EDITORIALS

Rumor: Stephen Sommers Fired Mid-Way Through G.I. Joe?

by
June 11, 2009
Source: DonMurphy.net

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

This sounds like the kind of story we'd usually hear coming from Fox, but this time it's Paramount. A user on the Don Murphy Message Boards (via Latino Review) has posted an unverified story detailing a behind-the-scenes fiasco regarding the upcoming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie. You can read their full write-up below, but in essence they're claiming that director Stephen Sommers was fired and locked out of the editing room mid-way through post-production by a Paramount exec named Brad Weston. And that's just the start, as he goes on to explain everything that has transpired since Sommers was supposedly fired.

Update: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is named as a part of this, talked with Latino Review and explained that most of this is false. I have posted a separate update to this story which can be found right here.

There's so much to this, that it's best to just read through it as it was written originally. So I've included the full post from the message boards below. Take a look below and see if it sounds too good to be true or not.

After a test screening wherein the film tested the lowest score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount, the executive who pushed for the movie Brad Weston had Stephen Sommers, the super hack director of the film fired. Removed. Locked out of the editing room.

Stuart Baird, a renowned "fixer" editor was brought it to try to see if it could be made releasable. Meanwhile producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura 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.

Sommers was then forced by his William Morris agents to pretend that he was working on Tarzan over at Warner Brothers doing design work, even though that film doesn't even have a good script yet. When word of the firing started to be whispered about in Hollywood, Sommers was summoned back to the editing room - but only to save appearances, Baird is still editing the movie with studio input.

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 catastrophe.

NONE of this needed to happen, except someone who did not know the mythology, Lorenzo was in charge of the film and never contradicted Sommers on anything. Lorenzo, so you know, was Chairman of Warners and had GI JOE under option there (not as a producer) for SEVEN years and he refused to greenlight the film, stating that because he grew up in Italy he had no knowledge of it. If you Google enough, at one point you will see he wanted the film to be about an action hero named MANN (Action Man, get it) and he clearly had no clue what the GI Joe world really was.

And the hapless hack Sommers? Where did he come from? The confused Jon Fogelman at William Morris, who signed Hasbro away from CAA, had to find a director in a hurry for his new clients and gave him the only guy who he repped who would do it. A sad end to what COULD have been a great franchise. Acceleration suits indeed.

Almost all of this checks out, except that according to IMDb, Sommers is now repped by Rob Carlson at William Morris, not Jon Fogelman. But that bit about Action Man is legit and so are all the other names.

If you thought that trailer looked terrible, now you know why. Or now we at least know what's going on. Who knows if Baird will be able to salvage this. Who knows if this story is even true at all. Unfortunately, I think those stupid accelerator suits can't be edited out by a "fixer." It's sad that this happens in Hollywood, but that's just how cutthroat crazy it is here. This isn't the first time we've heard a story like this - I remember the fiasco surrounding Live Free or Die Hard a few years ago. But it's unfortunate to see a studio like Paramount, who has had a great reputation the last few years, get hit with these kinds of problems.

I'm actually not surprised to hear that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra scored so poorly at a test screening. Everything I've seen has looked awful - I haven't enjoyed a single second of any of the footage I've watched (remember this?). I fear that this is going to be a huge embarrassment for Paramount in the end, which is quite a shame, because they don't deserve this. But as George Roush says, "that's what happens when you put people on a project they know nothing about." He says he's heard that most of this is true, which is, again, not surprising. Let's just say I don't expect August 7th to be a very memorable day for Paramount.

Update: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is named as a part of this, talked with Latino Review and explained that most of this is false. I have posted a separate update to this story which can be found right here.

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  • Bahumbug
    Makes sense, not that Sommers version would be better but the film looks like absolute trash. Heck, there are very few August releases I'm looking forward to (Basterds, Woodstock, and Ponyo are three that come to mind) so I can't wait for that month to go by because the fall looks absolutely amazing.
  • http://myspace.com/erikthecoolkid erik
    id fire myself if i directed gi joe and it turned out how it seems to be. this is gonna suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
  • Craig
    That explanation makes perfect sense. No wonder it looks like such a stinky turd. This movie is going to bomb hard. Now they are trying to edit this thing to the "tolerable" stage (which I doubt is possible, you can cover up a piece of fecal matter, all you want the stench will still be as potent). What a waste of $170 million. As Kevin mentioned this sucks for Paramount who has been delivering good movies lately and their upcoming film "Shutter Island" looks great.
  • L
    Marlon Wayans is always the red flag for a movie. I figure Hell is kind of like a nonstop Marlon Wayan's reel.
  • nelson
    if only they fired him before shooting LOL
  • Matt Suhu
    lol @4!!!
  • Bahumbug
    I'm quick to remind everyone that he was excellent in Requiem For A Dream.... but then I remember White Chicks.
  • Wottock Hunt
    While I don't doubt most of this news, I'm prettttty sure that if we go back far enough, we'll find a post by Alex claiming he's "excited" about this movie.
  • GM
    omg... I'd rather watch Spawn 3x then this crap !!!
  • Joel
    "After a test screening wherein the film tested the lowest score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount" And that's from the company that brought us "The Love Guru." DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!!!
  • LINKFX
    I'm glad they came to their senses and fired him. It'll probably be a better movie because of it. I get upset when I hear about Gavin Hood or Bryan Singer or Ridley Scott getting screwed over by producers, but honestly Stephen Sommers is a mega hack so I'm sure Paramount was worried about the right things when they gave him the boot. He is literally talentless.
  • dom
    This all seems to check out given what we've seen.. Stephen is unfortunately a one hit wonder (mummy1) and every film since has been just plain awful! Such a shame.. but then I would have never given him the mummy after watching Deep Rising. P.S. That letter kinda feels like its trying to shame Lorenzo and yet he's been very successful in a very short time - just look at how many films he's been involved with since just 2005! I feel this is a case of someone trying to get back at him for some unkown reason.
  • Dave
    This is just another example of Hollywood taking the cherished memories of my childhood and exploiting them for financial gain with a crap product. God forbid they just followed the cartoon and comic and dressed the characters as they should be dressed and made them the real "american" heroes that they are supposed to be. This is going to suck, just like Transformers, the Star Wars prequels and Indy 4. They just take things we love, use the name to lure us in, take our money and give us subpar crap in return. It sickens me.
  • Blue & Orange NY
    ANOTHER CASE - CASE GO JOE - PREDICTED OUTCOME TOTAL FAILURE & BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES DESTORYED siitutation here sounds all too familiar, studio heads need to be fired, who's running this joint. You know as I read the article I thought to myself the past 6 months. In my opinion how since the Super Bowl there's been really little to none advertisement, trailers, or any hint that GI JOE was out this summer. If this story is true I have to bet it happen sometime in December give or take time period. To me a felt like something was up and not right, Paramount most likely has been on the down low trying to fix it. What made me think worst was these super Mega Man type suits lol, what type of shit is that! Come on, the ol famous bullshit line that keeps running in my mind since the piece of crap tralier, scene where they get introduce the acceleration suits, lol Marlon, "what does it accelerate" Marlon I love you and all but damn money all I keep thinking is Scary Movies. But that's water under the bridge, cast is been set ok, but damn make it great where the cast even brought into question. Anyway I don't want to bore everyone but from the lack of marketing on Paramount's part with no footage or trailer's put out, plus the damn Mega Man suits. I have a sense of feeling there was something wrong. Here's my prediction, $35 - 42mm opening weekend and that's generous. Only reason why I might even try to peek in to see this film is because of Sienna and her cleavage, that's the only thing they made look good in the movie. lol
  • I have anxiety
    This reminds me of when they make crappy video games based one movies. They know it sucks but they try to make money and succeeds. I knew something was wrong from the beginning. I cant lie, everyone I talk to says it looks pretty cool and their going to watch it. I think it's actually gonna do pretty good because of the way they're advertising it. By the time the people pay their money it'll be too late. I dont believe in paying for crap like this. because if you dont give them your money then maybe they'll get it right next time.
  • Luke
    @12 I completley agree with your points.......except for the transformers movie i have to admit I am a huge fan of Michaels Bays adaptation...minus the LeBeouf
  • Frame
    They should've gotten Hideo Kojima to direct from the jump. That would've been something...
  • Snickers
    Hasbro must be really worried about this. No doubt all the tie-in products are already off the production line. Those action figures are going to be sitting next to discounted Hulk Hands very quickly after this movie bombs at the box office.
  • http://shadoutech.blogspot.com/ Lorgen Shadouness
    Or didn't you mean "if it's really that bad, then August 7 WILL BE a very memorable day for Paramount."
  • ben
    No matter how many sprinkles you put on shit, it's still shit. This movie looks awful from the trailers posted. I had some high hopes for this film but from the story posted above and the word of mouth. This looks like crap. Oh well at least i have mike myers........
  • DoomCanoe
    #12 you sound just like the Dave i know. are you? ps i agree completely G.I. Joe...Sigh I wanted it to be bad ass but honestly after seeing Dennis Quaid and Marlon Wayans i was pretty much expecting suck. I imagine this one to be comparable to Dragon Ball Evolution & Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. (that's comparing it to recent films honestly i would throw Mortal Kombat 2 in there but as far as I'm concerned that movie should never be spoken of nor was it never created... if you see a copy remember to fallow the law and mail it to the military so they can lock it up with the Ark of the Covenant)
  • Black Dynomite
    Dang. This is a huge let down.
  • Moviegimp
    Not to defend Summers but shouldn't the writer of this turd get a lot of the blame too. He came up with the power suits not Summers. I mean yes the movie as a whole looks bad but most of the complaints are about the power suits so I'm just saying that maybe the writer and the guy who greenlighted that script in the first place should get some blame as well. This thing should have been stopped way earlier in the process than waiting until it was done. No matter how they edit the movie the power suits are still there.
  • James
    I just don’t get it. How do professional movie makers sit around a table and say: "Let’s make a GI Joe. But instead of making it about great characters and never say die American soldiers, we will put some douche bags in ugly suit that makes helps them jump around like there Neo from the Matrix. AND if were lucky maybe one of those douche bags can be that shitty actor from the scream spoof movies" "You mean Marlon Wayans?" "YES!" "That sounds like a great idea. Now somebody find the biggest asshat director they can and lets get this thing going" "GO JOE!!" There should be criminal charges for murdering what could have been a great franchise.
  • Dan W
    They should just take their loss and not release the film if they are so worried. I don't think any movie goers would care if it didn't get released. This movie WILL ruin the GI Joe franchise
  • Steve
    You bunch of whining, bitching fanboys. All you morons do is come to these websites to moan and complain about movies, saying that "I'd never see this turd!" or "This is going to bomb!" I challenge one of you dorks to find a clitoris on a chart...and no, not on your mom's.
  • http://www.widescreenwonderland.com Widescreen Wonderland
    I don't see what all the fuss is about...reboots are hot right now. I give it two weeks after opening weekend before they announce that they are relaunching the G.I. Joe franchise.
  • nelson
    this is what i don't get why did they rush thee script in 8 weeks due to writers strike looming around in Hollywood.Why didst they just put a hold on the project till the strike was over so they could of had all the time in the world to work on the script.Dont just blame Sommers it is the studio and the producers fault anyway
  • Superchyle
    At least we all got GI Joe Resolute awhile back and that was awesome. Also there is nothing wrong with TF . Most people that trash are geewuners who cvan't except change . These 2 movies seem nothing alike .
  • dan
    is it me but aint this year of big blockbusters movies have been a major let down anyway i dont think its safe for Paramount next year anyway cause of the race issue of The Last Airbender movie.
  • Jack
    What "fiasco surrounding Live Free or Die Hard?" I don't know what this is referencing? The whole PG-13 edit? Someone clarify this.
  • THERBLIG
    This film shouldnt of even been made, i mean come on. There better off running a THUNDERCATS movie or trying to make a silverhawks film. These trailers look worse than horrible, they looked like SHIT complete SHIT!!!
  • http://www.bleepinggeek.com Pete the Geek
    This is exactly the reason why so many summer blockbusters (particularly ones based on existing franchises) flop so hard. Hollywood is a cannabalistic in-crowd that attaches people to projects not based on their skill, knowledge of the source material, or artistic merit, but based on their availability, who they're repped by, or what their current clout-status is in the industry. On the flip side, you have the infamous "longtime fan" scenario where you get a famous director or actor who takes on a project because they "grew up reading the comics" or are a "die-hard fan", and they usually mess it up because being a mega-fan also means you have strong opinions about the franchise that others may disagree with. The key to a great blockbuster is to have a cast and crew of people who understand and are prepped on the source material, but don't feel the need to box it into a narrow perspective. I hate to do it (because this is the new meme about movies lately) but look at the new Batman franchise. Hiring Nolan and Bale was a stroke of genius. Had it been tackled by another studio, we could have ended up with Nick Cage and Michael Bay. O.o
  • felipe
    I hope this to be true. it's the best punishment for not thinking straight, it looked bad from the very beginning, now deal with it.
  • LSP
    Makes sense but the Italian is more on spot. GI Joe is a stolen idea. If you ever actually watch the show, there's nothing American about it. Action Man was where it started with the show. While GI Joe was the original, it was originally only the toy we know as such a collector's item. GI Joe most know and love, is not American. Just FYI. Also, I disagree Pete. It depends on how you run a film. Batman was never meant to be about Batman, just based on the general idea. Watchmen on the other hand was very narrow minded and done perfectly. Jeffery Dean Morgan did right by literally throwing away the script and read the comic. It depends, but people should know what they working on much more thoroughly. Fox is a prime example of what not to do. lol
  • Dusty
    #32... THERBLIG - you do realize that a Thundercats movie is in development right???????? hahahahaa http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/06/06/another-80s-animated-tv-series-being-adapted-thundercats/ TO be released in 2010, hahahaha.
  • justinslot
    @35: "GI Joe is a stolen idea. If you ever actually watch the show, there's nothing American about it." LSP, Action Man is a related but distinctly different franchise from the 80s GI Joe vs Cobra franchise. It's more closely related to the 60s GI Joe, which the 80s line took very little from besides the name. And I grew up on the show and it's distinctly American entertainment.
  • LSP
    So did I and if you watch, they even have the same episodes!!! Oh no! What now?
  • blister
    The worst part is most of us will go see it even if its a giant turd and then feel like the time we spent there at the movies was robbed away from us so there still going to make desent money
  • lando
    even if this sucks as bad as its begining to smell, ou can rest assured they will reboot this movie franchise in the next 2 years !!!!!! theres too much money in that franchise for them to let a movie bring it down. perhaps they will learn their lessons and hire a known director next time and have the balls to commit to a hardcore story! yo blow!
  • LW
    I think the best thing here is to release it, make the minimal amount of cash it's obviously going to make, then re-boot in 4 years. But if it's _really_ bad. 6 years.
  • SommersSucks
    This should not be a surprise to ANYONE. The minute they announced Stephen "vampire babies" Sommers was the director, it was clear G.I.Joe was destined to be a disasterpiece. Keep up the quality Paramount!
  • Johnny Knoxville
    Sommers = Van Helsing = CRAP! Paramount needs to be shot for hiring him for this and ruining it.
  • http://www.goldenrule.com/ Insurance medical
    I was kinda surprised by this film. Although I do give very high remarks for the action sequences, the acting and overall story line really made me sick to my stomach. I hope that the second film does a little better with the overall story.
  • http://www.standardchange.com Bill Changers
    I agree, I was very disappointed with this film overall. I do think there were some nice action sequences, but many parts of it seemed to drag on and I lost interest. I definitely hope that the next film will be better. . .
  • http://www.taxmatterssolutions.com IRS Problems
    Will there ever be another GI Jane? I actually enjoyed GI Jane more than the most recent GI Joe movie. Did the movie company run out of money and forget to pay their taxes? The special effects were good but the plot and acting was terrible in my opinion.
  • http://www.organic-composter.com Composter
    I use to watch GI Joe as a kid. I hope this movie is as good.
  • http://www.letterbysanta.com Santa Claus
    Its almost a "Santa Claus" type story. Everyone realizes the truth behind the production and they become disillusioned withe the whole chain of movies in general. GI Joe was sooooo much better when I just played with him as a kid...but now every time I hear anyone reference GI Joe I imagine this awful excuse for a movie...Pretty Disappointing.

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