EXCLUSIVE – Jon Chu speaks about G.I. Joe: Retaliation rumors

With the recent chaos surrounding the delay of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, film director Jon Chu’s Twitter account has been noticeably quiet, leading some to think that there might be something amiss.  In light of the recent rumors surrounding a contentious atmosphere between the director and Paramount, I reached out to Mr. Chu to ask him about the situation, and he responded to some of my questions.

The director of G.I. Joe: Retaliation denies claims that there is any contention whatsoever between himself and Paramount, and he is in fact currently at work on the film.  The long length of the delay was actually at his request to make sure if they were going to go through the 3D conversion that they do it the right way and not be rushed.

He did admit that he was disappointed about the push back of the film, but he is working hard to do the film right.  In fact, the director, who already has significant 3D experience with Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, said to me that he hopes to try some “fun new things” with the technology as we move towards the new release date in 2013.

While he obviously could not confirm any specific details about reshoots, he did say that any new scenes they are shooting will endeavor to be as good as they can be in 3D to make the wait worth while.

Mr. Chu did want to make sure that I relayed his deep appreciation for all of the great feedback he’s received so far and for how well he is being accepted and treated by the fans of the franchise.  He and Paramount are “working very well together” and from the sounds of it, the film is on the right track as we move towards March, 2013.  He was quite happy and satisfied that Paramount agreed to give them the extra time and resources required to do the film in 3D the right way.

I cannot thank Mr. Chu enough for taking the time to answer some of my questions and to put my mind at ease with some of these recent revelations.

It certainly has led me to treat some of these internet rumors with a large grain of salt as we get closer to the movie.

Disturbing new details starting to emerge from G.I. Joe: Retaliation date change

Now, of course, this has to stay in strict “rumor mill” mode, but honestly Drew McWeeny from HitFix is a very well connected guy in the movie industry, so I would think this is something we should pay some attention to, and it does connect some dots for us.

According to the aforementioned HitFix, Paramount’s decision to move the film release date has created some contention between the studio and director Jon M. Chu, and in fact, Paramount may be attempting to press forward with reshoots without Chu’s involvement.  This could be huge, and would certainly explain the director’s Twitter silence.

Chu has long established his fandom of the G.I. Joe franchise, and has been exceptionally well connected to the fans through social media, so if Paramount tries to lock him out of the reshoot process, do we all risk losing some connection to the production, and losing the assistance of someone who will fight for what we want to see in a G.I. Joe film?  However, also according to HitFix, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (who has some klout with the studio) is standing firm by Chu’s side and supporting him against the studio.  Check out the full paragraph here:

“We’ve been hearing reports of rough test screenings for the film, but things are starting to get genuinely contentious between director Jon Chu and the studio, and right now, there is a chance he won’t be directly involved at all with the reshoots.  There’s also a chance Chu might try to legally force his way back onto the film, which could create even more strain in the relationship he has with Paramount.  Word is that producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is firmly on Chu’s side, which could help, but I shouldn’t be shocked if we get word soon that Stuart Baird or someone similar is being brought on to “consult.””

Obviously this turns the entire production process on its ear, and unfortunately injects even more doubt and chaos into what is already a bizarre, uncomfortable next nine months for everyone involved.

Interestingly, among this is other news according to IGN.com, who reports that another Paramount production, World War Z is also going through a long series of reshoots and have also endured a date change, signifying that this isn’t a problem necessarily focused purely on G.I. Joe.  It sounds like Paramount is scrambling to refocus on their films and find a better, more effective formula for their story telling.  In light of the massive domestic failures of John Carter and Battleship, and in light of the tremendous success of Avengers, it looks like Paramount is paying more attention to the narrative.  Hopefully the results in March show that to be the right move, but if the voyage over the next nine months is fraught with the same chaos, uncertainty, and train wreck under tones that we’ve seen over the past two weeks, G.I. Joe’s public face is just going to suffer further.

At the end of the day, it feels like the G.I. Joe brand in general is a brand that has been skirting the line of viability and profitability over the past several years, and this constant barrage of press for all the wrong reasons isn’t going to do it any favors long term.  Buckle up, Joe fans.

Big thanks to Ed Dam from JoeCanuck.com for the heads up to the article, and check out the full article at HitFix.

Channing Tatum talks (briefly) about rumors of more Duke in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

While Paramount’s official line remains that the G.I. Joe: Retaliation delay is due to a desire to convert the film to 3D, rumors still swirl that they’re also doing some reshoots and also trying to provide more Channing Tatum for the movie going audience.

While at the MTV Movie Awards last night, Tatum was approached by MTV and asked about the status of G.I. Joe: Retaliation and whether or not he would be participating in any reshoots.  His answer was pretty non-committal, saying he didn’t really know what was going on, and that he had done everything they had asked him to do.

Doesn’t sound much like someone who is still involved with the film, in my mind…or has the desire to promote it.  But we are still nine months out.

Also, don’t forget that there were rumors that people seeing the early screenings were being shown two endings, one with Tatum deceased, and one with him alive.  It’s possible they have already filmed all of the footage of him that they need and it’s all up to the editors now.  Check out the interview on MTV.com or also embedded below.

GeneralsJoes Reviews the San Diego ComicCon Jinx figures!

The movie is pushed back to 2013, G.I. Joe: Renegades is long gone, and by all accounts, mass retail toy shelves are going to be barren for the next 6 – 8 months.  Deth of teh line!!1!

But wait…there is a light on the horizon in the form of the San Diego ComicCon figures (and vehicle) that should hit the West Coast shortly after JoeCon this year.  For this year’s action figure offerings, Hasbro is going back in time, and now forward in time to bring us some great representations of G.I. Joe ninja finance clerk Jinx!  We have the red version taking us back to better days of 1987…well, except for that whole Cobra La thing.  And we’ve got a white version sporting a head sculpt looking very much like Elodie Yung who represents Jinx in the film, now coming out in nine months.  The whole time continuum is collapsing!

I struggled a bit with where to put these reviews, but since the packaging is very 25th Anniversary themed, that’s where they are.  So check out my 25th Anniversary Review Page, or just hit the links below!  A big thanks to Gyre Viper from the JDSO Podcast and Jay from Carded Heroes for spreading the love a bit and letting me get these reviews out there.  Enjoy.