Has Director Stephen Sommers Been Fired from G.I. JOE?

     June 11, 2009

snake_eyes_gi_joe_movie_image.jpgThis is one of those days where Internet journalism creeps me out.  It appears that a message board poster with the handle “Endtimes” (full name: Robert Endtimes) has gone out to say that director Stephen Sommers has been booted off “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”.  Of course, this isn’t calm, level-headed reporting by a message board user.  Instead, you get choice quotes like:

“after a test screening wherein the film tested the lowest score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount,”

Meanwhile producer Lorenzo whose turkey IMAGINE THAT explodes this weekend as the new bomb in theatres (also championed by Weston) was told his services were no longer needed on the film either.”

“Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, who turned down other offers from the property to go with the script that was rushed in 8 weeks by Stuart Beattie because of the writer’s strike is frantic that this will destroy the brand and is distancing himself from the pending catastophe.”

“And the hapless hack Sommers? Where did he come from?”

I’m pretty sure legitimate sources don’t refer to folks as “hapless hacks”. That’s my job.

But LatinoReview picked up the story and to their credit, I’ve heard that it is true about there being a rough time in the editing room which is absolutely bizarre.  What creative differences can you have on “G.I. Joe”?  Was Sommers crying, “No!  This scene of a rocket dissolving the Eiffel Tower with green goo does not honor my original artistic intent!”  If anything, the biggest problem may be a disconnect between the marketing and the actual film where the marketing is trying to make the film look like “Transformers” (and really just succeeding at making it look like “Team America 2”) instead of a kids film for 10-12 year-old boys which is apparently the intent.  Sure, man-children who have some weird notion of what the property should be will get their Snake Eyes underoos in a twist, but who cares?

Check out producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s response to this kerfuffle after the jump.

g.i._joe_rise_of_cobra_movie_image_adewale_akinnuoye-agbaje__christopher_eccleston__joseph_gordon-levitt.jpgLorenzo: It’s very unfair to Steve, it’s completely untrue he was never asked to leave or been fired or any of that. That’s ridiculous. The movie tested very well.

I hear it tested as good as the first Transformers.

Lorenzo: Well listen, we tested very well and I don’t compare the movies because they are different movies, but you know I think its really destructive for a director…It hurts a guy’s career when people go around talking about that he was fired or he didn’t do a good job and truth is he did a really good job. People are going to enjoy the movie and the test audiences enjoyed the movie.

He did a very good job the movie tested well and it couldn’t be more false that the studio in anyway did anything negatively to Steve.

GI Joe movie poster.jpgSo what really happened in the editing room?

Lorenzo: Nothing that doesn’t happen on every other movie, which is that you constantly work and work and work and you make it better and better. We had a delay on visual effects so we waited a long time to finish the movie but that’s the only thing. I don’t really know why that would be interpreting it negatively but I guess it was.

In regards to the testing the film has had so far:

Lorenzo: Everybody was happy, the studio was happy, the filmmakers were happy, the audience was happy with the movie. We had three test screenings, three different times and tested it and each time it just got better and better. We started off in a good place and we ended up in even in a better place, which is what you hope on a film from testing it.

Granted, this is damage control but I just find it silly that a producer has to come and control damage because some random guy on a message board threw a shit fit and somehow hit a modicum of truth.

At this point, I think the geek contingent has probably soured on “G.I. Joe” but, in what will be a terrifying revelation to the geek community, movies can succeed without them.  I’m sure Paramount would like the “hardcore” fans on board for this one but if this is truly a film for boys, then stop with the super-serious marketing and crack a joke or two and show me a trailer that doesn’t make me think someone’s going to start singing “America, Fuck Yeah”.

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