In January, it was announced that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra director Stephen Sommers was not returning to helm the inevitable Untitled G.I. Joe Sequel. Soon after, we learned that Jaume Collet-Serra, F. Gary Gray, and Jon M. Chu were all in contention to possibly direct this follow-up to 2009's big screen adaptation of the popular Hasbro toy and cartoon franchise.
Jon M. Chu talks about the prospects of directing a sequel to what he calls an American institution
We were able to get Jon M. Chu, one of the top contenders for the job, on the phone this morning. After discussing his upcoming release of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director's Fan Cut, which hits theaters this Friday, we managed to get Jon M. Chu to give us some insight into what is actually gong on with G.I. Joe 2. He very much wants to direct the sequel, and hopes to bring both the heart and the punch back to this franchise.
Here is our conversation.
With your background in dance and choreography, what kind of fight scenes can we expect to see between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe 2?
Jon M. Chu: (Laughs) I am up for a lot of projects right now. But if I got Joe, I would feel extremely blessed and very happy. That would be really awesome. But, you know? It is a far-fetched dream right now. For me? I grew up with Joe. I loved Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Joe. I think we've been waiting for the Joe movie that we've always wanted, but have never gotten. I think there is an opportunity to do that. For me, with dance and choreography, it's about a love of movement. I am not a dancer myself. I like to dance. But I am not a dancer. I think movement tells the story. Whether it is John Wayne standing on the porch, or leaning on something, and then he puts his hands in his pockets. Movement can communicate so much. I feel like using movement in a story, especially in terms of action, you can do a lot with that. If I were ever lucky enough to get that, it would be pretty awesome.
There was more news out today about the sequel, and your name has popped up quite a bit. I saw that, and I was thinking that your style would fit perfectly for some of the heavier fight scenes. As it is a movie geared towards younger teenagers and kids, you can't make it extremely violent. But your use of choreography would certainly keep it interesting to watch.
Jon M. Chu: It could be that way. But the 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 don't want to make Joe too kidsie. That is one of the issues they are having. But yeah, I would have so much fun. There are so many cool characters to play with.
What is exactly going on with G.I. Joe 2 right now? You've been in talks to directing, right?
Jon M. Chu: It is up to them right now. I have talked to them before. I am just sort of in it right now, waiting to see what happens.
Being a fan of the property, what do you hope to see out of G.I. Joe 2?
Jon M. Chu: I am trying to figure that out right now. I have a bunch of stuff written down. I have done a bunch of drawings and things. We'll have to see where that goes. 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 can't treat Joe like its just another action movie. You can't 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.
G.I. Joe Retaliation was released March 28th, 2013 and stars Dwayne Johnson, Jonathan Pryce, Byung-hun Lee, Elodie Yung, Ray Stevenson, D.J. Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum. The film is directed by Jon M. Chu.