2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was received either as gloriously stupid, or just about the most brain dead film ever made. The film made $300 worldwide, and must have sold well on DVD and Blu-ray (and helped toy sales), because Paramount is actually going forward with a sequel to this Hasbro toy line. And to helm it, they’ve chosen Jon Chu – at least according to Deadline Hollywood and Mike Fleming. Which leads me to suspect they’re going to go 3-D with this one.
Chu’s best known for directing the deliriously entertaining (and also farily stupid) Step Up 2: The Streets. (True story: I didn’t know that was a sequel to Step Up until someone explained it to me as I read it as Step Up to the Streets.) He also directed Step Up 3-D, and the more recent Justin Bieber movie Never Say Never, in which – as I understand – Bieber played James Bond in the prequel.
Though it was only in passing, Chu worked with G.I. Joe 1 star Channing Tatum on Step Up 2: The Streets (much like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, it’s more fun to type the film’s entire title), so perhaps that means we will see some – if not most – of the same cast, though because this was not pursued immediately it suggests that they don’t really care about the cast so much as the brand (and also suggests that the studio wasn’t happy with the first film’s helmer). But as with most franchise productions, it’s likely the studio can bring any of the leads back, including Dennis Quaid, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon -Levitt, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Rachel Nichols’ breasts, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, and/or Saïd Taghmaoui. Whew. Likely some of this cast will be left behind, depending on how much it’s based on the first film. My guess is that the first movie will get lip service.
A couple of directors were up for the project, including The Italian Job‘s (the Remake version) F. Gary Gray and Unknown‘s Jaume Collet-Serra. Two things then are suggested by Chu’s hiring. One is that Stephen Sommer’s version was too expensive, and so they want someone they can control and don’t have to pay much. Chu is surely trying to break out of the musicals ghetto (there’s not a lot of future in that), and must have had a good experience with Paramount with the Bieber “movie.” That’s not to say Chu doesn’t have vision, but he’s likely someone happy to have a chance to break away from what’s he been (stuck) doing. The second thing that strikes me is that Chu’s last two films have been in 3-D. Though the format may or may not be on the wane (keep an eye on Clash of the Titans 2 if it goes 3-D or not in the end), one thing that Chu has over the two other directors is experience with the format. As there’s no cast set, likely this would be a late 2012 release.