Lorenzo di Bonaventura Responds to G.I. Joe Rumors and Accusations

June 11, 2009
Source: Latino Review, Movieline

G.I. Joe Movie

Earlier this morning we ran an article about a rumor that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra director Stephen Sommers had been fired mid-way through post-production. The story originally came from a user on the Don Murphy Message Boards. I don't want to claim that he doesn't know what he is talking about, but without additional confirmation, there's no way we can be certain any of it was true. I was awoken this morning by calls from Paramount, as they're claiming that it's all false. In order to squash the rumor, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (who is involved) answered some questions for Latino Review.

"Its very unfair to Steve, its completely untrue he was never asked to leave or been fired or any of that. That’s ridiculous. The movie tested very well." Lorenzo goes on to say that it's very hurtful to a career when a rumor like this gets out because "[Sommers] 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." It's interesting that everyone is now switching sides. At first, George said "I've heard through various sources that this story is true." Jeffrey Wells said the same: "I've been told that this story about Stephen Sommers… isn't far from the truth."

I asked Paramount if they could provide a reference that I could get in touch with who would confirm that the test screening scores weren't that bad. Obviously that wasn't going to happen, but it was worth a shot. Movieline published a different report as well that doesn't seem to fall in line with either side of the story. "According to our sources, though, Sommers is not off the picture. Test screenings on G.I. Joe happened months ago and though the studio was dissatisfied, one source doubts that the film could have reached the NRG depths of past Paramount product like Marci X and Timeline." So it is bad, but not that bad?

Here's the answer from di Bonaventura when asked "So what really happened in the editing room?"

"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."

"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."

He speaks a lot about how well it tested, but doesn't ever say anything about Stuart Baird being brought on-board to try and salvage the project (or Sommers being kicked out of the editing room). And he doesn't address the original claim that "his services were no longer needed on the film either." I'm not sure what to make of this whole situation anymore. I think Paramount really wants to salvage what little buzz the movie has (if any). And the only official source claims that it did test well and that it has improved. But we keep hearing others say that they've heard from "sources" that some of this story is true. So what's accurate?

To wrap up this update on the whole G.I. Joe fiasco, check out this interesting final claim from Movieline's Kyle Buchanan. "We’re hearing that there has been tension between Sommers and the studio, and the film is being recut to better response, but Sommers is still present and most of the bad blood has been resolved. The reason for all the negativity? Sommers’ supposedly controlling nature and aspirations of Michael Bay grandeur. Paramount isn’t very high on the film but still expects it to track better than predicted." After this today, I don't know if anyone is still planning on seeing G.I. Joe at all even if this was all a big hoax.

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  • Craig
    I can't wait to see G.I Joe... when the franchise is relaunched in 5 years.
  • Spider94
    im gonna see the movie for the lols
  • w00t!!!
    Why after today? I doubt this did anything to sway people from seeing it. Just confirmed those already not wanting too. I know I still will. You're not a good journalist ya know that? You should have blog.net in your URL. It's too late to care what happened anyhow. It will still probably flop. What matters is did this get out into the real world on E! and other crap shows people watch? Was it on the MSN homepage. If not more than likely plenty will see it. Won't be what they hope, but I never figured it was bad as they said. Makes no sense as even if GI Joe is ruined, it has action, lots of it, and 3 test screening you know there are people that said, it was a good action film with no decent plot, but who cares 'cause things blow up. Never the less, they want to make it better have three Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes fight scenes!
  • Ryan
    Tested well? Are they joking? This looks like Ewe Boll caliber terrible.
  • wm
    what did the studio expect when you bring a movie like G.I. Blow to the big screen, Saving Private Ryan or something?
  • Wylles
    I still wanna see it, Im just too Curious, I dont think the trailers were THAT bad. I just wanna know how it goes...
  • Chris H.
    Everything I wrote in an earlier G.I. Joe update... forget it. I still think this movie will be better than people are expecting, but it won't be by much. The franchise is stuck between what it SHOULD be, a military super adventure with the most diverse set of characters imaginable, and what it HAS to be, a film appropriate for kids so they can get their parents to rush out and buy all the toys. It's a juggling act that can be mastered, but I don't think this will be an example of such mastery. When Live Free And Die Hard came out I thought the PG-13 rating would kill it. Although it didn't seem much of Die Hard movie to me (which is irrelevant) it still was more action packed than any of the previous movies in the franchise. Basically... it worked. I'm still going to see this movie, because as a big joe fan I'm at least curious to see what the movie is like. Perhaps if.... IF there is a sequel they'll get someone else to do the movie and completel revamp the franchise... not to mention bypass the origin story and get right into the thick of the Joe vs. Cobra action.
  • dom
    Well whatever happens - they've put themselves on the line as saying its really good now, so let the film speak for itself when it comes out.. I already know what the reviews are gonna be like and i havent even seen it - but i have seen enough movies to know what looks shit. It will prove if we can trust what these guys say is true or hype to sell a bad product.
  • Dan W
    This movie sucks regardless
  • DoomCanoe
    hahaha this news comes out and everyone hops on a new band wagon. you dolts just got sucked into what businesses call "Damage Control" this movie is going to BLOW as i said earlier and i will say it again Dennis Quaid + Marlon Wayans = suck. will be comparable to Dragon Ball Evolution & Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. you know Stephen Sommers woke up, heard the news and cried to Paramount about how no one would hire him after all of this. Well I say good, the man is a god awful director and needs to stop wasting film on his crap visions. Not only will am I going to pirate this film (which I'm completely against) after it's terrible I will tell everyone i can (through the school paper) that this is one of the biggest, lamest and worst summer flops that you could waist your money on. suck on that Sommers
  • Bahumbug
    Could be either or.... sometimes it's a friendly creative dispute that gets blowed out of proportion by leaks from the crew or other times the producer is just doing some PR clean-up. Sounds like it could be both.
  • blue & orange ny
    very simple! BULLSHIT..... I feel they're just looking to saving opening weekend figures....not only that what are they going to say, yes the story is true, yes the movie tested really bad, etc etc.....they not going to say that, come on, there's no much money riding on this from all fronts.....I think I can speak for all, this article was expected.....like I mentioned in the previous article when the news broke if I do see it, it's for Sienna she's looking tight in the black outfit OHHHHH THE PAIN - this movie will suck 2 WORDS - accelerated suits (please don't insult our intelligence) PLUS WHEN I SEE THESE GUYS THIS IS ALL I REMEMEBER Channing Tatum - STEP UP Marlon Wayans - Scary Movie Dennis Quaid - Yours, Mines, and Ours GI JOE - RIP
  • RICK
  • Frame
    #5, "G.I. Blow". That's clever. Teehee.
  • Editboy
    I don't know what everyone's bitching about! I was never a G.I. Joe fan, but the trailer for the new movie LOOKS GREAT!!! I original didn't plan on seeing this, but the trailer sold me! Could be a lot of fun...kind of the way "Transformers" is at it's best when giant robots are kicking the shit out of each other. Not looking for characters, plot, and I certainly don't care for whatever connection it has to the 80's cartoon. WHICH BTW, was a ripoff of the ORIGINAL G.I JOE 12 inch action figures from the 60's and 70's! THAT'S G.I. JOE! If this is a great action movie on it's own, I'm in!
  • Frame
    #15, "Ripoff"? They're both manufactured by Hasbro.
  • Brandon
    Hollywood is great at blowing smoke up our asses and remaking movies that don't need to be remade. I'd watch this movie for the ninja fight, nothing more. In other words I definitely don't plan on watching it.
  • Tommy2Tone
    What a lot of negative bullshit. If that producer Lorenzo called any one of you little pukes to work on the movie - you'd have your pants off and your ass in the air in 2 seconds. ANY feature making it to release is a fucking miracle and sustains business from the PA's to the suits. A comment on the creative aspects of GI Joe ?? - I mean - come on - this isn't supposed to be Citizen Kane - its just fun, stupid and commercial as hell - and it keeps a lot of people workin' - so shut the fuck up and give me some fries w/dat you paper hat wearing wannabe motha fuckas. HA.
  • @18 Whats the point of making a shit movie, when it could have been done right in the first place? This movie is going to be career ending bad. And if anything, they will have to reboot the franchise the same way they did with The Hulk. Just another case of people in charge who really don't give two shits about the franchise. If these people had any idea what they were doing they would have got someone like Ridley Scott to do the movie. He's doing the fucking A-Team!




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