[Movies] Director John Chu Says He Specifically Wanted to Take on G.I. Joe: Retaliation Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.14.2013
More from the film…
- Director John Chu recently spoke about his work on G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Here are the highlights…
Did He Specifically Go After G.I. Joe: Retaliation?: Yeah, I was finishing up my other movie and I always loved action adventure. It's something I always wanted to do. Obviously, I played with Joes as a kid and loved them. To me, it was an opportunity to do something cool with Joe. I was talking with Adam Goodman at the time and it happened to be the moment they were looking for a director. He asked what I liked about it and I told him how, when I was a little kid, I would take them out into the backyard and play in the mud, dirt and the water. I loved the aesthetic, which was week-long adventures in my backyard and I love the idea of making a movie like that because I don't think we have a lot of those movies. Fantasy-style with hard action.
Was It Hard Selling Himself To The Studio?: Yeah, going after any movie there is a lot of competition to try and get it. To me, it was more about "I've always loved movement." Storytelling and movement without words. Even when watching John Wayne on the porch or Cyd Charisse taking off her jacket and revealing her red dress. All those things communicate so much more than paragraph dialogue could and that's what I'm fascinated with. Convincing them to hire me for the job, I guess, was just my expressing my passion for the characters and how we want to make it human while also grounding the characters. Make them individuals, because that's what I love. My Roadblock is my Roadblock. He was a person with a personality and with a different uniform then everyone else who had an arm missing and that shipment in was really cool to me.
On Stepping Into a World Left From Another Director: They're are some things we definitely knew that we couldn't abandon. My idea of what "G.I. Joe" is a little bit different than that and how I have always fantasized about how Joe would be. Since we are starting from a different part of the universe, we were able to make it fresh. Of course, when you put someone like Dwayne, Bruce Willis and these guys in there, it changes up the whole vibe. So no matter what, where we started it, the tone was going to be different. I never really thought we had to tie into anything visually from the first movie. Not that I had anything against it. It just isn't my style. So, like the costumes and stuff, we were able to refresh everything. Also, in the tradition of "G.I. Joe," every time they release a new version, the characters would get a new costume.
On The Different Generations of GI Joe Making Things Difficult: In terms of style of this movie, there are so many different "G.I. Joe" generations and people who have their own ideas on "G.I. Joe," which is also the biggest difficulty. You have the original Joe people, which were 12-inch dolls during the Korean war. That type of thing, which is very real. Then you have the cartoon generation that is all "Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes!" and the original fans are like, "Who the f--k are those guys?" Then you have the comic books, which take those characters and grounds it in a lot of different ways. While I watched the cartoon a lot and I thought the first movie was sort of in that realm, we are doing more like the comic book version. We have the characters, but you can see the scratches on their armor. Like, every time one character kills someone, they scratch a mark into their armor. It has a wear and tear to it. With the action, it's fun since we have all these different worlds that we jump into. The ninja world and the military world and each one we spend a lot of time in. We go to Pakistan, Washington D.C., the Himalayas, a valley, the desert, Japan. All over. With each, we employed a different style which has made this process really a lot of fun. In one scene we use GoPro's that we can throw around and at people. In another scene, everything is smooth and slick. It is dictated by the movement and the story we are trying to tell. I have always loved action adventure like "T2" and "Indiana Jones." To me, the martial arts stuff I love. "Kung Fu Hustle" is one of my favorite movies. Also, I always watch "Goodfellas" before I start a movie just because, when you think everything has been done, you watch that again. It shows how normalcy in a talking scene can become this really interesting mental game-play. That is what we try to do in this movie, because we have such visual eye candy. Like, at one point we are in a cave telling a story and two people are talking. You can actually make that really interesting by being way outside the cave and just hearing them echo through it and not see where they are or just the shadow moments. We play a lot with that.