When Paramount announced that they were pushing back the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation from June 29th to March 29th, 2013, ostensibly to convert the movie into 3-D, we got the feeling that there was something the studio wasn’t telling us. And now Nikki Finke at Deadline might have cracked it: According to her source, producers panicked when they realized what a mistake they’d made in killing off Channing Tatum in basically the first five minutes, and so they’re reshooting it to cram as much Tatum as possible in an already-complete movie.
See, Channing wasn’t a huge star when G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra came out in 2009 — back then, he was known only as “the jock guy from Step Up” — but then suddenly his career shot off with Dear John, The Vow, and 21 Jump Street. Suddenly he was beloved for playing sweet, committed, and funny… and shirtless, of course, as the buzz over Magic Mike demonstrates. ”The 3D is an excuse as to not reveal the Tatum of it all,” Deadline’s source said.
It turns out that the only part of G.I. Joe: Retaliation that test audiences really liked was the friendship between Channing and The Rock, the actual star of the movie. The trailer below makes it painfully clear that Channing doesn’t survive the first big President-ordered assassination raid; plotwise, it compels The Rock to pull Bruce Willis out of retirement and destroy Cobra or whatever. As 21 Jump Street proved, Channing is at his best when he’s playing off other people, so I think this choice could actually improve the movie anyway.
So, Paramount is doing some sort of reshoots that will allegedly involve Channing a lot more. If his death is integral to the plot, how the hell do they expect to bring him back? Maybe in flashbacks or as some sort of hallucination to keep The Rock going even when it looks like everything’s falling apart in Act 2. I completely support FilmDrunk’s idea that the producers go total camp and bring in Channing as a glowy blue Star Wars spirit.
The other conflict with the June 29th release date was that you would’ve had stripper Channing competing with G.I. Joe Channing—and considering a) those dance moves and b) the disparity between on-screen minutes, obviously people would be flocking to Magic Mike. So instead we get our Channing spread out over nine months, and more than we expected. It’s a win-win! Except for Paramount after they shelled out all that dough for Super Bowl ads. Sorry, guys, but you should’ve watched Step Up way back when.
Photo: My San Antonio