

We take a look back at the making of Mr. & Mrs Smith, one of the biggest movies never to get a sequel.

Pop quiz hot shot: What’s the best action movie of the past 20 or 30 years that never received a cinematic sequel? Nope, it’s not Speed. Is it Wanted? Nobody? The Accountant? How about Knight and Day or American Made? While the latter comes from director Doug Liman, we’d argue that the correct answer is Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Liman’s eminently watchable assassin thriller that continues to shine thanks to the explosive chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, two luminous movie stars who met and fell in love during production. Although the movie earned decent reviews and grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide, Mr. & Mrs. Smith never received an official sequel or cinematic spinoff and is often remembered for the juicy tabloid gossip surrounding its two superstars. 

Yet, in 2024, a small-screen adaptation of Liman’s hit action flick has been produced by Amazon Prime Video, introducing a whole new generation of viewers to the romantic spy drama. As such, it’s only fitting to take a look back at the production history of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. After all, the script began as a student project and was later accused of plagiarism, several different endings were filmed, a super steamy sex scene was removed to avoid an R-rating, and perhaps most fascinating, Pitt and Jolie nearly did not star in the movie together. Have we got your attention? Darn right, it’s time to find out What The F*ck Happened to Mr. & Mrs. Smith!

The first thing about Mr. and Mrs. Smith worth knowing is that, despite popular belief, it is not based on the 1996 TV show of the same name. Nor is it a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 movie of the same name. Believe it or not, Scott Bakula and Mario Bello starred as unmarried couple Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the short-lived crime drama that aired on CBS from September to November 1996. The show marked the acting debut of Timothy Olyphant but was canceled after nine episodes. While Doug Liman’s movie officially has nothing to do with the 1996 TV show beyond its similar premise, the new Prime Video adaptation does take cues from the show as well as the 2005 action hit. It’s also worth noting that, while Mr. & Mrs. Smith is not a loose remake of True Lies, the tango scene in the film pays direct homage to James Cameron’s similar spy thriller. 

brad pitt and angelina jolie

With reportedly no knowledge of the preexisting TV show, MFA student Simon Kinberg began writing the screenplay for Mr. & Mrs. Smith for his graduate school thesis while attending Columbia University. According to Kinberg, he was inspired to write the script after hearing friends describe their time in couples therapy, which he noted was “Aggressive and mercenary” and figured It would make an interesting template for a relationship inside of an action film.”

In July 2000, Summit Entertainment purchased Kinberg’s spec script rights for Mr. & Mrs. Smith and partnered with Weed Road Pictures to produce the project. At the time, the producers were able to secure Brad Pitt to star in the lead role of John Smith. The same producers had their eye on casting Nicole Kidman as Jane Smith. Doug Liman was hired as the director with Pitt and Kidman in line to star. When Kidman had to leave the project due to her commitments to The Stepford Wives, Brad Pitt also abandoned the project while producers scrambled to find Kidman’s replacement. 

Once Pitt left, Liman and the producers considered pairing Will Smith and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. When that idea fizzled, they entertained the idea of Johnny Depp starring opposite Cate Blanchett in the two title roles. Depp was offered the part but declined due to his overworked schedule at the time. Meanwhile, Gwen Stefani auditioned to play Jane Smith. Eva Green and Gwyneth Paltrow were also briefly considered. Finally, Liman was able to secure Angelina Jolie to play the part. As soon as Jolie was cast, Pitt actively returned to the project with newfound enthusiasm. Once more – when Jolie was cast as Jane Smith, Pitt quickly returned to play John Smith. Both movie stars were paid $20 million apiece for their services, perhaps a mere pittance compared to the invaluable love forged between the two stars on set that eventually led to a marriage and six children. 

After the cast was set and the movie entered production, roughly 50 drafts of Kinberg’s script were reportedly written. Several different writers contributed to the rewrites, including Carrie Fisher, Terence Winter, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, Akiva Goldsman, Ted Griffin, and Kieran and Michelle Mulroney. Despite the countless rewrites, Kinberg receives the final screenplay credit and also makes a cameo appearance as an investment banker in the movie. 

mr and mrs smith 2005

Strapped with a pricey $110 million budget, principal photography for Mr. & Mrs. Smith was divided into three segments. The first took place between January 5 and April 22, 2004. The second took place between August 12 and October 31, 2004. The final portion was filmed between March 14 and March 18, 2005. One of the reasons for the schedule breaks was to accommodate Pitt’s schedule for Ocean’s Twelve, requiring the actor to leave Mr. & Mrs. Smith for three months to finish his obligations to the Soderbergh heist sequel. 

Filming locations for Mr. & Mrs. Smith were mostly divided between Los Angeles and New York. The exterior shots of the Smith residence were filmed at 1565 San Pasqual Street in Pasadena, California, while the restaurant and dance club scenes were filmed at the Cicada Restaurant and Club on Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The exteriors of the construction site in the movie were filmed at Caltrans District 7 Headquarters Building in Downtown L.A.’s Main Street. Additional scenes were filmed at the Quality Coffee Shop on 7th Street in downtown L.A. and Vincent Saint Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California. The same coffee shop was used for Old School, which also stars Vince Vaughn, as well as Gone in 60 Seconds, which also stars Angelina Jolie. Elsewhere, Jane Smith’s office at I-Temp was filmed at 570 Lexington Avenue in New York City. The 50-floor skyscraper genuinely exists and was not built for the movie. Outside of Los Angeles and New York, additional photography took place in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Rome, Lazio, Italy.

One of the first scenes that take place in the movie involves a flashback to John and Jane’s time meeting each other in Bogota, Colombia. Rather than filming in South America, stock aerial footage of Bogota was lifted from the 1994 Harrison Ford action thriller Clear and Present Danger. The raw footage was enhanced with CGI to add burning buildings and a passenger in the helicopter. However, the original footage for Clear and Present Danger was filmed in rural Mexico as a stand-in for Colombia. When the shot was recycled for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Colombian government publicly criticized the production for falsely representing Bogota as a tiny undeveloped village. In reality, the high-altitude city in the Andes Mountains is and was a booming metropolis filled with towering skyscrapers.  

Another early scene that takes place in the movie entails Jane traveling to kill her first mark in a sick and twisted sadomasochistic ruse. While going through the house, Jane casually answers a correct answer on the Jeopardy game show playing on the TV in the background. According to reports, Jolie completely improvised the Jeopardy response on the spot, and her comedic timing was so perfect that Liman kept it in the movie. Meanwhile, Pitt also added his unique ad-libs during the scene that takes place after John and Jane discover each other’s true identities as assassins. When Jane drives away in a car and John chases after, Pitt accidentally tripped and crashed through the fence in an unscripted moment. Rolling with the punches, Pitt uttered the line “Oh dear God,” as a natural impromptu response while the cameras were rolling. Apart from the blistering rapport Pitt and Jolie share onscreen, it’s the small improvisational flourishes that make the movie so entertaining nearly 20 years later.

Yet for all the memorable moments in the movie, it’s easy to overlook parts of the story that did not make the final cut. Indeed, one of the most infamous cut scenes in Mr. & Mrs. Smith involved a torrid love scene between Pitt and Jolie that was so racy that it had to be removed from the film entirely to retain a PG-13 rating. Not to traffic in the juicy tabloid gossip surrounding the Brangelina phenomenon, but it’s difficult to imagine a steamy simulated sex scene between two attractive movie stars having no bearing on their off-screen relationship. Although Pitt and Jolie were both married to other people while making Mr. & Mrs. Smith and wouldn’t marry each other for another decade or so, in the immortal words of Tears for Fears, how could they not be sowing the seeds of love while making the movie? 

One of the most shocking deleted scenes from the movie involves the action-packed finale. Originally, producers felt that Mr. & Mrs. Smith needed one final showdown with the villains in the movie to give viewers a satisfying conclusion. Believe it or not, legendary European actors Terence Stamp and Jaqueline Bisset were cast as the villains and filmed a designated ending that was never used. Once the ending with Stamp and Bisset was discarded, another ending was filmed. This time, Keith David and Angela Basset are revealed to be the villains fighting against John and Jane. While David has a prominent role as The Father in the film, Bassett is uncredited as Mother, the voice of John Smith’s boss in Atlanta. After both of these filmed endings were deemed superfluous and a final confrontation was not necessary, the scenes were left on the cutting room floor. 

Beyond the discarded showdowns with the high-ranking enemies, another alternate ending was filmed for Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The version involves Jane and John returning to Bogota as a happy couple. When their vacation is interrupted by what appears to be an intense assassination mission, Mr. & Mrs. Smith begin chasing an unknown person through the crowd. Just as John reaches into his bag to pull out what viewers assume will be a gun, he retrieves a camera, and their so-called mark is revealed to be their adorable daughter shooting a dart gun at a toy doll with remarkable accuracy. “Not bad,” John proudly states as the family wanders off into the South American sunset to their residence nearby. 

As for other notable Easter eggs, eagle-eyed gamers might appreciate a suit hanging in John’s office that resembles the iconic outfit worn by Agent 47 in the popular video game Hit Man. The black suit, white shirt, and red tie appear prominently throughout the scene, and John speaks with his boss on Channel Number 47. Given Liman’s penchant for gaming, it’s hard to write this off as a mere coincidence. 

A much easier one to spot, Adam Brody’s character Benjamin “The Tank” Danz can be seen wearing a Fight Club T-shirt while being questioned by Mr. Smith, an obvious shout-out to one of Brad Pitt’s most famous movies. There is also a Director’s Cut of the film that runs six minutes longer than the theatrical version.

mr ans mrs smith movie

Speaking of the theatrical version, Mr. & Mrs. Smith opened on June 10, 2005, and immediately became a commercial hit. The film ultimately grossed over $487 million worldwide, ranking as the 7th highest-grossing movie of the year. The film also fared pretty well among critics, currently boasting a 60 Rotten Tomatoes. While the success of the movie is fairly well-known, fans may not be aware of the producers being accused of plagiarism after the movie came out. In 2006, a New Zealand author named Gavin Bishop claimed the moviemakers stole his idea from his 1997 scholastic book “The Secret Lives of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” The book also follows a married husband and wife living boring suburban lives who secretly work as spies under each other’s noses. Bishop threatened to sue the producers but never found a lawyer willing to take the case. 

Fans may also be completely unaware of the potential TV spin-off that was produced for ABC in 2007. Indeed, a pilot episode for a Mr. & Mrs. Smith TV show was written by Simon Kinberg and directed by Doug Liman. The story took place six months after the events depicted in the film and was described by Kinberg as being akin to “Married with Children with Guns.” Martin Henderson and Jordana Brewster were cast as John and Jane Smith, respectively. However, ABC did not order the pilot-to-series after the chemistry between Henderson and Brewster was deemed non-existent. So much of the movie’s appeal relies on the crackling on-screen rapport between Pitt and Jolie. Without it, there wasn’t much value in making a TV spin-off on basic cable in 2007.

In 2010, Jolie stated that she and Pitt had sought to make a sequel to Mr. & Mrs. Smith but were never able to come up with a worthwhile story. Jolie told Vanity Fair at the time:

“We did ask somebody to look into Mr. & Mrs. to see if they could crack a sequel, but there wasn’t anything original. It was just, ‘Well, they’re going to get married, or they’ve got kids, or they get separated.’ Never great.”

And that brings us to the new TV adaptation of Mr. & Mrs. Smith on Amazon Prime Video. The small-screen reboot was released on February 2, 2024, and stars Donald Glover and Maya Erskine as Jane and John Smith, a married couple who have no clue that the other works for the same espionage ring. The show takes inspiration from the original 1996 TV series and the 2005 movie and has received even better reviews than previous iterations of the story. Unlike the failed 2007 TV spin-off, the new reboot has been praised for restoring the palpable chemistry between the two leads while leaning more into the domestic strife among the married couple. While nobody will ever confuse Glover and Erskine for the star power of Pitt and Jolie, the fate of Mr. & Mrs. Smith has been quite a circuitous journey over the past few decades. Until the next time, that’s What the F*ck Happened to this Movie!

About the Author

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Jake Dee is one of JoBlo’s most valued script writers, having written extensive, deep dives as a writer on WTF Happened to this Movie and it’s spin-off, WTF Really Happened to This Movie. In addition to video scripts, Jake has written news articles, movie reviews, book reviews, script reviews, set visits, Top 10 Lists (The Horror Ten Spot), Feature Articles The Test of Time and The Black Sheep, and more.