There was some disturbingly “uh-oh” news about the upcoming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra film coming out of Joblo via Latino Review via Don Murphy’s message boards this morning.  First of all, considering the number of “vias” in that last sentence, this thing begged to be filed on the rumor tip until such time as it was more official, if at all.  With that in mind, the scuttlebutt was that apparently Stephen Sommers has been fired from the project and that editor/director Stuart Baird had been brought in to try to save the hot mess the film had become.  Here was what the posting from poster Endtimes had to say:

Stephen Sommers, the super hack director of the film fired. Removed. Locked out of the editing room. Stuart Baird, a renowned “fixer” editor was brought it to try to see if it could be made releasable. Sommers was then forced by his William Morris agents to pretend that he was working on Tarzan over at Warner Brothers doing design work, even though that film doesn’t even have a good script yet. When word of the firing started to be whispered about in Hollywood, Sommers was summoned back to the editing room- but only to save appearances, Baird is still editing the movie with studio input.

Now, having followed the half dozen links or so (okay three) to the source material, I came to the original thread that started said rumor, only to find it taken down off of the boards.  Since then, the Latino review story has been updated by George “El Guapo” Roush to the following effect by going straight to the top:

We spoke with Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura about this whole firing mess and here’s what he had to say:

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.

I hear it tested as good as the first Transformers.

Lorenzo: Well listen, we tested very well and I don’t compare the movies because they are different movies, but you know I think its really destructive for a director…It hurts a guy’s career when people go around talking about that he was fired or he didn’t do a good job and truth is he did a really good job. People are going to enjoy the movie and the test audiences enjoyed the movie.

He did a very good job the movie tested well and it couldn’t be more false that the studio in anyway did anything negatively to Steve.

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.

In regards to the testing the film has had so far:

Lorenzo: 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.

So there you go. Straight from Lorenzo as he debunks the firing story. Like I said, I’ve heard from my sources that the film was tracking well. We’ve stuck up for this film from the get go. Why? Because we’re fans of G.I. Joe. And I’ve mentioned on Twitter and here numerous times that I think the movie looks kick ass.  All know is fans want a good G.I. Joe movie despite the Hollywood politics.  We’ll find out when it hits theaters on August 7th.

So considering what di Bonaventura has had to say, and that the original source posting has apparently been taken down, one might wonder, was this just some sort of hatchet job on Stephen Sommers?  Was there any substance to this report at all that has since been spun into oblivion?  Who knows?  Anticipation of this movie has been mixed at best, and some people here and there have been calling for Sommers’ head on a pike just from a trailer and various clips, mostly over accelerator suits.  Others seem jazzed. 

Regardless, the movie’s still two months out.  I reserve judgment until I see it, but I honestly don’t want it to fail.  I want a good G.I. Joe movie.  Yeah I understand that Sommers has a lot to live down after Van Helsing.  But people all too often seem to forget that this is the same guy who gave us Deep Rising and the first Mummy movie.  So he can pull it off.  Whether or not he actually does remains to be seen.

Thanks to Felix for the tip