The Hollywood Reporter speaks to Jon Chu on G.I. Joe: Retaliation

As part of the press blitz over the next couple of days, we should be seeing more and more of these interviews posted.  The Hollywood Reporter’s blog site “Heat Vision” spoke with Jon Chu a bit about G.I. Joe: Retaliation and specifically about casting Bruce Willis and the process of reinventing the film property for the sequel.

A couple of very interesting insights to me.  First and foremost, the decision to re-cast much of the film:

THR: What prompted the decision to reboot the cast and everything? Was it really unavailability or was that a choice you and/ or the studio came to?

Chu: Part me, part not me. And by the time I came in they had a script already — but not fully there, and we added a lot of things. Like Joe Colton wasn’t in the movie. We added that and Roadblock and things like that that weren’t just in there yet, but we knew we wanted to create a different world. You can’t discount the first movie at all — it was a huge and people loved it — but for me what I love about Joe is that everybody has interpreted theirs different ways. The comic book interprets it in one way. Even in the cartoon series, they switched theme songs in the middle, and so everybody interprets it in a different way. So for me I was like, let’s jump to a different part of the Joe world. It’s the same world, but at a different point. So when I pitched it, that was the idea — let’s pay homage to the old stuff, but also do new stuff. G.I. Joe was ultimate mash-up before mash-up ever existed, so that’s perfect right now. And all the kids who don’t know anything about G.I. Joe, who only know Call of Duty, who stole all their stuff from G.I. Joe, let’s reclaim it and do it better.”

I cannot properly express how much I love the above paragraph.  To a lot of people, G.I. Joe = Call of Duty, and I really don’t think that’s accurate.  There is so much more to the G.I. Joe mythology than simple “dark and gritty military”.  It sounds to me, like Chu gets that.  He understands it.  The whole “mash-up” concept is brilliant.  Throughout the years there have been space properties, ninja properties, disguise properties, cops n robbers properties, etc…  over the past 30 years, G.I. Joe has been all of that.  It’s been outlandish super hero laser-fights, it’s been dark and realistic military, it’s been aliens and super-powered clones.  It does it all.  I think it really takes the right mindset to figure out how to tie that all in together.  Obviously we won’t know if Jon Chu has that mindset until somewhere on the night of June 29th, but the above paragraph is a great start.

Secondly, the following quote interested me as well:

THR: Do you fully address getting rid of the guys from the previous film at the beginning of the movie, or how does that sort of work?

Chu: Yes and no. We address a little bit, but also leave some of it up in the air. But in my mind the movie was never about them, the movie is about our characters that you introduced from the beginning. We wanted people to come into this movie, and if you haven’t seen the first movie, be totally okay, which is actually pretty tough, because Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are hard to explain to somebody who had never seen G.I. Joe. But we leave some of it open, so you’ll see.”

I think this is great, too.  It’s the whole “reboot without a reboot” process, which I’ve been clamoring for since day one with the film sequel.  They can build on what happened in the first film without being 110% accurate to it.  Just gloss over the stuff you don’t like, write off some of the weirdness, but don’t forget about it.  I think that concept works.  The idea that the fate of previous characters is left “in the air” is also good, too.  It would be tough to imagine a G.I. Joe without Duke and Scarlett, so now, even though they are expanding the film universe and moving on without those characters, that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good.

Check out the full interview on The Hollywood Reporter, and stick right here at GeneralsJoes for the next 48 hours of G.I. Joe assault.  Yo Joe!

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