This is just a rumor! I am not reporting anything that has been verified by anyone official – though a report from our friends at FirstShowing.net suggests that the details of this rumor contain some facts. Whatever it is, I found it interesting and decided to pass it off to you guys. According to a posting over at the Don Murphy Message Boards (via Latino Review), Stephen Sommers has been fired during post production of his latest, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. There is a lot to digest here, as the user who submitted the report cites several different stories. In this case, it is best to publish the post in it’s entirety, with a discussion to follow:
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.
WOW. Now, this is not unheard of in Hollywood. Remember that there were rumors that this happened to Lexi Alexander while editing Punisher: War Zone. There was also a huge fiasco with Live Free or Die Hard a few years ago. This can’t simply be dismissed. So do the facts check out? Surprisingly, most of them do. This all seems to be legit, except that according to IMDB, Sommers is now repped by Rob Carlson at William Morris, not Jon Fogelman. The Action Man story, and all the other listed names, are factual. So what does this all mean? Well, it would explain why all the trailers we’ve seen so far from the G.I. Joe film have SUCKED. Obviously, fans of the brand will want to blame someone for bastardizing their beloved Joe. This story would put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Stephen Sommers. This would also mean that exec’s at Paramount, and possibly some at Hasbro, see potential in the footage that was shot for the film. Possibly with the right team editing the film, everything could turn out okay? According to the story, Stuart Baird is being brought on to fix the film. He’s known in the biz, as the story calls him, a “fixer editor.” He’s worked on films like Vantage Point, Casino Royale, Die Hard 2, and Lethal Weapon 1 & 2. His track record speaks for itself, so if this story is indeed true, the film is in good hands. But perhaps the most interesting thing to note here is that in my research before completing this article is that the original forum posting has been removed. Following the link to the Don Murphy Message Boards leads you to an error message. Would the post be removed if it was just fan speculation? Is there possibly something more going on here?
It’s important to remember that this is, as of right now, only a rumor. We’ve all seen (and been disappointed by) the trailers for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, and we all want to blame someone for the mess it’s become. But let’s not jump to conclusions. We may never know the truth about what’s going on here. I can’t imagine that Paramount would want a story like this to be leaked to the press, and they certainly wouldn’t admit to it. It would look bad for the film. It is interesting though. If the film does suck, at least Joe fanatics will have someone to blame – whether Sommers truly is to blame or not.
At least now you know. And knowledge is half the battle…