Back in October of 2011, SuperHeroHype had the opportunity to visit the Louisiana-based production of G.I. Joe: Retaliation and, in the very near future, we’ll be bringing you interviews with stars Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Elodie Yung and Ray Stevenson along with detailed accounts of some of the impressive sets designed for the March 29 release. In advance of that, we’ve caught up with director Jon M. Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to discuss the big reason for the film’s move from 2012 to 2013: 3D.
Having had nearly a full year to post-convert the action adventure, both filmmakers are decidedly proud of the results and have made plans to preview four minutes of 3D footage before screenings of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, opening January 25. Today, Break.com has a preview of that footage and, while you’ll need to go to a theater to catch the stereoscopic version, you can see for yourself how Chu’s use of color and depth lend themselves to the post-conversion process by checking out the video at the bottom of the page.
“That was a crazy time,” Chu laughs of the delay. “I didn’t want to answer any of the crazy rumors that were happening. The reality was the 3D… “
Among the theories formed about the delay was the rumor that new footage was being shot to include additional scenes for returning actor Channing Tatum.
“We didn’t go and reshoot anything,” Chu continues. “I’m not going to say what happens to Channing in the movie, but there wasn’t any of that crazy stuff. We just ignored it. It was funny, though, when that new trailer came out. Everyone was like, ‘Oh! He’s in it way more!'”
Although Tatum’s appearance as Duke helps connect G.I. Joe: Retaliation to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, di Bonaventura stresses that this new film takes on a very different tone.
“I really wanted to make the second film more grounded to get a greater sense of grit,” he explains. “The action pictures I’ve been involved in are ones where, when a guy gets punched, you really feel the punch and when somebody gets shot, you really feel the shot. When Jon came in, that was one of the things he said to me that made me go, ‘Okay. We’re really going to do this picture together.'”
The four-minute preview, which shows off a portion of one of two major fights between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, plays out in the film for a full ten minutes without any dialogue whatsoever, homaging Larry Hama’s classic “Silent Interlude” storyline from the Marvel Comics series.
“That was where it all sort of started,” says Chu. “Obviously, ninjas are a really big part of the movie and we thought that that would make it unique from other franchises to have both the military and the ninja side. We wanted to make sure we were doing something really, really different with ninjas that we had never done before. Because they have masks on and they don’t talk anyway, it was the perfect sort of place. You could tell a story with their fighting.”
“One of the biggest complaints about the first movie was that there wasn’t enough ninjas,” adds di Bonaventura. “That’s one of the reasons one of the major storylines in this one is only about ninjas.”
Not only does the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow fight play out without any dialogue, it doesn’t have a musical score either.
“Here, we have a little just to connect it to the other piece that we’re cutting,” says Chu, “…we had score, a long time ago. Then we just played it once when I was with the sound effects guys without the music just to hear the effects. It was so awesome we were like, ‘We need to have their whole fight without music!’ We brought it in and tried it and knew people would freak out a little bit, but it was so awesome we just had to do it.”
As much as the sequel plays tribute to the “G.I. Joe” 1980s cartoon and comic book series, di Bonaventura felt it was important to take the franchise back to its earliest roots.
“People who grew up with the original Joe were a little bit like, ‘What world did I enter here?'” he says of reactions to the first film among older moviegoers. “In this, Bruce Willis plays Joe Colton, who is the original Joe. Anybody who grew up with that is given a sort of bellwether in the movie. Bruce dresses and acts like and speaks like the guy I grew up with.”
“If he didn’t want to play Joe,” adds Chu, “we probably wouldn’t have had Joe in the movie. It was only because we said it would be our dream as ‘G.I. Joe’ fans to have the guy who represents it be the guy who represents all action movies of our generation.”
Despite the film’s delay, Chu is confident that fans will find the 3D worth the wait.
“We have a whole tank battle with HISS tanks and a little Ripsaw tank that the Rock drives around in,” he smiles. “It’s really cool in 3D… This is just a fun ride. You go and you get to experience this sort of mash-up of all these genres. In a way, ‘G.I. Joe’ was mash-up before mash-up ever existed.”
You can check out the new footage in the player below and check back soon for our full report from the set!