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Yo, Joe! G.I. Joe is latest '80s toy to become a movie (plus our casting picks)

Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 at 2:57 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

With the success of Transformers, it seems all the '80s toy favorites are getting turned into movies. The latest is G.I. Joe. Yes, the Real American Hero will be getting the big screen treatment as a live-action film.

Sorry, Papaw, the movie won't be based on the '60s and '70s, Barbie-sized dolls with the Kung Fu grip. Instead, the movie will drawn upon the characters created by Hasbro for the smaller action figures of the 1980s. G.I. Joe was a team of elite soldiers assembled to fight the evil organization known as Cobra from taking over the world.

Paramount Pictures has tapped Stephen Sommers to direct the project. Sommers is best known for helming The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing. The fast-tracked film should start production in February for a Summer 2009 release in theaters.

A popular G.I. Joe comic series lasting 155 issues was created by Marvel Comics to accompany the toys. Thirtysomethings will also remember the animated TV series which popularized the phrases "Yo, Joe!" and "Knowing is half the battle."

As a kid, I was a big fan of the toys and even the watered-down cartoon. I was even a bigger fan of the comic book -- at least until they jumped the shark by adding Sgt. Slaughter.

I can't wait to relive my childhood so much so that I'm offering Stephen Sommers some suggestions for the cast. Hopefully that will speed up pre-production a bit. I ask no credit or compensation for these inspired choices -- just some tickets to the premiere.

Hawk/Duke - These two characters served as commanding officers 1 and 1A. I doubt your script will include both so I'll simplify things by suggesting Alec Baldwin for the role of leader. As his daughter can attest, Baldwin can yell orders like the best of 'em. [OK, I've changed my mind. Reader Peter M. made me see the light. Thomas Jane is so much a better choice for Duke -- to the point where it seems obvious to me now. TB, 8/29/07]

Scarlett - The sleek and sexy redhead has to be played by none other than Kate Beckinsale with a dye job. She continues to prove she can kick butt in action movies. But of course you know that, Stephen. She was in Van Helsing for you.

Snake Eyes - This mysterious, martial arts-trained character was by far the most popular of the bunch. He was also a mute and wore a full head cover so I don't think many actors will go for on the job. Since the role is akin to Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and Toad in X-Men, I recommend Ray Park.

Flint - Since we can't go back in time to cast a younger version of the square-chinned Bruce Campbell. Let's cast someone athletic like Channing Tatum.

Stalker - The African-American Army Ranger was close buds with Snake Eyes and Flint. A talented young actor like Columbus Short would be ideal for the role.

Roadblock - Living up to his name, this heavy machine gunner was so big no one wanted to mess with him. Since perennial heavyweights Michael Clarke Duncan and 'Tiny' Lister are getting a little older, you may have to pull a Jim Brown and go for someone in the NFL. I suggest the 6'7", 291 pound Mario Williams of the Houston Texans.

Cobra Commander - This weasel of a bad guy would be played mightily by Gary Oldman. Just leave off his head sack for a few scenes, OK?

What do you think, dear reader? Let us know your casting suggestions for this one.