Stephen Sommers to Direct Live-Action G.I. Joe
Scoops and rumors had been flying around on the internet beforehand, but now it's confirmed, Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing, The Mummy) will direct the upcoming live-action G.I. Joe feature film for Paramount. Stuart Beattie (30 Days of Night, Collateral, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy) has been hired to write the new script and production will start next February for a summer 2009 release.
Although specifics on the plot and script are not revealed, Hasbro's COO Brian Goldner stated that the mythology of G.I Joe was fleshed out during the 1980s through 155 issues of Marvel Comics, as well as an animated TV series. There are about 30 core characters, good and evil, that can be exploited in films. From the sounds of that the film will be taking quite a bit from the comic books more than the TV show.
Filmmaker Stephen Sommers commented on the film with quite a bit of enthusiasm - a good thing to hear from a director this early on.
"Our vision (for 'The Mummy') was clear the time the first trailer played during the Super Bowl, and by the time this one plays a Super Bowl, you'll see the coolest characters and visuals you can imagine, and beyond-state-of-the-art equipment," Sommers said. "I wouldn't have jumped into this just because of the Hasbro-Transformers tie. Remember, 'Pirates of the Caribbean was a big hit, but 'Haunted Mansion' not so much."
In addition, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura praised the film and Sommers as well. Obviously Paramount and Hasbro are pushing this as the next big from-our-80's film while we wait for Michael Bay to make the next Transformers.
"My experience with beloved properties is that characters, attitude and tone are even more important than plot," di Bonaventura said. "Paramount showed a great deal of confidence in Stephen's take, and our ability as producers to get this up and running for a February start. His passion for the characters and the world convinced the studio this was something they couldn't resist."
I'm sure we'll all hear much more as the film heads into production. As I said, this is Paramount's next big film franchise and they're going to be pushing it as hard as Transformers.