''Men in Black,'' ''Face/Off,'' and ''Speed 2'' are some of the films with characters sporting shades this summer

Summer movie sunglasses

Now, this is what you call having it made in the shade. Three megapics, Men in Black, Speed 2, and Face/Off, are spotlighting sunglasses in a way not seen since Tom Cruise wore Ray-Bans in Risky Business and tripled sales. Below, the shady goings-on:

Men in sunglasses: ”Shades are all about attitude,” says MIB star Will Smith, but the $100 Ray-Ban wraparounds that he and Tommy Lee Jones sport are also functional: They protect the alien-busting G-men from ultraviolent rays. ”They ward off alien weaponry,” says Scott Woodward of Ray-Ban, which has launched an extensive tie-in campaign with TV commercials, yet surprisingly didn’t pay to be in the movie. Says producer Laurie MacDonald, ”The costume designer put Will and Tommy Lee in them. Ray-Ban was pretty happy.” So is Smith. ”I’ve been wearing those glasses for months,” he says. ”I dig them.”

Bullock’s baby blues: Filming Speed 2 on an ocean liner meant plenty of sunblock for Sandra Bullock, who went to sea lathered in lotion and wearing $245 pewter frames with pool-colored lenses from Oliver Peoples. ”Those were my personal sunglasses,” says Bullock. ”They had that cool light-blue tint, and Speed 2 is set on the ocean. I thought it blended together quite nicely.” Oliver Peoples expects the film to create waves of sales. ”She’s photographed in those a lot,” says company spokeswoman Sara Catullo. ”People already come in wanting those frames that they saw Sandra Bullock wearing.”

Not the usual spec script: At the height of Face/Off, one way to tell identity-swapping John Travolta and Nicolas Cage apart is by their frames. Travolta first wears a pair of conservative Miraris, ”but when he became bad,” says property master Don Milloyevich, ”[Travolta] said, ‘No, it should be something different for this other character.”’ So the eeevil Travolta wears a pair of slicker $208 Armanis. Cage, meanwhile, switches from antique octagonals (”Nick wanted blood red frames,” he says) to Ray-Ban Aviators. Milloyevich thinks their choices reveal something about each actor’s working style: ”John decides what he wants while rehearsing, and Nick plans it.” Only in Hollywood are sunglasses the mirrors of an actor’s soul.