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Of the directors who were reportedly in contention to direct the second G.I. Joe film, John Chu seemed like the most bizarre choice. Fresh off making the concert documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and with Step Up 3D also on his resume, Chu seemed much better suited to musicals, or dance movies, or anything that didn't involve heroes fighting on behalf of the United States.
But he got the job anyway, and now in an interview with Box Office Magazine is beginning the long, long process of defending himself to the press. He does a remarkable job of it, actually, in a lengthy interview that manages to give away no plot details about the new film-- of course-- but conveys a lot of enthusiasm for what's up next. He even obliquely acknowledges that the first G.I. Joe film wasn't the best it could have been. Check it out:
There's something about G.I. Joe that has history, that has a soul, and there's very few brands have a soul. Like the Boy Scouts has something to do with America, even Mickey Mouse, even Apple has a soul to it. And Joe has a soul. And I've never felt like I've had a movie of Joe of where I can taste my childhood right there.
He goes on to acknowledge that his background in dance movies may or may not help that much with directing the action sequences in Joe-- "Does dance choreography experience actually translate to action? I don't know the answer, to be honest"-- and that producer Lorenzo di Bonaventure "put me through the wringer" before he was given the job. He also seems iffy on whether or not they'll shoot in 3D, saying that he wants to do it, but "there's no way in hell I am dimensionalizing it." My guess is that's his way of referring to post-production 3D, where you add extra planes into the shot using computers and almost inevitably come up with something that looks terrible.
You can read a lot more where that came from at Box Office, and get to know Chu as a thoughtful, articulate director who, believe it or not, may actually be the perfect guy to direct a G.I. Joe movie. I know, it took me by surprise too, but it's exciting to think that even with a sequel to a movie nobody particularly loved, we might be ready to see something new.