G.I. Joe is one of many franchises that, back in 2014, Paramount announced would have a new installment in theaters for 2016; as of right now, though, the project is without a director. Casino Royale director Martin Campbell was the last candidate reported to be in consideration to helm the next live-action movie based on the 1980s Hasbro brand, but now it would appear the studio has another pick in mind.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation helmsman Jon M. Chu was originally set to return for G.I. Joe 3, but he dropped out to go and direct Now You See Me: The Second Act. The G.I. Joe 3 script was rewritten by Jonathan Lemkin (Devil’s Advocate, Shooter) some time after Chu’s departure; coupled with the report about Campbell, this news appeared to signal an (encouraging) change in direction for the not-so-beloved action franchise.
Deadline, however, is reporting that D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) is now in talks with Paramount for him to sit in the director’s chair on G.I. Joe 3, after he completes his work on the upcoming Kate Beckinsale thriller, The Disappointment Room (due for arrival in Fall 2015).
G.I. Joe 3, as mentioned before, is tentatively slated to arrive in 2016. Paramount may be hoping to reach a deal with Caruso promptly, so production can get started in time for the next Joe adventure to keep pace with other franchise installments the studio has planned for a 2016 release (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and Star Trek 3). That would explain Deadline‘s sources claiming that Caruso is likely to reach a deal with the studio, even though he’s only in “early discussions” to direct G.I. Joe 3 at this point in time.
Campbell was an intriguing pick to direct G.I. Joe 3, based on the hope that he would then bring his espionage action/thriller game (see also: Goldeneye, Edge of Darkness) rather than his pop genre blockbuster approach (see: Green Lantern) to the table. The first two G.I. Joe films were commercially successful, yet their blending of military action with more fantastical/sci-fi elements tended to be handled poorly, resulting in movies that were more slapdash than fun, escapist, entertainment. Which is to say, a change for the darker (and more grounded) could be in order.
Caruso does indeed specialize in darker genre fare (see also: Taking Lives), yet many of his past directorial efforts (such as I Am Number Four) are known for having similar problems as the previous G.I. Joe movies; hackneyed plots and flashy, yet also derivative, action/thriller components among them. Campbell doesn’t have a flawless track record either, as mentioned before, but he boasts a much stronger resume than Caruso on the whole.
Caruso being approached to direct G.I. Joe 3 reads as something of a mixed blessing, all things considered. He’s someone whom Paramount can trust to deliver a competent G.I. Joe movie – one no worse and (dare we hope…) maybe even better than its predecessors – in time for 2016… but, at the same time, Caruso’s not really someone who’s likely to rejuvenate this franchise the way many fans would prefer.
As for G.I. Joe 3 casting, Dwayne Johnson’s Roadblock will play a more extensive role here than he even did in Retaliation, so if filming is to begin this year it will have to be scheduled around The Rock’s other commitments (including his voice role in Disney Animation’s Fall 2016 release Moana and a leading role opposite Kevin Hart in the action/comedy Central Intelligence). Beyond that, though, it remains to be seen what the ratio of old blood vs. new blood is, casting-wise, in the third G.I. Joe.
More on G.I. Joe 3 as the story develops.