Given the well-established track record for movies titled ”Bad Company” — four, dating back to 1925 — one would have thought it’d be a snap to get another to the screen. But Jerry Bruckheimer has been developing the action comedy — about a Jersey City hustler (Chris Rock) who steps in for his twin brother as a CIA agent when the guy buys it in the line of duty — since the mid-’80s, when it was originally shepherded by his late partner Don Simpson. In fact, the film’s gestation process, bedeviled by casting and script problems, has been so drawn out that the original title, ”Black Sheep,” had to be scrapped when the David Spade?Chris Farley comedy was released in 1996. But with the unlikely casting of Rock opposite Hopkins, who plays the G-man assigned to whip the amateur into shape, and Joel Schumacher (”Batman & Robin”) on board to direct, ”Bad Company” No. 5 finally arrived.
”How’d they get me and Tony to do this? They paid us,” deadpans Rock, who was the first to be cast. ”Okay, fine. So I may have said no to three actors before they got [affects a British accent] Sir Anthony Hopkins.” But despite the stars’ seemingly different strengths, Schumacher insists the pairing isn’t as improbable as it might appear. ”People don’t realize Chris is a great actor and Tony — although his humor is very dry and droll — is quite funny,” he says.
”It’s true, he does mean impressions,” confirms Rock. ”His Alec Baldwin is hilarious.” Don’t forget to tip your waiter and try the veal, folks — Hannibal Lecter will be here all week.