A follow-up to the 2009 release of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," which grossed over $300 million worldwide, Paramount Pictures, MGM and Skydance Productions, in association with Hasbro, commenced the di Bonaventura production of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (rated PG-13 for intense action, combat violence and brief language; and with a running time of 110 min.)
In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. The film stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. Directed by Jon M. Chu, and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner, from a screenplay by Rhett Rees
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who has had a hand in some of the most successful film franchises to date, including the billion dollar franchise TRANSFORMERS, felt that the first film’s conclusion left the door open to explore more within the G.I. JOE world.
"I thought that ending the first film with the suggestion that there was an imposter in the oval office was something that was completely unique and would be an interesting thing to examine… It was important to find a director who would really own it completely and be able to take all the multi-layered characters and treat them with gravity," says di Bonaventura.
When considering directors to helm the sequel, Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group, surprised di Bonaventura by suggesting director on-the-rise Jon M. Chu, who had just come off of the hugely-successful Justin Bieber movie NEVER SAY NEVER. "Jon and I had a funny first meeting because his experiences are pretty far away from mine and vice versa, but I discovered that he grew up with the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA mythology and understood the internal aesthetics of what G.I. JOE is and that is something that’s invaluable," recalls di Bonaventura. "After talking, we found out that we were both trying to make the same movie and it’s been a great partnership."
In Chu, producers saw a fresh set of eyes with genuine enthusiasm and love for the brand. "He has a shorthand with these characters and he brings a great sense of experimentation to his films," says executive producer Erik Howsam.
Recalls Chu, "I grew up with G.I. JOE and was familiar back before the cartoon and comic books, and felt that that we could tie in the brand to various generations. My version would be what any fan boy would want to see."
The G.I. JOE mythology runs deep and has a pantheon of characters to draw from, each with their own back-story, nuances and characteristics. When approaching the sequel, the filmmakers wanted to build on the best elements and storylines from the first film and carry those through to the second installment while simultaneously creating a new identity and feel. This offered the opportunity to introduce new characters from the mythology to the franchise.
Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will possibly reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Grisold in New Line’s Vacation remake. Chase and D’Angelo are in talks to join :Ed Helms and Christina Applegate in the new comedy.
Kate Mara is joining Johnny Depp in Transcendence.
J.K. Simmons and Chris Elliott have joined star Hugh Grant in an untitled romantic comedy about a British writer teaching screen writing at a small east coast college.
Alan Arkin has joined Jon Hamm in the Disney baseball film Million Dollar Arm. Hamm plays a real-life sports agent who happened to discover professional pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel through a reality show he set up in India with cricket players. Arkin plays a retired baseball scout.