Rumors are now circulating that Paramount Pictures has narrowed the candidates down to one - Jon Chu. Yes, assuming the Internet murmurs are to be believed, the man who directed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never will be leading the Joes into battle in 2012.
Deadline has the report, claiming that Chu is Paramount's choice for the project and the only things standing between between Chu and the G.I. Joe 2 director's chair are a few final details of the deal that still need to be worked out. That said, the film would be a high-profile promotion for Chu considering his recent work - Step Up 2: The Streets and Step-Up 3-D. Given Justin Bieber: Never Say Never's meager $13 million production budget, it'd be surprising to see Chu pass on an opportunity to ground himself as a big budget action film director.
Chu is certainly an unlikely choice, especially since he beat out a pair of accomplished filmmakers with experience in the action movie genre - Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) and F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job). So why is Paramount interested in Chu, a relative-unknown director who has mainly capitalized on cookie-cutter sequels for an existing dance franchise as well as a documentary/feature length music video about a pop musician with a rabid teenage-girl fan-base?
While it's purely speculation at this point, one thing stands out - unlike F. Gary Gray or Juame Collet-Serra, Jon Chu has experience shooting a film in the 3D.
We've yet to receive an official word regarding whether or not G.I. Joe 2 will be shot in 3D - but, with the addition of Jon Chu behind the lens, the odds of a 3D Joe film have increased astronomically. Paramount has flocked to the 3D bandwagon for their tent pole films - like this year's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (not to mention looking to future projects like Star Trek 2 for a 3D shoot).
As a result, when Chu's Step-Up 3-D stumbled around the box office to a $42 million domestic haul (after costing $30 million to produce), Paramount executives must have been in the audience, ignoring the slick choreography, and drooling over the extra money Chu could deliver in up-charged ticket sales.
Unless of course, there's another explanation.
Once Chu has signed on the dotted line, the director and Paramount will get to work negotiating with the cast - to see who will return to dance... I mean fight another day.
The G.I. Joe sequel does not have a release date yet but expect the film to hit theaters in 2012.