Late last month, word got out that ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ director Jon M. Chu was returning to the Hasbro toy box for his next project, which is based on the 80s cartoon/toy line ‘Jem & The Holograms’. Featuring the pink-haired pop diva reimagined as an internet sensation, the film was championed by producers Scooter Braun (AKA Justin Bieber’s manager) and Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, a company that is primarily known for their work in small budget horror.
That wasn’t a typo. As weird as it sounds that Blumhouse is producing this movie, it’s happening. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Blum about his latest horror film ‘Oculus’, but while I had him in front of me, I had to inquire about ‘Jem’ and his thought process behind jumping on board to this live action adaptation. During our conversation, the veteran producer offered some insight into why he tends to dabble in smaller budgets and what attracted him to this seemingly unusual choice for the guy mostly known for films such as ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Insidious’:
Photo credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
“Well, we like micro-budget everything, but we especially like horror. Before I did larger budget movies, I was more inclined to do different genres in low budget just because when you make low budget movies, you get to do different types of storytelling and you get to cast actors that aren’t necessarily huge names. The lower the budgets are, the more risks you can take. As a person who enables creators, it’s much more satisfying than high budget films since you don’t have to answer to a studio.
So ‘Jem’ is really Jon Chu’s vision 100%. He drove it. He was passionate about it. He did ‘G.I. Joe’ with Hasbro, so he had a relationship with them, and he pitched them on it, but they were on the fence about it. Then I said we’ll do it for $5 million, instead of $30 million, which is what they were thinking. They were doing ‘Ouija’ for $110 million and we were doing it for $5 million. So as financers, they say go for it and then they leave you alone because it’s so little money.”
It appears that Chu is so passionate and determined to make this happen that he has stepped away from ‘G.I. Joe 3’ in order to direct ‘Jem’ as his next project. What’s even more interesting to see how passionate Blum is about seeing this thing through. Hearing his approach to filmmaking and his thought process behind adding this to his slate is quite the adventurous approach to movies and it’s pretty exciting to see someone like him take chances on artists who want to create something that they believe in.
What do you think about Jason Blum’s comments on Jon Chu and ‘Jem’? Are you excited to see the classic character come into the modern age thanks to Blumhouse Productions? Let us know in the comment section.