F. Gary Gray, Jon M. Chu “Top Candidates” To Direct ‘G.I. Joe 2’

F. Gary GrayWhen a prime Hollywood director prepares the main course of a movie franchise, it’s hard to find someone to take the leftovers. Nevertheless, Paramount Pictures is desperately trying to entice someone to settle for the sloppy seconds in its G.I. Joe franchise. Since Stephen Sommers left the directors chair on the sequel (he helmed the 2009 series starter that grossed just over $300 million worldwide), the studio has been trying to land a competent filmmaker for the follow up. And now, the shortlist…

Reuters and The Hollywood Reporter are claiming that F. Gary Gray, Jon M. Chu and Jaume Collet-Serra are top candidates to direct the high-priority project, which Paramount hopes will be ready for production by the summer for a 2012 release. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is once again producing and will have a hand in filmmaker selection.

While Collet-Serra is best known as a Warner Bros. based director (having made House of Wax, Orphan and this week’s Unknown for the studio), Gray and Chu have both helmed big films for Paramount. Gray made the 2001 blockbuster The Italian Job and while he’s had trouble mounting fresh films in recent years, his most recent outing was the modest hit Law Abiding Citizen. Chu cut his teeth on Disney’s dance hits Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, but is at home on the Paramount lot after directing Justin Bieber: Never Say Never to a solid $30 million opening weekend.

Based on their experience working in genre, I’m going to say that Collet-Serra and Gray are the best potential candidates for the job, with Gray narrowly edging Collet-Serra out since he’s the only one who has made films somewhere near G.I. Joe 2’s budget range. I think that Gray can inject some much-needed attitude into the characters; personality that was missing the first time around. Granted this is a film franchise based on Hasbro toys, but if Paramount wants to increase their profits this time it needs to push its creative team to create characters that the audience will care about when the bullets start flying and bombs start bursting. I’m not saying recast the roles, I’m saying rethink them…

Source: Reuters, THR