The critics may not have loved G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but Hollywood's golden rule is and has always been, "Film make money, film get sequel," which is why Paramount is marching onward with casting for G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation. We've already heard that Channing Tatum is back, along with Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki among others, but reports abound that the film might also enjoy the presence of a genuine bona fide action hero. Heat Vision tell us that Bruce Willis is in talks to play the original Joe in the next instalment of this noisy franchise.
John M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D) is replacing Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) in the directing seat, though I don't really know if that's a step forward or not. On the bright side, G.I. Joe 2's screenplay was penned by the same guys who wrote Zombieland: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film is set to start shooting in New Orleans later this month and is slated for release on June 29th 2012.
Whether or not Bruce Willis will be able to save this film in what will probably be a supporting role is one thing; whether or not he'll even be in it is still up in the air. Paramount have "declined to comment" on the talks which reveals that this bit of news was dug up through other channels rather than the official ones, so take it with a pinch of salt.
More solid is a list of the characters who'll be appearing in the film, some of whom are already cast and others who are not. Let's hear the roll call!
UPDATE: Carl Prude of Paramount gets in touch to say that many of the plot points below are inaccurate. Clearly the Casting call writers need to pay more attention!
The New Joes – Including Walker, Brock and Robyn. The casting call reveals a little more about each of their characters.
Walker is the wise-cracker of the bunch, who's always making jokes about other guys' moms. Robyn is a gun-loving weapons expert, who talks lovingly about her latest ultra-high-tech rifle. (Which prompts Walker to say that he loves "girls with guns.") Brock is from the 'hood and he listens to a lot of Cypress Hill on his boombox while looking at pictures of his eight-year-old twin girls. (When he takes the picture out of a Ziploc bag, Walker hopes he's bringing out some of his famous pistachio cheese balls.)
At one point, when Robyn, Brock and another Joe named Sam are on the run, they take refuge in Brock's old neighborhood, where one of the homies, a tattooed stone-cold badass named Stacks, promises to help him any way he can. Stacks and Brock are like brothers from another mother, and Stacks tells Brock they can hide out in the old rec center. He can even hook Brock up with a new set of wheels, which are pimped out but "on the low." (The joke is that the wheels are clearly not on the low, because they're too fancy and loud.)
Mouse – Who will be played by Joseph Mazzello. Mazzello was most recently seen in The Social Network but the greatest role of his career is still That Kid Who Got Electrocuted In Jurassic Park.
The newest recruit on the team … He's a Southern boy, "18 going on 11." He's got no real combat experience, but he's played a lot of Call of Duty. And when he goes up against one of the top Joes in a test to see who can pull a hand grenade out of a big pool out of water with their teeth, Mouse wins. He raises his arms in victory, and spits out the grenade, saying "Bang." The crowd of soldiers watching this goes nuts.
The Young Storm Shadow – Storm Shadow will be played once again by Byung-hun Lee (known best, by me at least, for his brilliant performance in The Good, The Bad, The Weird), but it looks like we're also going to be seeing some childhood flashbacks based on this casting call.
Blind Master (played by RZA!) talks to Storm Shadow about his early mistakes in voice-over, while we watch the young Storm Shadow fleeing the Dojo. Blind Master asks who had the most to gain from driving Storm Shadow from the Dojo: the rival who drove Storm away, or the "man into whose arms you were chased." We see that Storm Shadow took refuge with a "burly peasant" who gave him a blanket and cooked for him by a fire. And later, we see the burly peasant, who's really a super-ninja in disguise, killing a ninja master.
World Leaders – It's not been confirmed whether we'll be seeing fictionalised world leaders or real people, but I'm hoping that one of them will be Kim Jong-Il played by the puppet from Team America.
There's some kind of summit, in which everybody is agreeing on reducing their nuclear missiles, and it all goes horribly wrong. Of course. The U.S. has launched all of its birds in the air, and everybody is trying to decide whether to retaliate and cause World War III. People say awesome shit like, "Let history record who was responsible for this madness." And "There can be no winners!"
And then Zartan — the master of disguise who replaced the U.S. President in the first movie — basically tells everybody that their countries can serve him or die. He totally wants it all, man. Zartan tells the French muckety muck that from now on "You're reporting to moi." But at least Russia is defiant, telling Zartan "You've only succeeded in uniting us… against you." Separately, we see the Pakistani President, who is standing by his decision to harbor terrorists, suddenly getting assassinated with a titanium blade.
Lecter – This is going to be a new antagonist for the film, and he'll be joining forces with Zartan, the villain from the last film who will once again be portrayed by Arnold Vosloo.
Lecter has been busted out of prison, so he can develop every high-tech weapon the baddies can possibly imagine… and some they can't. Lecter and his friends Smith and Jones are holding a U.S. Senator prisoner and interrogating him. "It's called a water board… but I never get bored," gloats Jones.
Many thanks to io9 for the colourful write-up of these plot points.