TR Interview: Jon M. Chu Talks G.I. Joe: Retaliation...and Masters of the Universe!

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies, Toys
Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:00 am


LYT: One of the positive changes that people noted on a very small scale was eliminating the lips on Snake Eyes' mask. Who made that call?

JMC: I think we all sort of made that call from the very beginning, coming in. The first thing we got into in terms of design was, hey guys, we knew we had to do that, we knew we had to jump in and figure out - you know, Snake Eyes has been reinvented so many times, the way we would do it would define a lot of the attitude of the movie, the tone of the movie, and so we did, I would say, 50 different versions of Snake Eyes, at least. Even just his visor, and what color it would be, or how much opacity there would be, or what kind of texture, or how shiny would it be. We wanted Snake Eyes to feel like there was a real human being underneath there, and that that face was real armor, not just a creature of some sort, so that people would understand, at least just a little more.

LYT: Is it hard when you're telling a story and creating jeopardy and things like that, to have a character who is so invincible, who almost has no weaknesses?

JMC: (laughs) Yeah, and that's a lot of our characters! Roadblock, and Joe Colton, and Snake Eyes, and all these guys - they have certain gifts, and certain expectations for how you want them to be, yet for a movie you want to have them be vulnerable, you need to have - that's why starting the movie with the Joes getting wiped out was critical to us, to set the tone that nobody's safe, anything can happen and that the danger was real. I actually think the only way you can go so far with the ninjas, the only way you can go so far with Cobra, is that you know the danger at least to them is real. So that was an important part of being able to pull of the fun that we wanted to be able to pull off in the movie.

LYT: In terms of the continuity of G.I. Joe, were you more of a fan of the cartoon, or the Marvel comic book, or just the storylines that came on the packages?

JMC: The toys I played with, probably even more than I watched the cartoon, although I watched the cartoon all the time - it was the toys where I would really create my own adventures with it, and the packages obviously had a big influence in that. It wasn't until later that I got more into the comic books, and I felt like the comic book was the tone of how I played with the toys. So when we were doing the movie, we really wanted to bring that idea with it, because the comic book had that...not sophistication, but a little bit of that that made them human beings, that made them have flaws, that made them - the struggles just between Snake Eyes and Scarlett, the love story to that, to me was epic, and so beautiful and operatic. So we wanted to create an environment where a story like that could be possible.

LYT: Are you still attached to Masters of the Universe?

JMC: Yeah. We're still in the beginning stages, designing a ton, and this is sort of the most fun phase, because we get to do a bunch of different designs of the world, and the costumes, and make a lot of mistakes, as much as we can, so we know where we shouldn't go, and where we should be headed, in terms of the tone and the look of the movie.

LYT: I know you probably can't tell us a lot about He-Man, but can you give us any indication if the tone will be closer to Filmation, or closer to the mini-comics, or closer to the bios on the current toys? Are you going for a campier tone like the cartoons, or something slightly more serious, do you think?

JMC: We're going for slightly more serious, and I wouldn't say "serious" as a dark tone you don't necessarily want He-Man to be in, but it's not campy. We're not going campy. It's sort of an origin story of how He-Man came to be, and to me that gives you a lot of opportunity to create real culture in this world. What is Eternia really like, what are the cultures, what are the languages they're speaking, what are Snake Men, what are Beast Men, what are all these things, and how do they exist in this world? So we're taking a real look at creating life on this planet, on this world, that hopefully will translate. And again, we're in a very early designing phase of it, the script is great, but we're still very early at figuring out exactly how theatrical we go, and how real we go, and how dark we can take it.

LYT: Do you think same actor for He-Man and Prince Adam, or different actors?

JMC: It's a little too early to tell. We're playing with the technique of how we'll actually pull that off.

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