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Director John Chu talks Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe Retaliation

Oct. 17, 2012by: Paul Shirey
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We've all been moaning and groaning over the decision to bump director John Chu's G.I. JOE: RETALIATION from summer to March 2013, but in this interview with Celebuzz, he discusses where the film is at in terms of finishing up and what seems very likely to be his next film; the long-awaited adaptation of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE.  As a child of the '80's my bedroom floor was littered with He-Man figures and my eyes were glued to the TV every day after school to watch the scantily-clad hero use everything but his magical sword to beat his enemies.

What prompted Chu to tackle MOTU:

"I was approached about doing a Masters of the Universe movie and while at first I was skeptical, I read the script and I was blown away. I had no idea what to expect but it was such a fresh, UNEXPECTED approach I was immediately intrigued. I never expected to connect on a human level to a MOTU movie but I really plugged in emotionally. That alone, got me excited to see what we could do with the property.

MOTU is such a challenging puzzle to make into a movie that works to a contemporary audience but the script seemed to really crack it for me. I think people are really going to be surprised at the rich story we have the opportunity to tell in this world. Where you think MOTU goes left, the script goes right and it was just very clear to me this was something very special.

It was never a conscious decision to do another “toy” movie but when I read this I couldn’t put it down. And I definitely couldn’t let anyone else make it but myself :) It was just too much fun."

On whether he was a fan of the toys:

"I LOVED the toys growing up. I had Grayskull, I had BattleCat/Cringer, I had Stratos and Orko and obviously He-Man and Skeletor. I also watched the cartoon a lot growing up. This is my era, so going to Mattel to visit their headquarters was like walking into a childhood fantasy. They had a lifesized He-Man in the lobby as well as a glass case with EVERY SINGLE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE action figure on display. It brought me back to my youth and I knew I had to be a part of getting this movie together. For every MOTU fan out there, it felt like it was time and I wanted to make sure to protect it in the process."

On exploration of the MOTU mythos and comparisons to the '80's movie with Dolph Lundgren:

"I feel like there’s a lot of room to crack open the Masters of the Universe story. We are still in our process and I think we have some great seeds planted but making one of these types of movies RIGHT takes a lot of TONAL tightroping so we’re just going to play for the next several months. Play with designs, play with the characters, try new things, maybe go too far on some things and pull back. The process is really important to find where the right line is so we can land right on it. I think that’s what can dig out the properties full potential for a cinematic rebirth.

I don’t really think about the 80s movie when looking at this movie because the script here is so strong and so unique. I think the characters are so grounded and layered I never expected that in a Masters movie so to me it’s on a totally different level. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 80s movie for full nostalgic reasons but this script feels like it’s a totally different genre than that one."

On when he'll start on MOTU and the state of G.I. Joe Retaliation:

"I can’t say exactly, but my first priority right now is still G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  We are finishing the dimensionalizing of the film and I want the audience to be blown away by the 3D work we do in it so that takes a lot of my time and energy currently. It’s a lot of technical and creative stuff put together which I love. I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve done, finally!"

I read a MOTU script a few years ago that was pretty entertaining and much more serious in tone than the cartoon (which is ridiculous, in case you haven't seen it since the '80's...I have...thank you Netflix streaming).  I've always been intrigued by the Frazetta-ish art that adorned the toy packaging and hoped to see a movie adaptation that echoed that style and tone.  Can Chu bring that home?  Time will tell.  Oh, and click here to check out a MOTU art gallery showing a few years back.  Some truly great gems in there.

John Chu's G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Bruce Willis, Ray Park, Ray Stevenson, Byung-hun Lee, D.J. Cotrona, Jonathan Pryce, and RZA will hit theaters in 2D and 3D on March 29, 2013.

And, I'll just leave this right here for you...

Extra Tidbit: Would you prefer campy or Conan for your MOTU adaptation?
Source: Celebuzz

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9:22AM on 10/18/2012

you know what they say...

when you are breaking into the movie biz you have to make what makes money. One glance at this guy's CV and you know he had student loans to pay off. I'll give G.I. Joe a shot before I cast judgement. I must say, the amount of dance movies under this guys belt, plus the Biber flick makes me very skeptical. But i guess he can direct a dance sequence, and that may be as challenging as an action sequence, I dunno, never looked at any of the dance flicks because they all look like shit to me.
As
when you are breaking into the movie biz you have to make what makes money. One glance at this guy's CV and you know he had student loans to pay off. I'll give G.I. Joe a shot before I cast judgement. I must say, the amount of dance movies under this guys belt, plus the Biber flick makes me very skeptical. But i guess he can direct a dance sequence, and that may be as challenging as an action sequence, I dunno, never looked at any of the dance flicks because they all look like shit to me.
As for MOTU, as a kid i loved aspects of the Lundgren movie, it was the 80's cheese was mandatory. The hover discs, magic and tech mixed, it was fun, mind you i was 7 so just about anything like that would be fun. Have i looked at it since? Hell no, not many 8-'s flicks age well, so I'll wait to see G.I. Joe before i feel comfortable with this guy at the helm of MOTU.
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+2
5:39AM on 10/18/2012
This should have been done by the Game of Thrones guys! I would LOOOOVE a great He-Man movie.. but I have little faith in this guy and his hopeless C.V. ..and also, he loves the 80's DolphLundgren version, that says a lot for taste!
This should have been done by the Game of Thrones guys! I would LOOOOVE a great He-Man movie.. but I have little faith in this guy and his hopeless C.V. ..and also, he loves the 80's DolphLundgren version, that says a lot for taste!
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-2
11:50PM on 10/17/2012

What that might mean

Maybe they are giving it a very Stylized approach....when I thought about it for a min. I really think that could work. Oh and dude that statement "fresh, UNEXPECTED approach is not exactly what one wants to hear" in what nerd paradise is that what one doesn't want to hear? Thats a good thing...unless you like the rotten and expected approach. In that case I totally get it..
Maybe they are giving it a very Stylized approach....when I thought about it for a min. I really think that could work. Oh and dude that statement "fresh, UNEXPECTED approach is not exactly what one wants to hear" in what nerd paradise is that what one doesn't want to hear? Thats a good thing...unless you like the rotten and expected approach. In that case I totally get it..
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11:38PM on 10/17/2012
I'm looking forward to seeing more from him because I enjoyed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (GASP!)

The GI JOE Retaliation trailer looked amazing, and then they had to go kill the interest with the rescheduling. I'd be game for an MOTU film that strikes a balance between slightly campy nostalgia factor, and enjoyable, thrilling fantasy action. That means it shouldn't fall into either extreme of "dark and gritty" or "silly and weightless fluff" - I think it can be done!
I'm looking forward to seeing more from him because I enjoyed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (GASP!)

The GI JOE Retaliation trailer looked amazing, and then they had to go kill the interest with the rescheduling. I'd be game for an MOTU film that strikes a balance between slightly campy nostalgia factor, and enjoyable, thrilling fantasy action. That means it shouldn't fall into either extreme of "dark and gritty" or "silly and weightless fluff" - I think it can be done!
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8:55PM on 10/17/2012
fresh, UNEXPECTED approach is not exactly what one wants to hear.

MOTU fans have certain expectations, and if they go the Transformers route, or something with stupid camp, they may get a franchise out of it, but all the old fans that have kept it alive will abandon it.
fresh, UNEXPECTED approach is not exactly what one wants to hear.

MOTU fans have certain expectations, and if they go the Transformers route, or something with stupid camp, they may get a franchise out of it, but all the old fans that have kept it alive will abandon it.
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7:27PM on 10/17/2012
He talked with such passion in his projects. I might give G.I. Joe Retaliation a try. Extra tidbit: I want to watch Master of the Universe along the serious tone of The Lord of the Ring.
He talked with such passion in his projects. I might give G.I. Joe Retaliation a try. Extra tidbit: I want to watch Master of the Universe along the serious tone of The Lord of the Ring.
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6:50PM on 10/17/2012
Jury's still out on this guy until I see G.I. Joe 2. As for MOTU, a long time ago there was talk about doing the movie 300-style, which I think would be an inspired choice.
Jury's still out on this guy until I see G.I. Joe 2. As for MOTU, a long time ago there was talk about doing the movie 300-style, which I think would be an inspired choice.
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