GI JoeVariety has now confirmed a rumor that hit the movie websites a couple weeks ago: The Mummy series director Stephen Sommers has signed on to direct a big screen live-action G.I. Joe movie. The studio is hiring a writer immediately, IESB is reporting that Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean, Collateral, Derailed, 30 Days of Night, Spy Hunter) is the man for the job. And they probably know, because they were the ones who broke this story a few weeks back. Paramount is fast-tracking the project for a summer 2009 release, which means production will begin this February. Variety claims that Sommers was officially hired after making a pitch to Paramount head Brad Grey and production president Brad Weston on Wednesday.

With characters like Cobra Commander and Serpentor, GI Joe has the potential to be an fun accessible army action film like never seen before. And with so many movies set in Iraq hitting the big screen, a Joe movie has the ability to offer something much different than the norm. Let’s hope Sommers doesn’t screw it up. I’ve genuinely hated most of his later films (Deep Rising, The Mummy Returns, Van Helsing). But I always stuck up for The Mummy.

I’m sure casting announcements will begin in a couple months. We’ll be able to tell what type of movie this could be when we start seeing a list of names. I’m betting that Sgt. Slaughter is probably too old to play himself in this one (which is probably a good thing). They also need to watch out how much patriotism they jam onto the screen. If they don’t get the dosage right it could piss of core conservative fans. If they put too much patriotism, it could scare off everyone else. Patriotism in large doses can be pretty scary. If done right, this could be the next Transformers (sans giant robots…). If done wrong, it could come off as a long inforercial for the U.S. Army.

G.I. Joe started in 1942 as a WWII military magazine comic strip. In the mid-60′s the character became a series of military-themed 12″ articulated action figures produced by the Hasbro toy company. The company later relaunched the action figure line in a smaller, 3 3/4-inch scale in the early 80′s. A comic book and animated television series followed. Over the 1980s, G.I. Joe’s increasing popularity supported an array of spin-off merchandising that included posters, t-shirts, video games, board games, kites, animated movies, and an ongoing animated series.

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Len Wiseman

Gears of WarIESB is reporting that that Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman is currently in talks with New Line Cinema to develop and direct both a big screen adaptation of the popular X-Box 360 video game Gears of War and the announced Escape from New York remake.

On March 20th, it was announced that New Line Cinema had purchased the rights to make a Gears of War film, with Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl screenwriter Stuart Beattie writing the script along with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who will be producing it. CAA conducted the auction, which featured a 21 page treatment by Beattie. New Line also announced that the film would hit theaters in 2009.

Released in November, Gears has sold over three million units worldwide, becoming the fourth best selling game of last year (not too shabby for only a two month lead). The game has become a staple in the online gameplay world of Xbox Live. Gears of War follows the soldiers of Delta Squad as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as The Locust Horde.

escapefromnewyorkbig1.jpgA week earlier the studio also announced plans to remake John Carpenter’s 1981 action classic Escape From New York with 300 star Gerard Butler attached. Butler would play Snake Plissken, the one-eyed convict who must rescue the President of the United States from an inescapable maximum security prison formerly known as Manhattan. The film was set in a dystopian then-future 1997. Kurt Russell originated the role. The 1996 sequel Escape to L.A. was not as popular. Black Hawk Down scribe Ken Nolan is writing the screenplay.

Wiseman has certainly found a home in the geek action genre, after filming Underworld and it’s subsequent sequel. His latest, Live Free or Die Hard has made over $302.4 million worldwide, which is probably enough to give a big Hollywood studio confidence in two big upcoming franchises.

3:10 to Yuma Movie Poster

3:10 to YumaWe haven’t had much (if any) coverage of James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma remake on /Film based purely on my dislike of movie westerns. But it seems like everywhere I look there is something else about this new flick. Today it’s the movie poster [via our friends at FirstShowing ComingSoon], which even I must admit, looks very cool.

When a small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who’s awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma, a battle of wills ensues as the outlaw tries to psych out the rancher.

The film stars Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda and Vinessa Shaw. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl screenwriter Stuart Beattie wrote the script. Someone needs to give the marketing guys over at Lionsgate a raise. This is a first class poster. It might be good enough to help sell a western in a time when westerns are clearly out of style. Check out a larger version of the poster after the jump.

Update: Apparently ComingSoon was the first to post this movie poster.

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Russell Crowe to Direct Bra Boys

russellcrowe.jpgRussell Crowe wants to be a director, but doesn’t everyone? The Academy Award winning actor will make his directorial debut with Bra Boys for Universal and Imagine Entertainment.

According to Variety, the movie is a “fact-based drama about a counterculture movement in a surf community in Australia.”

Stuart Beattie, who just signed on to write the Gears of War movie, will write a script based on the documentary of the same name, which Crowe also narrated.

It is unknown if Crowe will cast himself in the film, but we hope he will. At least we know Crowe has talent as an actor. I can’t imagine his infamous temper will translate well to his director’s duties.

Photo courtesy of ~kgreene @ DeviantArt

New Line to make Gears of War Movie

Gears of WarNew Line is on a roll. First they win the rights to the Escape from New York remake, and now a big screen adaptation of Microsoft’s popular video game Gears of War.

Collateral and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl screenwriter Stuart Beattie is working on the script. No word on who will direct. CAA conducted the auction, which featured a 21 page treatment by Beattie.
Released in November, Gears has sold over three million units worldwide, becoming the fourth best selling game of last year (not too shabby for only a two month lead). The game has become a staple in the online gameplay world of Xbox Live.

Gears of War follows the soldiers of Delta Squad as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as The Locust Horde. The player assumes the role of Marcus Fenix, a former prisoner and war-hardened soldier. In cooperative play, the second player plays as Fenix’s friend and fellow soldier, Dominic Santiago (Dom). The two soldiers join up with Delta Squad and battle the Locust Horde through the course of an action-packed campaign.

The story in the game leaves A LOT of room for Hollywood to adapt. This could be a good thing, but also it could be very bad. Look at the Super Mario movie as an example of how wrong this kind of video adaptation could go. But at least Gears is set in the War genre, which will be easier to relate immediately than some of the more fantastical video game franchises (again, Mario).

At the 2007 Game Developers Conference Cliffy B confirmed that Epic Games does “intend to do a sequel” to Gears of War possibly set to be released in 2008.

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