Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has a busy summer ahead of him – he’s opening 1408, Transformers and Stardust in the coming months. He also has a plate (and a half) full of other projects in development, and one of them, a movie version of G.I. Joe, got resurrected this past week. This afternoon I was on the phone with Di Bonaventura talking about Transformers and Stardust, but there was one G.I. Joe question I couldn’t help ask.
How do you do a G.I. Joe movie now, when we turn on our TVs every night and see real soldiers in real danger?
That’s a really good question, and nobody’s asked that question, interestingly enough. It complicates the process. What is great about the show is that it was a fantasy, so that gets you one step away from reality immediately. Actually, you’re two or three steps away. It’s an impossible thing to articulate, but if you’re not conscious of the fact that reality will impact the film, your ability to portray men and women in uniform with guns, you’re kidding yourself.
That said, it’s not going to be about the Iraq war, it’s not going to be about things that directly connects to today’s reality. To me it’s more of an emotional connection. The fun of these characters is – I don’t know if you remember Kelly’s Heroes, but Kelly’s Heroes played it really funny and also these Nazis were bad guys. That was obviously looking back a time period they had all gone through and experienced one way or another and took it seriously and yet were able to have fun with it. I hope we’re able to do the same thing – I’m not saying we’re doing Kelly’s Heroes, but it’s one of the movies I’ve always loved. I think it’s one of the military movies that allowed large, broad character moves while at the same time it had some grit and consequence to it.
If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how Di Bonaventura and his writers and director handle the whole situation – in a world with Al Qaeda and the familiar and grisly effects of terrorism, how much fun can you have with Cobra?