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F. Gary Gray, 'Justin Bieber' Director Jon Chu Frontrunners to Helm 'G.I. Joe' Sequel

Paramount and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura are hoping to have the franchise follow-up in production by June for a 2012 release.

F. Gary Gray and Jon M. Chu
Getty Images

Directors F. Gary Gray and Jon M. Chu are looking like the hot candidates to direct Paramount’s G.I. Joe sequel.

The franchise follow-up is a high-priority project for the studio, which hopes to have production underway by June for a 2012 release. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has met with a number of directors in recent days, including Gray and Chu, while Paramount execs will commence their talks this week.

Chu, of course, is no stranger on the studio lot, having directed Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which opened to $29.5 million last weekend. Before that, he directed two installments in Disney's Step Up dance franchise. Chu is repped by WME and Principato Young Management.

The UTA-repped Gray, who directed The Italian Job for Paramount to $168 million worldwide in 2003, was last in theaters with the 2009 action thriller Law Abiding Citizen.

Released in August 2009, G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra grossed $150.2 million domestically and $152.3 million internationally for a total of $302.5 million worldwide. Cobra was directed by Stephen Sommers, who previously announced he wouldn’t be returning to the franchise.

Since the studio sold distribution rights to its summer 2012 tentpole The Avengers to Disney last year, Paramount could use another high-profile summer 2012 release. Already slated are Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles' comedy The Dictator (May 11, 2012), the DreamWorks animation sequel Madagascar 3 (May 18) and Star Trek 2 (June 29).