Cindy Pearlman and Degen Pener
June 27, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

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.

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