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]


  • JudgeFudge says:

    It's weird that there is this much drama for this movie. It seems like at the VERY most, the goal of making a G.I. Joe movie would be to make a movie that kids wanted to see. The property doesn't have the cache of cool that Transformers did, it won't hook in audiences over the age of 10.

  • Juancho says:

    It wouldn't surprise me, this thing looks like a total turd. Every time I've been in a theatre and seen the trailer, it's inspired snickers or flat-out silence from the audience. Not a good sign.

  • Juancho says:

    Also, while he may not be in Paul Walker's league, Channing Tatum is already headed for the "It Pretty-Boy doing direct-to-video or starring with cuddly animals films" phase of his career.

  • Brilliant Orange says:

    These guys are in big, big trouble! They need a real American hero, like G.I. Joe!
    Oh, wait.

  • Emperor Joshua Norton says:

    Hey, I played with GI Joes for real, and there weren't any girls! Certainly not redheads.
    F up my childhood, why don't you, you clowns!
    Aside: Would you hate to be the actor who has to wear that idiotic headgear? Half of his acting muscles are covered. I wonder if he makes a funny sound to suggest emotion?

  • Alex says:

    "controlling nature and delusions of Michael Bay grandeur"
    This is exactly why I love his appearances in behind-the-scenes featurettes for his films; his enthusiasm for werewolves or whatever is pretty fucking mesmerizing. He's like a bizarro cross between Troy Duffy and a Buffy fanfic writer.

  • bess marvin, girl detective says:

    really? he was more than halfway decent in 'a guide to recognizing your saints' even though his range is limited to meatheads. if he mixes more indies with big studio shit, he can stretch his career at least until 2012.

  • Kyle Buchanan says:

    Guapo, since we spoke to our own sources on this, our report is indeed exclusive to us.
    As much fun as these inter-blog battles can be, we think we'll defer to The Playlist on this one. Enjoy:
    Latino Review, the guys who ostensibly "broke," or found the DonMurphy message boards story are now reporting that the rumor is false as they have talked to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura who says, "It's very unfair to Steve, it's completely untrue he was never asked to leave or been fired or any of that. That’s ridiculous. The movie tested very well."
    To which Latino Review's response is conveniently, "I hear it tested as good as the first 'Transformers.' " Jesus, you sure as shit didn't see that in their original report. They also still have their original headline in the piece which was "Sommers Fired From G.I. Joe. Half The Battle Has Been Salvaging The Project." There's not even a question mark there suggesting it's a rumor. It's suggesting fact, not could this have happened? Now we're ones to talk cause we reported on this rumor as well, but pretty fucking convenient revisionism there, guys. They even write in their first version "I've heard through various sources that this story is true." Guess those sources weren't so good when you actually got the real one. Bleh.

  • Inhaler says:

    Imagine That is going to be a turkey? But after the nonpareil that was Meet Dave, how could this be true?

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    But studio test scores are always perfectly accurate!!

  • mike says:

    I would point out that the Franchise can be fucking AWESOME
    Take a look at the Adult Swim G.I Joe Resolute it was a fantastic remake of the series made for older kids, and adults.
    Rework the movie with a more adult mindset and you could have a bad ass property on your hands, that is of course if paramount would let something like that happen.

  • Charles says:

    Emperor Joshua, are you forgetting Scarlett? She was one of the original action figures!

  • Lee D'Astard says:

    do the f***ing math, hollywood.

  • PanzerDrag says:

    Um, Lady Jaye? Scarlett? Baroness? Helloooo? They were part of the original teams. What the hell are you smoking? Goddamn I am sick of these dipshit fanboys and their whiny "You f-ed up my childhood" complaints. It's a damn movie.

  • me says:

    My friend was a test audience member and he said it was awsome