Jon M. Chu Chats ‘NSN’ Extra Footage & ‘Glee’ in 3-D?
Check out the full interview below!
You’re adding 40 minutes of new footage to Never Say Never, and you said it’s more “fan-centric.” In what way?
It’s crazy because from the very beginning of this process, the fans have always been very interactive with me. I’ve asked them what they wanted, they’ve taught me what to know about Justin, what to put in the movie and all this stuff and as much as I took their advice, there were some things that we had already built that couldn’t fit into the movie. So, we kept those to the side, and when we started talking to the studio [since they’re all digital screens], we realized we could swap out some scenes and put in all the stuff we didn’t put in before. It opened our eyes to “Wow, this could be really interesting,” and once the fans saw the movie and started interacting again, and saying what else they wanted in the movie I said, ‘We have to do this.’ This is the one time we can actually do this. We included things like “Omaha Mall,” [Justin’s song from when he visited] because it wouldn’t really fit in the movie, but it works in the fan cut because it was huge on the internet. There’s also things like fans coming to the premiere of the movie, they’re watching it that first weekend and we took cameras and filmed fans all round the country and we’re going to put it in the movie. So two weeks ago you went to the movie theater, you’re going to be in a movie this Friday! That is absolutely nuts and unprecedented. It sort rings in the new digital era of film making where we can make changes this close to the release and have it a little more relevant if we need it to be.
What was one of your favorite scenes that didn’t make the cut the first time, but will be in this new version?
He sings a song called “Favorite Girl,” which was combined with another song, and we had to choose between one of the other in the first version and we were always bummed that we couldn’t put this one in, but now we can which is cool. Also, the fans singing “That Should Be Me.” I had a contest when I first signed on, of fans sending in videos of them singing “That Should Be Me,” and we had hundreds, of thousands of submissions and we never used it in the movie because we felt like it took away from a certain moment, but now we get to put them in. Also, all these baby videos that we had, we had so many other cute ones that didn’t necessarily push the movie forward but were cute as hell, so we put in a ton more of that stuff. Across the board, it’s just a sicker version of this movie.
Is there anything Justin begged you to not put in the final cut?
[Laughs] You know I was really lucky, because I was expecting something like that, but no, he didn’t say not to put anything in. I was actually scared he was going to hate the whole movie actually, so the fact that he said he loved it was a big release.
What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learned from Justin?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from him is how you really can interact with your audience, and it doesn’t have to be a fake thing. He’s literally one of the first celebrities of our time to really tap into Twitter and doesn’t speak at his audience but speaks to his audience, and with them. I didn’t get that before, I understood it, but I didn’t get it until I saw him look them in the eye when they’d show up camped outside his hotel, when he’d look them in the eye when they’d be at the radio station, when he’d take letters from them and read them backstage or on his bus. I think he’s honest about how much he cares about his fans, and I think that he understands that they really did get him here. The tool of Twitter changes everything for what a celebrity is today, and he made it clear to me that the narrative of what a celebrity is doesn’t begin or end in a movie theater, doesn’t begin or end on a TV show, it’s actually constant. It began a long time ago when they discovered him and will continue past the movie, past the albums and I think that’s a really interesting thing. A lot of this can also be taken to the fact he’s not afraid to embrace technology and we took that cue from him for this movie, changing things only two weeks after it was released. Not just releasing the extra footage on DVD, but in the theater the way it was intended to be shown.
You’ve worked with arguably the world’s biggest superstar — what’s next for you?
Just drinking a lot of water, trying to get over this Bieber Fever that I have, but I just finished the movie on Sunday, literally two days ago. So it’s crazy that five days from then, it’s going to be in theaters so, I’m excited just to get some rest, get my life back, and see what happens.
You have a lot of background with dance, and you’ve worked with Harry Shum, Jr. from Glee, so would you ever be interested in directing an episode or collaborating with them somehow?
I would love to. I love all the Glee cast. They’re here on the [Paramount] lot, so I see them around, we go out to lunch, and go over and visit them. So I would love that opportunity, I think it’d be really fun. And Harry is a frickin’ rockstar. He does all the choreography for LXD [Legion of Extrodinary Dancers] which we have online, and he’s such a great artist, and he’s just awesome.
So if you were to direct an episode of Glee, would you want Justin on it, or would you want to do your own thing?
I think we should do the Bieber/Michael Jackson episode, with all Bieber and Michael Jackson songs, and he’d just kill it. We’d bring all the LXD dancers, it would be out of control and: maybe Glee 3-D? I’m just saying. How crazy would that be?
Oh my goodness. Let’s make that happen.
[Laughs] Do you have Ryan Murphy’s number? Let’s call him up.
We asked our Twitter followers what they wanted to know from you, and the resounding question was: What’s it like to work with Justin Bieber?
Justin is an amazing gentleman — most of the time. He’s only 16, so he’s extremely rebellious, so he will prank me all the time. He’s called my ex-girlfriend on my behalf, he’s taken over my Twitter obviously, he’s done many things and he just loves to play all the time. So, when I’m working, and my work is to follow him around, it’s very difficult sometimes, but that’s the fun of it all. I’ll be filming him, and he’ll just start running so I have to run with him, and I don’t do physical activity, so it isn’t very fun for me.
What do you think of Justin’s new haircut? Yay, nay?
You know, I haven’t seen it in person, to be honest. I only saw it in that picture, but I think it’s going to be awesome. I mean I love the hair flip, RIP Hair Flip, I don’t know if you saw that trending [on Twitter] yesterday.
Of course we saw it trending!
[Laughs] You know, everything comes to an end at some point but hair does grow back.
Are you doing anything with him for his birthday that’s coming up? Do you know what his plans are?
I have no idea yet, we’ll have to see. We talk almost every day, so we’ll see what the plans are. We may have to surprise him.
What are you thoughts on what Jon dished out? Even more excited for the re-release of Never Say Never? Already crossing your fingers for him to direct an episode of Glee? Hit the comments and let us know!