'Mummy' Man Plays With 'G.I. Joe'


The feature version of the "G.I. Joe" toy line has a director. Now you know and knowing is half the battle.

Stephen Sommers, who rejuvenated Universal's long-mummified "Mummy" line, has been hired to go to war with "G.I. Joe."

The project is set up at Paramount, which is presumably searching for another toy-driven franchise to follow up the blockbuster success of this summer's "Transformers" movie.

Paramount also is looking to hire a writer, which seems like a good idea, since the studio wants "G.I. Joe" to go into production by February for a summer 2009 release date. The industry trade papers are reporting that Sommers was brought on board after pitching Paramount on his vision earlier this week.

Hasbro began producing G.I. Joe toys in 1964. As dolls marketed to boys, they were the first "action figures." The dolls were relaunched in 1982 in a smaller size as part of the "Real American Hero" line and achieved their greatest popularity, leading directly to a 1985 animated series in which the G.I. Joe branch of the military -- with heroes including Snake Eyes and Scarlett -- faced off against the dark forces of COBRA. The show featured a particularly intriguing assortment of villains, including Destro, Serpentor, the Baroness, Zartan and, of course, Cobra Commander.

After directing the first two films in the "Mummy" series, Sommers left the franchise and began pre-production on the still-gestating "When Worlds Collide." His other credits include 1994's live-action "Jungle Book" and 2004's "Van Helsing."

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