Saturday, March 29, 2008

‘G.I. Joe’ Film Reveals Characters; Aims For Cross-Generational Appeal

By Heather Chin

(previously published at on March 23, 2008)

Paramount provides the first character-reveal for their “G.I. Joe” film, as well as insight into what directors and producers describe as an “origin story.”

In a photo released by Paramount Pictures, a black-clad ninja whose face is obscured by a helmet resembling the sort of mesh mask worn by fencing students grips a sword erect in his hands. He is Snake Eyes, the first character from Paramount’s upcoming film, G.I. Joe to be revealed, according to USA Today.

Due to be released in August 2009, G. I. Joe is being groomed as the resurrection of a franchise just as Transformers was last year. The sci-fi story about a team of elite military operatives battling an unsavory and villainous organization called Cobra, G. I. Joe (the team, not a single person) first appeared in the 1960s as a line of 12-inch figurines from Hasbro. In the 1980s, it evolved into smaller figurines and a successful TV series.

According to its director, Stephen Sommers, the movie will be an origins story, so one of the issues will be how to explain details in a way that will both induct new viewers while developing more background to interest existing fans.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who also worked on Transformers, says that this connection between past and present is a basic part of the broad appeal, and maintaining that diversity, particularly of race and gender, is important. “There are quite a few characters in it, and almost certainly a character in which an audience member can see themselves, or want to be,” Bonaventura said.

The character of Snake Eyes is being played by man-behind-the-mask Ray Park, of Mortal Kombat, Sleepy Hollow and Star Wars (he was Darth Maul) fame. Other actors on the “good” side include Channing Tatum (as Duke), Rachel Nichols (as “Scarlett” O’Hara), Marlon Wayans (Ripcord), Dennis Quaid (as The Commander).

On the Cobra side of the battle are Sienna Miller (as the Baroness), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as the Cobra Commander and in various other roles), Christopher Eccleston (as Destro), and Byung-hun Lee (as Storm Shadow).

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