G.I. Joe: Retaliation will not feature more Channing Tatum as a result of the delay

I know the rumors were flying after the delay of G.I. Joe: Retaliation that seemed to focus on star Channing Tatum.  Without a doubt the focal point of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Tatum’s popularity has exploded in the years since then, and with rumors circulating around his demise in the sequel film, many inside sources claimed to have knowledge that this delay would also include significantly more Tatum.

I never bought it.

Considering the star actor’s shooting schedule and the requirements it would take to bring actors and crew in to shoot significantly more footage of him, I just couldn’t see how they would manage to do all of that, all while converting the film to 3D over a period of 9 months.  It has always been my suspicion that the sequel might feature different footage of Tatum, but would not necessarily feature more.  I’ve always said I thought they might recut the film or tweak it, or perhaps add just a short bit of new footage perhaps to show that Tatum was not killed, but it was pretty unrealistic to assume they would squeeze in a lot more footage among the rest of the story.

According to producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura this assumption is right on target.  He spoke with Crave Online, and mentioned that while there was a little bit of new shooting involved with the new cut of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Tatum will not appear in the film much more than he originally did.  His exact quote was:

“It’s not much different,” Di Bonaventura says. “Literally, we shot for three extra days. We just added sort of explanation in what we did afterwards.”

Which does make sense.  You can’t just bring in a single actor and shoot new scenes to broaden his scope in the film.  It would involve the whole cast and crew and significantly more time and resources.  The producer also said (speaking about whether the delay was to add more Channing Tatum to the film):

“No, it’s not, Di Bonaventura says. “That is a complete rumor. I don’t know where that started. Literally, Channing shot for – if I have it wrong, I’m off by an hour – four hours, five hours? So it wasn’t really about that at all.”

I won’t argue that they likely reconfigured the film a bit to make it look as if Duke did not get killed as they originally planned…but as Di Bonaventura says, I believe the final film we see in March is not going to be vastly different from the one we would have seen in June…aside from the 3D.

Check out Crave Online for the full interview.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation producer Di Bonaventura talks movie delay, 3D conversion

Slowly but surely we’re drifting closer to March, 2013, and every day we move closer, the promotional train will start revving up again. I think the more we see the name G.I. Joe: Retaliation in the public eye the better…we were getting some great word of mouth and some terrific response in the summer, and I can only hope these events kick back up again for the release in March.

For now, Collider has spoken with Lorenzo Di Bonventura, one of the producers for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and because Collider is awesome, they made sure to get some G.I. Joe questions in there.  The questions focused mainly on 3D conversion and the film’s delay.  When talking about the 3D conversion itself in relation to the delay, Di Bonventura said:

“We learned a lot about 3D—I personally learned a lot about 3D inTransformers. The conversion part of the 3D process is night and day, you know, every three, four months it’s better than it was before.  It’s amazing how fast that thing has changes.  And originally we didn’t really have the time or the resources to try to figure out how to shoot it in 3D in the time frame that we were originally talking about, you know, starting in August and releasing in June.  So this delay has allowed us to go at it now.”

…and he brings up a good point.  Many folks have forgotten that G.I. Joe: Retaliation was initially slated for a later release, but got pushed up to meet the spot for the vacated Star Trek sequel.  I can imagine that much compressed timeline meant that real time 3D wasn’t an option.  In talking about director Jon Chu’s experience with 3D:

“Jon [Chu] has some sequences that are really, there’s a phenomenal—for G.I. Joe fans it’s going to be one of the really great scenes for them, because there’s a fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in a hallway that is so perfect for 3D I can’t tell you.  It’s going to be like one of the coolest fights ever in 3D, because there’s so much about it that’s dynamic.  That’s going to be really fun.  And you know people have seen bits and pieces of the Himalayan sort of rock climbing thing, it’s almost 3D without having turned into 3D, so I can’t wait to see that.  That one’s going to be like what the hell?”

Interesting.  All of the footage that we’ve seen so far involve some scenes from that hallway battle, and they certainly don’t seem like a showcase fight between the two, but thinking about 3D and those throwing stars flying around…that has the potential to be a very cool sequence.  Certainly when thinking about 3D, I usually think about a much broader expanse, but in that tight area, there are some pretty neat things that could be done.

Lastly, Do Bonaventura talks about the delay itself:

“When you’re planning yourself all towards one direction, you know, you definitely go, ‘Whoa, what the hell?’ But the second—here’s a sort of simple way for me to look at things: if the studio wants to spend money on making your movie better, let them… I find it hilarious when people fight that, you know? I’m like, ‘Great, you want to spend a lot of money and try to make our movie a bigger success? Okay! That sounds good.’ And Jon got that too. The first moment you’re sort of going, “Whoa! Uhhh, wait.’ Then you realize, ‘Oh okay, great, let’s do that.’”

Yeah, that’s a pretty good point, too.  Sure, it feels like a gut punch, but Paramount is investing some serious cash to push the film back and to invest some more money in 3D conversion and possibly some reshoots.  Obviously they have some faith that the end result will be worth it.

Check out the article at Collider right here, and big thanks to them for asking some G.I. Joe themed questions.  I think we’re all keeping the candle lit for another 4 months.  It’ll be here sooner than we think!