Obsessed With Film caught with up director John M. Chu at the London premiere of his insanely popular Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never a few weeks ago and he never gave us a hint at the big deal that was brewing for him. Deadline say that Chu, director of the Step Up sequels has been chosen by Paramount to direct the next installment of the G.I. Joe franchise. Chu beat out F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen) and Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) to the director's chair and he will helm G.I. Joe 2 this fall, from a script by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. It's a big deal for Chu, who despite having worked on some popular movies, has never taken a studio tentpole and a large budget like this before but it's also a job that comes with it some huge pressures. The first G.I. Joe movie was critically loathed, and was the victim of such steaming fanboy flame on the web-sphere that barely allowed the original to make back any sizable profit ($300 million worldwide from a $175 million budget, $150 million coming domestically) and well... it was such a mess as a film, picking up the pieces and seeing what's left for a sequel is no simple task. And perhaps most importantly - Chu, alongside Paramount execs, have to get as much of the band back together from the original as they can. Despite the studio norm with 21st century blockbusters usually involving sequels deals written into contracts, The Hollywood Reporter hints that some of the original cast won't return for G.I. Joe 2 with their roles either removed from the picture completely, or re-worked. Channing Tatum would seem a must and he's lost out on so many tentpole jobs recently (Captain America being one), he will enjoy the paycheck and the exposure. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I imagine, is also a priority to reprise Cobra Commander (a rare high point of the original) but he's so in demand these days - not least with a major part in The Dark Knight Rises this summer, it won't be easy securing his signature. THR say outright that Sienna Miller is 'unlikely' to return as the Baroness, and they hint towards a re-casting. No reason given. No plot details have been announced yet or any further details but we imagine it will be in 3D with a budget more around the $115 million mark this time around, maybe even smaller. Chu said this week to Movieweb;
he one thing I felt was missing from the last Joe movie was the power of the punch. You want Joe to be tough. They are fun, but they are tough. I feel that you dont want to make Joe too kidsie.
Joe, to me, is iconic. It is as American as Coke and the Boy Scouts. To have that kind of history in a brand is so rare these days. And that is so powerful. So you cant treat Joe like its just another action movie. You cant treat Joe as just another petty commercial movie. Joe has history. Joe has always been a part of what America is, and now the world. What it means to be a leader and a hero. For me, it is about the fun stuff like Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, and all the gadgets. All of that stuff. But it has heart. Its heart is what America, and what heroes and leaders around the world, strive to be. I think that is what the brand needs. It needs the respect to be treated in that way.