Rumor Patrol: Was Stephen Sommers Fired From G.I. Joe?

This RUMOR is coming to us by way of First Showing, who heard it from Latino Review, who heard it on the message boards for producer Don Murphy (Transformers). The rumor being whispered down the links is that Stephen Sommers (The Mummy), director of the upcoming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was fired from post-production on the film by Paramount, after a test screening of G.I. Joe allegedly resulted in the lowest scores in the studio's history!

Again, as is being repeatedly stressed: NONE OF THIS INFO HAS BEEN VERIFIED. All could be well with Sommers and G.I. Joe or the situation could be in shambles. What I will do is give you some quick background on the issue and let you draw your own conclusions from there.

Here's what was originally said on the Don Murphy message boards:

"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."

That same "insider" then went on to break down the story in full. I won't take the time do reiterate the whole thing for you but here's a bit more you should know:

"NONE of this needed to happen, except someone who did not know the mythology, [Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura] 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."

So what this basically seems to boil down to, according to this "inside source," is that G.I. Joe was placed in the hands of an inept producer, who placed it in the hands of inept director, which resulted in a crappy movie. Allegedly. Of course there is more to the story than that, which you can read up on by going here.

Now, since this rumor hit the Web, Latino Review has managed to get in contact with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and the producer has been quick to shoot down these G.I. Joe rumors as being totally false:

Lorenzo: Its very unfair to Steve, its completely untrue he was never asked to leave or been fired or any of that. That’s ridiculous. The movie tested very well.

[Latino Review]: So what really happened in the editing room?

Lorenzo: Nothing that doesn’t happen on every other movie, which is that you constantly work and work and work and you make it better and better. We had a delay on visual effects so we waited a long time to finish the movie but that’s the only thing. I don’t really know why that would be interpreting it negatively but I guess it was.

So, according to Bonaventura all is well with Paramount, director Stephen Sommers and G.I. Joe. Of course, in these kinds of situations (and this being Hollywood and all), it's hard to tell who is being real, who is doing spin-control and who might be just another internet rumor-starter looking to stir up some controversy. No way to say for sure at this point. According George Roush over at Latino Review, his sources collaborate Bonaventura's claims that the G.I. Joe movie has tested well.

Guess we'll be able to clear this rumor up for good once G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra hits theaters on August 7, 2009.

In the meantime, you've seen the G.I. Joe trailers and TV spots - do you think there could be any truth to this rumor?

Sources: Latino Review, First Showing & Don Murphy Message Boards

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