G.I. Joe Damage Control Begins…

Hear that? That’s the sound of studio suits at Paramount cursing this thing called the Interwebs and the fanboys that drives it. Yup, it looks like the movie studio behind “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” are scrambling big-time to do some damage control in the aftermath of rumors that the film’s director, Stephen Sommers has been essentially “fired” from his own movie. A day later, everyone from the producers to the stars are now speaking up on the subject. Sort of.

Over at Latino Review, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura came forward to dispute the rumors, saying:

Everybody was happy, the studio was happy, the filmmakers were happy, the audience was happy with the movie. We had three test screenings, three different times and tested it and each time it just got better and better. We started off in a good place and we ended up in even in a better place, which is what you hope on a film from testing it.

All’s well and it’s all one big made-up hullabaloo by the Internet folks, right? Not exactly the first time this has happen, of course.

Then there’s this from Movieline:

According to our sources, though, Sommers is not off the picture. Test screenings on G.I. Joe happened months ago and though the studio was dissatisfied, one source doubts that the film could have reached the NRG depths of past Paramount product like Marci X and Timeline.

Yes, we’re hearing that there has been tension between Sommers and the studio, and the film is being recut to better response, but Sommers is still present and most of the bad blood has been resolved. The reason for all the negativity? Sommers’ supposedly controlling nature and delusions of Michael Bay grandeur. Paramount isn’t very high on the film but still expects it to track better than predicted.

Okay, sounds like the rumors were a tad sensationalistic. Right?

Hollywood-Elsewhere seems to have some inside dish on the matter, and is leaning towards the story having some truth to it:

My source says Sommers “was given total freedom but he melted down and has made the biggest bomb in many a moon. Paramount production chief Brad Weston is looking to bail and work for Peter Chernin with Star Trek as his coda because G.I. Joe will decimate the Paramount team and lead to many, many scapegoats.”

But wait, what do the stars have to say? Joseph Gordon Levitt, who plays the still-unseen Cobra Commander in the movie, had this to say when asked by MTV:

“I just heard about it. I’ve been shooting,” Gordon-Levitt said. “What can you say? People like to do that [gossip].”

He capped off his comments with some good advice for fans: “‘G.I. Joe’ is like playing with toys. It’s very simple and its really fun and that’s all.”

Okay, he doesn’t exactly dispel the rumor, but I suppose an actor would be the last person to know about studio infighting, since once they finish a movie they’re usually off to the next one and is out of the loop on the previous movie’s happenings.

So, do you believe the rumors? Is “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” doomed?

We shall see for ourselves when the film opens August 7.

Below: “Just keep walking in slow motion, guys, let the suits fight it out.”