Image Credit: Andrew Evans/PR PhotosAs we reported earlier today, Paramount is set to release Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director’s Fan Cut, with 40 minutes of new footage, in 3-D theaters this Friday for a one-week limited run. It’s an unprecedented move that allows director Jon M. Chu to return some of what he trimmed from his original two-and-a-half hour cut back into the film — he followed Bieber for a month and a half leading up to his sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden last August — as well as add things that Bieber’s vocal Twitter fanbase told him they’d like to see more of after the film’s initial release. (Repeat viewers will notice about 22 minutes of what they saw the first time in theaters is now missing.)
“One of the number one things they wanted was Chaz and Ryan, Justin’s friends, and how they are sort of superstars in this world as well. So they’ll get to see what it’s like to roll with Justin Bieber,” Chu tells EW. Other additions: Pranks, which Bieber is known for; more baby footage of him when he’s young(er) and talking to the camera; fans interacting and offering testimonials around the country on opening night; different performances (which is where the 3-D kicks in); a deeper glance at Bieber’s relationship with his father and his dad’s family (including a “fun look” at how much he misses his brother and sister); and a new take of the Bieber team ritual of gifting tickets to diehard fans who show up outside a concert venues without seats. (The girl Bieber sings “One Less Lonely Girl” to at the Garden, for instance, was one of those luckiest recipients. She tweeted Chu, who ultimately chose her for that coveted serenade, before the film’s release, and he told her she ended up in the movie and invited her to come to a screening in New York and the red carpet premiere in LA, where she got to take pictures with Bieber. “It has been an incredible ride for her, and she’s had a great time with it,” he says.) The new version of that “giving back” section is apparently so good, Chu now wishes he’d used it in the original release.
“Ultimately, it’s like even the studio doesn’t agree with necessarily the stuff we put in, it’s just what the fans really, really want. If they want more shirtless Bieber…,” Chu jokes, referencing EW’s suggestions for scenes we’d like to see added to a director’s cut. He admits he found himself wanting to pull back on the number of shirtless scenes in the first version. “He literally will run around with his shirt off all the time, and so it just started to feel weird. ‘Let’s not put that in. I’m a 30-year-old man.’ But then they’re like, ‘Well, you’re making it for 13-year-old girls,'” he says. “Ultimately, I didn’t even realize how much we put in the movie until we were at the movie, and people were screaming every time his shirt is off. And then it made me look weird. But I didn’t purposely do that, I promise… Although this time [with the new cut], maybe I did.”
As for our other suggestions: We probably won’t get a confessional in which we learn a self-aware Bieber actually hates sitting in a giant heart and being dangled out over the crowd to sing “Never Let You Go” or other things he must do to entertain his target demo. “The funny thing is,” Chu says laughing, “he does like that stuff. He’s still in that demo. It surprises me. Sometimes I think he’s one way, and then all the sudden, he reminds me he’s just a kid. He does just want to go on YouTube and look at funny videos all day long, and I forget that when I’m around professional Justin.” Still, here’s one fun fact: “Originally in the heart, there were two seats,” Chu says. “It was him and Dan Kanter, his guitarist. And they put it up, and they decided that looked a little weird, so they took Dan Kanter down.”
Also dashed: Our hopes of seeing how the weight of his fans’ adoration affects him. “Honestly, he doesn’t get down because of them,” Chu says. “We were at an interview the other day, and they showed this footage of this girl crying her eyes out for him. Everyone in the interview is laughing. I’m laughing. And I look over at Justin, and he’s not laughing. He’s like, ‘Ohmygosh, she’s such a sweetheart. How nice.’ That’s the way he looks at them. The burden isn’t them; to him, the burden is us, me with a camera in his face, the paparazzi outside. That’s what he doesn’t like. In terms of fans, he absolutely embraces it. I don’t have a lot of footage of him being so inundated that he’s complaining about fans at all in any way. I have him giving me dirty looks. He’s like, ‘Why are you in here right now?’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going to leave.’ Or, I just stay and pretend the camera is off.” Perhaps that could be a bonus feature on the DVD? “Exactly,” Chu says. “‘When He Thinks the Camera’s Off!'”