Jon Chu Talks G.I. JOE: RETALIATION Delay, Connections To The First Film, Villains And More
The director talks about his upcoming G.I. Joe sequel, confirming that no reshoots were added, discussing its ties to the first movie, whether he was hesitant to take over the franchise and much more. Plus, we have a new international preview featuring more action-packed footage.
Speaking with Collider at a recent screening for a four-minute preview which will be attached to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, director Jon M. Chu talks in detail about Paramount's upcoming sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D. He confirms that no reshoots were filmed during the film's nine-month delay, and that there isn't additional Channing Tatum footage. He also discusses the film's ties to 2009's Rise Of Cobra, whether or not he was hesitant to take over the franchise after the critically panned first film, what he enjoyed bringing to the big screen the most as a Joe fan, and more. Additionally, thanks to @Movie_Maniac, we have a new international preview for Retaliation which features even more action packed footage.
On Theories Surrounding The Film's Delay And Whether Or Not He Filmed Reshoots:
"Yeah, that was a crazy time! I didn’t want to answer any of the crazy rumors that were happening, at that time, but the reality was the 3D. We were told they wanted it turned into 3D, and luckily we had the time to do that. It just so happens that the March date was a date that they could do it in, and that gave us enough time to focus on it. We didn’t reshoot anything. We didn’t go in and [add] Channing. I’m not going to say what happens to Channing in the movie. You have to watch the movie. But, there wasn’t any of all that crazy stuff, so we just ignored it. It’s funny, when the new trailer came out, everyone was like, "Oh, Channing is in it way more!" I just didn’t want to say anything, but it was very interesting. There were rumors that we shot more things, but we literally didn’t shoot anything. We had done some reshoots a couple days before all that, in January, that were just some pick-up things, but that’s pretty much it.
On The Sequel's Ties To Rise Of Cobra And Crafting His Own Thing:
We’re in that same world, in terms of being a continuation of that story. But, what’s great about G.I. Joe as a brand, over the years, everybody reinvents it in a different way. The cartoon brought its own interpretation. So, I had a lot of freedom to create the tone of this world, which was really nice. I’m amazed how many people saw the last movie. Everywhere we go, people know it because it plays on TV a lot and so many people saw it in the theater. This is definitely a continuation. The President, at the end of that movie, is not who he says he is, and we take it from there and move on. Obviously, Duke (Channing Tatum) is in our movie, and we refer to some of those other characters, but we don’t hang onto all those things. We leave a lot of things open-ended, so that we’re exploring this part of the world, but maybe this part of the world can keep going in a different other way. You can jump to different parts of the G.I. Joe universe, if you wanted to. That was really important. One of my biggest challenges was to fit those things together. But ultimately, it’s because of G.I. Joe that the history of G.I. Joe fit well. We have this great opening prologue that helps paint a little bit of how the world is and where we are in that.
On The Possibility Of People Rooting For The Villains Other Than The Heroes:
You have Dwayne and Bruce, and you’re going to root for them, no matter what. They can even be a little more bad-ass than normal, and you’re good with them. Of course, the bad guys in our movie are really kick-ass. They go for it. Harder than that is just that the humor of the movie is very real-world, but at the same time, we’re trying not to take ourselves too seriously. Everything does have a little wink and a nod to what the spirit of G.I. Joe has always been, to me, at least. It is a crazy, weird world, even though you’re supposed to believe it co-exists with us, maybe six years in the future. More difficult for me was when do we not take ourselves too seriously and when do we actually have to play the real danger of it.
On What He Most Loved Bringing To The Big Screen From The G.I. Joe World:
The H.I.S.S. tank was a dream. I guess it was written in the script originally, but to actually build the thing [was cool]. The last movie felt like, “Oh, there’s a lot of CG stuff, so we’ll just build on green.” But going in, I was like, “We’ve gotta build this stuff,” not really knowing if they were going to spend the money or if we could actually build a life-size H.I.S.S. tank that goes up and down, moves and rolls around. There was some resistance, of course. They were like, “You can’t do that! It’s going to take months and months to even design and build, and then it’s not going to be able to move.” But, we got it! So, the H.I.S.S. tank, in itself, was pretty awesome. Firefly’s (Ray Stevenson) motorcycle is really cool. We went through a ton of different versions of that. And the masks were my biggest surprise, with how intricate and difficult it was to get a good looking mask for these guys, like with Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes. Even just helmets can go way wrong, really quickly. I wanted to nod to the stuff that I knew, as a kid. I didn’t want to say, “This is a brand new Snake Eyes,” that was not the Snake Eyes that you know. I wanted the Snake Eyes that I played with. So, we got to play around with that. We went crazy. We did over 60 designs of Snake Eyes, and probably over 100 of just what his visor would be like. Those are tough. With the tint, do you go more amber or do you go more black? And then, you are dealing with the history of what it is, and you still want to give something fresh. So, those choices were made, piece by piece. The details for Cobra, just with what those gears would be and what he was actually doing. Is he breathing through it? Are we ever going to see his eyes? Is he just moving around like that? But, when you have people like Ray Park play Snake Eyes, it really is different. We had stunt doubles go in for a certain moment, here and there, and you can tell that there’s no acting there. Whereas with Ray, you know the personality. He has a humor about him. It’s a very strange thing that he does with Snake Eyes, but he’s funny when he’s in there. When Rock talks to him and they communicate in silence, it’s a fun thing. They actually have that communication, which is funny.
On Whether He Was Hesitant To Take On The Franchise After Rise Of Cobra:
No, I wasn’t hesitant. I jumped at the chance, obviously. It was an amazing opportunity to make a movie of characters that I know and love, even if I wasn’t the biggest comic book guy who knew every issue of everything G.I. Joe. It was the cartoon that I really was a part of. And I loved the first movie. I had a lot of fun with it, but it wasn’t necessarily my G.I. Joe experience. I remember when it was coming out, I was like, “It’s gotta do this, this, this, this, this, this and this.” And then, I saw the movie and was like, “Oh, that was a little bit different, but it was still enjoyable and fun.” So, when they offered me the movie, I knew I could go back to that list. It’s hard because you get lost along the way sometimes, and things change and characters shift, but I always tried to remind myself of the things that I always wanted in a G.I. Joe movie. You want the ninjas right up against the military guys. You want that humor. You want that comradery. You want to know that each one is different. They’re not just a group fighting one thing. They all have personality. Even if it doesn’t really make sense, you want it to be fun and just go for it. If you think about all those things, I don’t know if this movie is necessarily for you. This is just a fun ride. You get to experience this mash-up of all these genres. In a way, G.I. Joe was mash-up before mash-up ever existed. Everybody has their own sound, which was really fun to do.
Just in taking something that I grew up with and having the opportunity [to do my take on it], it’s scary. You know everyone is watching, including every person that you’ve ever talked to Joe about. My friends and I would collect the toys and go to the different conventions. I would call my friends a lot of the time and be like, “Do you think this is weird? Is it jacked up, if we do this, or do you think it’s okay?” It’s a daunting task. I can’t rely on those immediate feelings for certain things because it would throw my process off. I just have to trust that the reason I love the property is probably the reason it was working, at the time. Having Bruce [Willis] be the original Joe was really trippy. You want him to be the original Joe, in every way. If he didn’t want to do this movie, we probably wouldn’t have Joe in the movie. It was only because we said, "This would be our dream, as a G.I. Joe fan, to have the guy who represents it be the guy who represents all action movies of our generation, growing up." It just worked right. And we have him next to the next generation’s action guy. There’s not a lot of action heroes anymore, and the guy who’s picking up all of that is The Rock. And that’s a theme in our movie. At some point, you don’t have your laser guns and your spaceships and your hovercrafts, and all that stuff. It’s just about the soldier or the ninja, or the person who’s fighting the uphill battle, and it’s about what’s inside. Bruce comes into this movie, as the original Joe, saying, "We didn’t have any of that stuff. You don’t need all that stuff. We’ll go old school, in that way." That was fun, and it helped frame our visual look and style of our storytelling.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona, Ray Stevenson, Byung-hun Lee and Ray Park. The film is set to hit theaters March 29th.
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