'Joe' top brass: Sommers

Helms Par pic based on '80s toys

Call it "G.I. Go."

Paramount Pictures finally has mobilized "G.I. Joe," hiring Stephen Sommers to direct the live-action film based on the popular Hasbro military action figures. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Hasbro's Brian Goldner are producing the movie, which is being prepped as a prestrike movie.

While G.I. Joe toys have been around for decades, the movie will be based on the toy line launched in the 1980s, which also was tied to a Saturday morning cartoon and comic book series. This version saw soldiers from all branches of the military fighting a terrorist group called Cobra, led by the Cobra Commander and featuring such villains as the Baroness, metal-faced arms dealer Destro, master of disguise Zartan and biker gang Dreadnoks.

On the good guys' side were such heroes as the mute ninja Snake Eyes and the fetching heroine Scarlett, who were led by a Joe named Duke.

The full name of the '80s toy line was G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, but in a reflection of the global nature of tentpoles and current geopolitical climate, the Yankee nature of the strike force is being dropped, with the team now having an international flavor.

Sommers will oversee the writing of the script, working off a treatment. No writer is on board yet.

The studio is eyeing a summer 2009 release.

"Joe" had long been in development at Paramount, though it gained traction thanks in part to the success of "Transformers," based on another 1980s Hasbro toy line. WMA brought many of the elements together to get "Transformers" made, and when it signed the toy company three months ago, the agency marshaled its troops to get "Joe" in fighting condition.

Sommers' take was inspired by a trip he took to Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island, where he learned in depth about the world of G.I. Joe. Sommers then met with Paramount brass, who sparked to his ideas.

Sommers, repped by WMA, is best known for helming the "Mummy" movies for Universal as well as that studio's monster movie "Van Helsing."
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