NERO casts a new take on GI JOE
CBMer NERO comes to EMF with his first FanCast
I have made no secret about my loathing of Steven Sommers’ GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I was a Joe fan from the get go, it was my chosen poison on childhood above Transformers, Voltron, Robotech, MASK, and all the other 80’s cartoons and toy lines. Once I saw the first GI Joe miniseries on TV I was hooked I slept on Joe sheets, had a Cobra Commander electric toothbrush, lunch box, back pack, shoes, underoos, and any Joe toy I could weasel, whine, or, beg out of my parents. You name it; if the Joes were on it I had it. My first comic I ever bought was GI Joe # 27 in September of 1984, I was six years old and had just learned to read well enough to want to buy comics, I saw the issue on the rack of our local drug store and just happened to have gotten my first ever five dollar allowance. The issue cost sixty cents (God how times have changed). I asked Mom if I could have it. She gave it the once over and said sure. That was the day I fell in love with Snake Eyes because it just so happened that this was the issue that told the story of how he joined the Joes. That was the day I discovered Larry Hama.
The next summer Frank Kutter opened Kutter’s Comics in the local plaza and I was done. Comics and drawing became my thing, it was all over. I drove 160 miles home overnight from college when I heard Frank had died my sophomore year, just to see the old guy off. Joe was the toy of choice when my Dad after working a long day came home and wanted to wallow around on the floor with his son and be a kid again. I never had the patience to sit down with my dad to work on a car or build a table, but we would sit for hours putting together the vehicles and play sets, carefully placing their decals on making everything perfect.
So you can see GI Joe was my intro to the world of comics, favorite toy, and introduced me to one of my favorite people and first loss of a friend, and got me to bond with dad. I had a lot of memories tied up with that book. So you can understand why when I began hearing what Sommers was doing I was concerned, then angry, then defiant. I refused to see GI Joe in the theaters after I took a peak at the trade paperback and had my fears confirmed as to how bad it was going to be. I wouldn’t buy or rent the Blu-Ray either, then my Grandma stopped by to visit my wife and I and gave me a copy as a gift. I watched it, I figured I still moral justified as I had not paid money to encourage the studio’s continued pilfering of my childhood. I watched it. I took it outside. I set it in the notch of a tree. I shot it with a twelve gauge. That was all I could do. I sure as hell wasn’t going to put that anywhere near my Joe collection, it felt like a source of evil in my home I just had to exorcise the demons… with buck shot.
So after a few weeks I started thinking how would I do this? How would I take GI Joe and make it a movie not designed so much to sell toys to ten year olds, but as homage to those thirty year olds that watched and read and played with GI Joe when they were 10? The story I came up with and will be posting here on CBM in script form in several chapters over the next couple of months is an adult version of GI Joe, one which doesn’t dumb down GI Joe or Cobra and treats the audience like they actually would like some story to go with the CG and action. I wanted to look with an adult’s eye why would Cobra exist, what are their motives. What would a real Joe team be like, how would they stay secret, how would they look like Joes without looking like The Village People? I hope you like what I came up with.
Before the story you need to know who I would have playing these parts so her is my own casting for my version of GI JOE.
GIJOE Teams (Global Interdiction Joint Operations Expeditionary Teams) Code name for what is officially known as Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta
Oversight and Senior Officers and NCO’s:
General Lawrence J. Flagg
Flagg is an old war horse, a Vietnam vet a member of the old guard of Special Forces. He was Hawks CO when he came upon the existence of Cobra. Stephen Lang has that embattled quality and though an older guy you have no doubt he could hand you your ass on a platter.
Brigadier General Clayton “Hawk” Abernathy
Five years ago while on a mission in Africa Colonel Abernathy’s SF group is wiped out. The sole survivor of his command he goes to ground and discovers who these masked men are, the problem was no one wanted to believe. After pitching Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta he is denied and lashes out. Court Marshal or retirement is his only option. After Hawk’s story checks out he is asked back by his former CO Flagg to head the unit they designed.
Jon Hamm has the chops and authority to play the teams maverick commander.
First Sergeant Conrad S. “Duke” Hauser. Top Kick of Team Alpha
You have to be a tough son of a bitch to earn the nickname “Duke.” Hauser is just that as the field leader of one of the first two active JOE Teams. He is a legend in the SF community recruited from Delta Force by General Hawk.
I like Damien Lewis for Duke, he doesn't scream Duke when you look at him, but the inspiration in casting Duke comes from my cousin Scotty a US Green Beret; a small unassuming little guy that you would never believe was a SF trooper having seen combat from Panama to Somalia, Bosnia to Iraq, Afghanistan to Iraq again . A true SF guy needs to blend in wherever he is, Rambo don’t blend. Lewis was a member of the cast of “Band of Brothers” playing Winters. He struck me as a believable leader of men, but in the end the Lewis just feels like Duke to me, tough, understated, and determined to get the job done. Watch Band of Brothers and you’ll see what I mean.
First Sergeant Lonzo R. “Stalker” Wilkinson: Top Kick Team Beta
Stalker is a hardened Green Beret, a former comrade of Snake-Eyes he is responsible for the recruitment of our favorite Ninja Commando to the team.
Idris Elba has screamed Stalker to me since I first saw him in “28 Weeks Later.” The funny thing is with my casting America’s real American heroes will be lead into battle by to Brits with Lewis and Elba.
Chief Warrant Officer Dashiell R. “Flint” Faireborn: The teams top tactician and mission and SAR planner.
Flint in the Hama tradition is an arrogant son of a bitch of the highest order. The only reason he is tolerated is because he earned his arrogance by being a brilliant leader, tactician, pilot, and search and rescue operator. He's a tough guy to like sometimes, but a man that earns respect through shear ability.
Matthew Fox could pull off the arrogance and attitude, but still leave you liking the character.
Wild Bill and Lift Ticket are the Abbot and Costello of the team. Bill’s wild man persona is counter balanced by Lift's consummate straight man routine. John McGinley could pull off the older wild man; I see Bill as Ted Nugent meets Buffalo Bill Cody. John has proven he has that showman quality through his various roles and his comedic timing in "Scrubs." Wahlberg has proven himself a solid actor over the years and I think his taciturn stare alone would be the perfect retort to Bill's manic persona.
Shanna O'Hara is on tough woman. I loved the comic version of Scarlett; she was capable and intelligent, a ball buster at times that took shit from no one. I picked Biel for a few reasons not the least of which she has proven she is more than able to play an action role and come off just as strong as the boys. And also c'mon just look at her.
For Breaker I went against type; I didn't want him to come off as a geek or techno weenie, this guy is a Special Forces operator. He may be techno savvy, but he needed to be played by someone you could believe was a guy that could hike up a mountain with 80 pounds of computer, communications/encryption, and jamming gear and still be able to fight. Kevin Durand is quickly becoming a personal favorite of mine from his roles in "3:10 to Yuma" and "Smokin' Aces."
Morton has screamed "Doc" to me since I saw him as a kid in T2. His role in Speed also showed he can be a believable operator, which will come into play in this story.
Ben McKenzie first caught my eye in "Southland" and I really think he could bring a freshness to Rip, who I see as a first class operator with a bit of a wild streak.
Berry Pepper has a stillness about him, and since my tale is more heavily based on the Marvel Comic series of the eighties and not the Cartoon I wanted to be true to the Larry Hama version of Beach Head. I wanted and actor who had a stillness based on the Hama character, rather than a frenetic hyper rageaholic as he was played in the cartoon. And for a character that will be wearing a balaclava in most action scenes I wanted someone whose eyes are very expressive and in a way haunted.
Now let me say for some reason I always loved Torpedo, he was a true warrior a SEAL, I always thought the character was underused in the series of comics and cartoons. I wanted to make Torpedo a bad ass again. Hernandez was a bit of a compromise for me, when it comes to casting characters of a specific ethnicity, Torpedo is Hawaiian, I really prefer to pick actors of that ethnicity. I had to compromise here as I had a hell of a time finding a young Hawaiian or Samoan actor that could really fit the bill. I have limited experience seeing Hernandez, but I have enjoyed those few experiences and think he could pull off Torpedo just fine.
Again, tough casting here; I wanted an older actor to play the Gunny, and of course Gung-Ho being Gung-Ho he had to be able to pull off the Eagle Globe and anchor tattoo which will only be seen once in the tale. I'm still iffy on this one.
Terry Crews was just born to play Roadblock to me. He is a more than capable actor and he'll need that as I make Roadblock one of the more philosophical characters in the film to juxtapose the fact that this is a man mountain strong enough to hoist a ma duce.
I love this kid. Every role every film he delivers and I expect that he would rock the JOE's second gunner. I wanted to see how he handles mello surfer after his turn as a biker on "Sons of Anarchy." I mean a surfer dude on a heavy machine gun, I love the oddity of that.
Ah, Timmy. Scary, scary creepy stare Timmy. I wanted the person that played Low-Light to be able to make the audience feel uncomfortable almost intimidated. I think Timmy has that factor in spades.
So who is Snake-Eyes you ask? I thought it would be better since we never see Snake’s face to allow him to be played by multiple martial arts experts, that way when he changes styles from one fighting form to the next it seems flawless and beautiful.
And now for Cobra:
Cobra Commander is 90% voice and barring the resurrection of Chris Latta there is really only one voice I could hear truly having a vicious tinge enough to make me take notice and that is the gravel dragged vocal styling of Michael Wincott. Wincott’s swagger and person would work wonderfully for Cobra’s leader.
There is no one more suave or physically imposing right now in Hollywood than Craig. His English droll could take a bit of coaxing into a Scottish brogue, but once he has that down he would kill as the nobleman arms dealer. The mask is another thing, I put the classic comic/cartoon mask as well as a more reasonable version of a metal mask worn over the head in the form of Klytus from Flash Gordon.
Screw Miller, I want my Baroness to be as tough as Sarah Connor. Headey has the look, the skill, the beauty, and the correct age to play the Baroness D’Cobray.
Bludd is actually the baddie we’ll have the most screen time with in my FanFic, and I thought Roth’s wild-eyed unpredictability would work well for the role, let him work on his Aussie accent and he is good to go.
The mysterious advisor to Cobra Commander.
Stormshadow will be in the shadows for much of this film, but I plan on him being one of the most intimidating people therein just by his mere presence so when he is unleashed in the third act you’ll be itching to see if all the fear thrown his way was warranted. Again, no face, use multiple players to bring him to life.