‘ll go ahead and agree with Nick that the Stephen Sommers of Deep Rising would be just the guy to deliver a fun G.I. Joe movie. And if he wants $10 million to do it even though his last two pictures (The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing) were exercises in eardrum abuse, you might as well pay that man his money. It’s not like you’re going to get a better director for this kind of material.

Whether or not Sommers’s asking price was a big enough sticking point with Paramount to nearly drive him off the film (as IESB reported last week), it’s a moot point now: he’s got the gig. According to Variety, the studio’s CEO, Brad Grey, hired Sommers "in the room" last Wednesday on the strength of his pitch, which goes a little something like this:

"G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer."

Clearly, they’re basing, erm, G.I.J.O.E. in Brussels to court favor with Jean-Claude Van Damme. This gladdens my heart. But why is it that Hollywood is determined to portray all Scots as double-crossing arms dealers? They’re generally a very trustworthy people. And, as we learned from Rob Roy, they’re much handier with broadswords anyway. I sense accent envy.

IESB is reporting that Paramount has hired the competent Stuart Beattie to do a page one rewrite (farewell to drafts by Skip Woods and the writing team of Paul Lovett & David Elliot). He’ll have to put the pedal down; the studio is fast-tracking this project for a February start date in anticipation of, you guessed it, the strike. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Hasbro’s Brian Goldner will produce. Expect Gijoe to be a tentpole release for summer 2009.