Thursday, July 05, 2007

G.I.Joe Moving Forward

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (right) has long eyed turning the toy and comic book franchise G.I. Joe into a feature film for Paramount Pictures. He's even talked about casting his Shooter star Mark Wahlberg as Joe team leader Duke. Paramount's pact with Joe toy maker Hasbro recently expired, however Hasbro's reps at the William Morris Agency renewed a deal between the toy manufacturer and Paramount to bring G.I. Joe to the silver screen.

Di Bonaventura will still produce the movie and won't be the first '80s toy line/cartoon that he has adapted to the big screen as his live-action Transformers movie hits theaters next month, of course. But G.I. Joe, which like Transformers originated in plasticine form, has actually been on di Bonaventura's plate even longer than those robots in disguise have been. So why the long wait in seeing a finished G.I. Joe movie?

"Actually, there were two incarnations of [the G.I. Joe script] and we're proceeding down both roads," di Bonaventura recently explained. "You know, there's a lot of misinformation about this. We had pursued originally a take on the project written by David Elliot and Paul Lovett, which was put aside for a period of time. And then a second avenue was taken that included Action Man, and that was being written by Skip Woods."

For those of you who don't know Action Man is a British toy based on the original 12-inch 1960's version of G.I. Joe. The Woods script reportedly combined Action Man and G.I. Joe into a single adventure. Naturally this insane fucked up idea has received a more-than-negative response from fans (me included) and some death threats to Woods.

"Skip Woods' draft came and somehow leaked, which is always unfortunate," says di Bonaventura. "I find it really unfortunate on the part of the writer, the artist, because Skip had literally, from the day he finished his contract to the day that draft came in, seven weeks [to complete it] because of the timeline that was being required by the overall deal. So, it has been judged in some circles, I think, harshly, and I think unfortunately like all creative processes it was just the very beginning of it. And I know that Skip is working hard on his next draft and is going to nail it."

Di Bonaventura compares the criticism of the leaked script to the nitpicking that some of the early Transformers designs were victim to when they first hit the Internet during that film's preproduction stage. "I have a very clear vision on G.I. Joe which is the same that I have on every property that I do that people care about," he says. "You must find a way to be true to it, and you must find a way to evolve it forward. And I think one of the hardest things as a filmmaker… if you go back to Transformers [for example], the designs of Optimus and everything were being very harshly criticized early on. And what you want to have as a creative process is you want a sense of germination, then a sense of evolution, and then a sense of conclusion. It was being judged in the germination stage. It's such a rudimentary place where it was being judged, and we kept saying, 'You know what, guys? No one has seen it. We haven't even seen it. Until ILM gets involved, we won't even know.' And what is rewarding in that case is that by and large people are really loving what was done to the actual physicality of Transformers. And that's what we have to do with G.I. Joe."

Brian Goldner of Hasbro who is an Executive Producer of Transformers (and will be one on G.I. Joe too) gave an interview available here at the premiere of Transformers. In it he promises that there will be an origin story for G.I. Joe and many of the main characters will appear. He says that there are a few issues of the Marvel comic book that people should pay close attention to.

Sources: IGN, ISEB


Douglas Kastle said...

I don't know, a G.I. Joe movie might be a bit like The hitch hiker guide to the galaxy. As a concept and a movie it really should have been made back in the early 80s as it was more appropriate with the time it came from.

Personally I think they should just focus on the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow story line, a plenty decent movie that could stand on it's own right there.

Captain Keith said...

A smart move would be to introduce the Joes in the next Transformer film.

In the '80s comicbooks they shared the same "world" or rather, shared some of the same comics.

I agree that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were the superstars of the books...Although they were born of the ninja boom from 25yrs ago.

Then again...Sho Kosugi is returning to the genre so perhaps it would be timely.

Anonymous said...

All Hail, the Cobra Commander!