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Now that G.I. Joe: Retaliation is no longer opening next month, thanks to a late-in-the-game decision to post-convert it to 3D, we’ve got another ten months to keep talking about it. After the jump, read director Jon Chu‘s earlier comments on the decision to shoot in 2D. Also:

  • Get a look at Shaquille O’Neal on the Grown Ups 2 set
  • Passion of the Christ sorta-prequel Mary Mother of Christ gets a director
  • Star Trek 2 is heading to Iceland for second unit shooting
  • Jonathan Frakes talks about his visit to the Star Trek set
  • Uncharted actor Nolan North will be in Trek 2, but chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen won’t

I may not be among those clamoring for a Grown Ups sequel, but even I have to admit that these set photos of Shaquille O’Neal in his police officer costume are kinda cute. On Location Vacations also has a batch of fan-submitted photos, though theirs don’t involve the former NBA star.

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Nice Star Wars-themed van you’ve got there. And who knew The Hunger Games‘ cruel, vicious Cato (Alexander Ludwig) could look like such a nice young man? Head to Coming Soon and OLV for more pictures.

Sanctum helmer Alister Grierson has just signed on to direct Mary Mother of Christ, billed as a “Biblical prequel” to Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ. While Gibson won’t be involved in the new film, a few others who worked on his earlier project will. The script comes from Passion co-writer Benedict Fitzgerald and Passion religious consultant Barbara Nicolosi, and Passion marketers Motive Entertainment are on board to promote the new film.

15-year-old Odeya Rush (The Odd Life of Timothy Green) will play the young mother, who struggles to save her son from the cruel King Herod. Julia Ormond and Peter O’Toole are also set to star. [Deadline]

While director Jon Chu hasn’t made a big public fuss about Paramount’s decision to convert G.I. Joe: Retaliation from 2D to 3D, THR has an interesting snippet from an old-ish (from SXSW 2012) interview with the filmmaker in which he discusses the decision to shoot in 2D:

There was a point where we were talking about it when I first came. It seemed like a natural thing, but I told them: “I know 3D. This is what we need. If we’re going to do 3D, we’re going to do it right.” It had a certain price tag to it, and I was like, “If you guys are down, I’m down, but I do need more time to do it right.” And they were about to do it, but they cut it just a little bit short, and [I said,] “If you guys are going to cut it short, there is no point. Let’s make a movie — let’s go for it and we’ll go all out.” And we shot on film, super-35, and I thought this may be one of the last times I get to shoot on film, and it was actually kind of freeing. I mean, I love 3D and I think there is a lot you can do with it, but there is something to be said about just not waiting for anything. You’re just going. We shot so much film. I mean I think we shot 1.2 million feet of film.

Chu’s previously worked on Step Up 3D and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, so he knows his way around that third dimension. In that light, it’s disappointing that the studio waited until now to go for 3D, rather than letting Chu work toward it all along.

The Star Trek 2 cast may have tweeted their goodbyes weeks ago, but second unit team is just getting started. VFX supervisor Roger Guyett and his crew are headed to Iceland to capture footage for visual effects shots. Given the far-off location, TrekMovie speculates that Iceland could be serving as a stand-in for some exotic alien planet. Or maybe the USS Enterprise is just giving Jon Snow an assist with that pesky wildling problem.

Leonard Nimoy isn’t the only former Star Trek actor who’s paid a visit to the set of J.J. Abrams‘ upcoming sequel. At FedCon, The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes revealed that he’d dropped by at one point to watch a scene between stars Chris Pine and the “awesome” Benedict Cumberbatch. Frakes didn’t delve into much more detail on that front, but head to TrekMovie to read much more about his and William Shatner’s appearance at FedCon.

While rumors continue to circulate about whether Nimoy or any other former cast members will be making appearances in the new film, it’s been confirmed that Abrams has at least one adorably geeky cameo lined up — just not from a Star Trek actor. TrekMovie writes that Nolan North, who voices Drake in the Uncharted video games, will be making a cameo in the sci-fi thriller.

“The reason I did that movie – it’s a very small role – but it’s because he and his son are huge fans of Uncharted. I met him doing some work on Super 8 and he said ‘We’re doing Star Trek, you wanna do it?’ And I said I’d love to,” North told Eurogamer.

Abrams also tried to get Norwegian chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen — who, at 21, is the number one ranked chess player in the world — to make an appearance as “a chess player from the future.” Unfortunately, that bit of casting was not meant to be as a work permit could not be arranged in time. “It would have been a fun experience, so it’s a shame that it will not happen,” Carlsen said.

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