EXCLUSIVE: Is Stephen Sommers Still On G.I. Joe? Yes, Say Sources
Rumors are flying today that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra director Stephen Sommers has been fired off the film and locked out of the editing room following "the lowest test score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount." How much is fact and how much is fiction? We decided to get to the bottom of things.
First, here's the original rumor, posted by an anonymous commenter at the message board of producer Don Murphy (Transformers):
After a test screening [of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra] in which the film got the lowest test score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount, the executive who pushed for the movie -- Brad Weston -- had Stephen Sommers, the superhack 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 G.I. Joe could be made releasable. Meanwhile producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, whose turkey Imagine That (also championed by Weston) explodes this weekend as the new bomb in theatres, 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 merely to save appearances. Baird is still re-editing the movie with studio input.
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.
Yes, 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 delusions of Michael Bay grandeur. Paramount isn't very high on the film but still expects it to track better than predicted.
So there you have it! Sommers is still on board, and G.I. Joe might be bad, which really shouldn't shock anyone.
· Debacle of G.I. Joe [Hollywood Elsewhere]