Last week, both IESB and Collider broke the news that the writers of “Zombieland,” Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, have signed on to script the sequel to “G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.”
Rheese and Wernick have become the hot go-to writers on big franchise films, and I can see why. They also booked the job writing “Deadpool” for 20th Century Fox. When they originally conceived “Zombieland,” it was as a series, and they ended up using about three episodes worth of their original outline as the feature film. In a way, the film still feels like a pilot episode for an ongoing series, like it just sets up the rules and the characters but doesn’t really tell much of a story. It’s enjoyable, it’s breezy, it moves… but at the end, what’s really been accomplished?
That seems to be the ideal skill set for being a franchise writer on the studio level. You’re basically just doing giant-budget TV episodes. You don’t want to wrap everything up, you don’t want to resolve every conflict, and you want to inch characters forward in a way that keeps the actors happy but that also leaves plenty to do in the next film.
Following the reveal that they’d been signed to do the sequel, Greg Ellwood and I were both doing press day interviews with stars of the first “G.I. Joe,” and we each asked them for comments on the news that the sequel was moving forward. We’ll have more of our Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid interviews in the next week or so, but for now, we thought we’d cut together their comments on “G.I. Joe” and offer those up as a separate piece.
One thing to pay special attention to: Channing Tatum talks about how the writer’s strike hobbled them on the first film, and how much he looks forward to having an actual script this time around. I thought the first film was fun, but I would never argue that it was masterfully written, and to hear Tatum acknowledge it is actually sort of refreshing.
You can watch it embedded below, or see a larger version here.
Now I hope I get a chance to talk to Joseph Gordon-Levitt at Sundance so I can hear him do the Cobra Commander voice and talk to him about his plans for world domination.
I’m sure we’ll hear more about this sometime later in the year. For now, Reese and Wernick have a lot of work ahead of them. Here’s hoping it goes well.
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