As news about Stephen Sommers G.I. Joe has been coming out, fan reaction to the news has ranged from the exhilarated (Ray Parks cast as Snake Eyes) to the dismayed (G.I. Joe may be an international U.N. sponsored team?) to the confused (Marlon Wayans cast as Ripcord). To address some of these concerns, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura spoke with IESB.net to assuage the fears of the fans.
To begin with, Bonaventura explained why Marlon Wayans was put in the role of Ripcord:
Well, let's talk about Marlon for a second. A lot of people are fans of his from the comedic point of view obviously for all the right reasons, but what I think everybody forgets about is how damn good he was in Requiem for a Dream as an actor. And, when we were trying to figure out who would be the right element to make this combination work of Duke as the leader and Ripcord as the best friend who sorta gets Duke in trouble all the time and Duke has to bail him out all the time and have fun with him, we needed a guy who's gonna be funny and we needed a guy who was going to be a good actor. And we went to Marlon and said, "We'd love to talk to you." And he's a gigantic GI Joe fan and immediately asked, "is Cobra in it, is Destro in it?" I mean before he even got to read the script he was so much fun to talk to because he understood what it was. So he got it immediately, and when we did the test, you know, we all looked at each other and the studio and there isn't one person who didn't think it was a no-brainer. So, from our point of view, he's playing a military character who's got some real good quips but he's got to be good, he's got to be physical, and I mean Marlon is a strapping guy, he's got good size to him. So, I think the fans will feel, when they see him, that he is playing the solider that they anticipate anyone from the G.I. Joe group to be.
Bonaventura also expressed praise for Ray Parks and his audition for the role of Snake Eyes. "I've done a lot of martial arts movies with martial artists and you've got to have a guy that understands how to act and understands how to make a movie. The difference to between martial arts the movie and martial arts the fighting, you know what I mean? Ray just nailed it, he just came in and he showed his moves and Darth Maul had influence in the sense that you could see that he understood what to do in a movie."
While he wouldn't provide any real hints as to who was being considered for the roles, Bonaventura did confirm that they are looking at actors for the roles of Duke (the G.I. Joe commander), Hawk (the G.I. Joe field commander), Destro (the Cobra second-in-command and Scottish mercenary) and Zartan (a thief and spy who works for Cobra). He also suggests the possibility that we might see G.I. Joe members Shipwreck and Cover Girl, depending on budgetary concerns.
Bonaventura also addressed the concerns fans have expressed over the tone of the film and it's story. He compared the film to Batman Begins in terms of tone and it's desire to be true to the source material but to make the film a litte more grounded in reality. He also says that while the G.I. Joe team will be an international team, they will not be based in Brussels, and that the Joe commander, Duke, is still the embodiment of the "real American hero."
Bonaventura also says that the film begins shooting near the end of February, 2008, with shooting planned all across the world. He also confirms that the script was completed before the WGA strike began in November, so filming will progress as planned.
Bonaventura also touched upon the status of a Transformers 2:
We're nowhere because of the strike, we won't know until we come back. We have a very fine outline and we know exactly where we want go with the movie but until this writers strike comes back, we'll find out exactly where we are. Michael (Bay) is completely on top of every detail. He's designed a lot of great stuff already. He's got a lot of great sequences imagined but you know, he needs some writers to work with before he's ready to go, so I would say June 2nd is an unofficial start, it's the target date we'd like to go for but, you know, we've got to get some writers to help us.
To read the full interview with Lorenzo di Bonaventura on IESB.net, CLICK HERE
G.I. Joe is scheduled for an August 7th, 2009 as release.