G.I. Joe Set Visit: Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Just to make sure you have enough information about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, we have ANOTHER lengthy interview with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura talking about the film.

Q: Is there a lot of this movie being done with the hope and expectation that there will be a second and third film to expand on what you guys are setting up?

Lorenzo di Bonaventura: Well what people don’t understand and it’s always interesting to talk to the non-initiate of “Transformers” or “G.I. Joe.” Hasbro developed real deep mythology to both of those properties so it’s the kind of property that naturally lends itself to multiple interpretations. There are so many different characters. Some people on the Web were like, “Why wasn’t Flint in this movie?” Well Duke or Flint. Some people like Duke, some people like Flint. Some people like Lady Jaye, some people love Scarlett. There’s an opportunity to do more than one film if you’re lucky enough to get the first one right.

Q: Do you think this movie could have been done 10 or 15 years ago?

Bonaventura: Not efficiently, no. There are a couple of scenes in this movie that really require sort of the CGI compatibility that we’ve been able to achieve in the movie business.

Q: What the biggest stage you’ve built for the least amount of filming?

Bonaventura: Every set that we’ve built has at least three to four scenes in it I think. Maybe I’m wrong. We had such a short prep time, we had to be very efficient about what we chose to build or not build. We didn’t have much time.

Q: Are you going to launch a new wave of toys that parents can’t afford to buy their kids?

Bonaventura: I hope not. No, I think it has a very good sense of what the market place wants. Hopefully they do. They certainly did off of “Transformers.”

Q: Are they going to be doing the 3 ¾” figures?

Bonaventura: We’re doing the 3 ¾” figures. I’m sure we’ll do some specialty 12.”

Q: How large is the stunt team for this film?

Bonaventura: That’s a really good question. I really don’t know.

Q: You’re not going to rely a lot on CGI are you?

Bonaventura: Not for the stunts, no. The CGI is really for the underwater environment and we have a giant chase scene where we go all through Paris and do some really crazy stuff. The only way you can do that it with CGI.

Q: Are you focusing more on the comic book mythology or the animated series mythology?

Bonaventura: I would say the comic book is the one we’re certainly paying attention to. Not that we don’t pay attention to the other. We’ve all watched some of them, but I think the comic book was sort of easier just because they started with issue one and go through. We think we’re very close to it. Everybody will be the judge of that. It’s one medium verses another so it doesn’t exactly, but the character backgrounds, the attitudes of the characters, the objectives of the characters, all of those things are going to be very familiar to the comic book reader. I think we’re actually adding some pretty cool stuff to it.

Q: How instrumental has Hasbro been?

Bonaventura: Hasbro is really an important part of this process because they have guys that have lived with this thing since it’s been around so they’re a really valuable resource to us in terms of what you can and can’t do with a character, what the series has done, what the comic book has done. They’re almost sort of an instant resource for us and they are true believers in the sense that they are 100% by the mythology and understand it and understand why the decisions are made along the way. We can talk through any questions with them and then we have Larry [Hama]. Larry vetted the script and gave us a few points where he said you can’t do that, but you can do this. And Larry is a great sounding board because part of what you want to do is you decide to tell a story that doesn’t exist in the comic book itself because in some ways the scale of this is much larger, and so what you want to be able to do play is what if games like, “Okay Larry what if dadadada. Do you think the Baroness could feel this way about Storm Shadow or Snake Eyes?” So you can run by the ideas and what’s fun about Larry is Larry is often telling us to be bold. “Don’t worry about it. Be bold. You guys understand it. You’ve got a good footing, take some chances.” So he’s really understood that we’re really faithful to what he created, but at the same time he wants it to move forward too. We’re in a really good place and plus we had him in the film. He plays one of the generals in the film.

Q: Can you give an example of when you added something to take it to the next level?

Bonaventura: I’ll give you an example. We’ve added some back stories between some of the characters. It would be a little bit of a spoiler if I talked about them. Let me think about this.

Q: Oh don’t worry about that.

Bonaventura: Everybody has read the f**king script.

Q: I haven’t if that makes you feel any better.

Bonaventura: It does make me feel better. Thank you! Entertainment is partly surprise you know. How can you be entertained if you’re not surprised? It drives all of us crazy when these scripts get out because it takes away what we think is the most fundamental parts of the process.

Q: Well I’m going to be surprised.

Bonaventura: Good. We added some back stories between several of the good guys and the bad guys so there’s a sense of a closed universe amongst all of these people. There’s a lot of sort of intertwining. Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes is the easiest one to talk about because it was explored the most in the comic book. You see the first time Snake Eyes meets Storm Shadow. They’re 10-years-old. You learn about the enmity they hold from the first time they meet each other. As I recall that’s not in the comic book.

Q: Is it at a ninja academy or something?

Bonaventura: They’re at the Temple with the Hard Master, but there is an introductory scene where Storm Shadow has been part of it when Snake Eyes arrives.

Q: They talked back in those days?

Bonaventura: Yes, they talked back in those days and it’s pre whether you think it’s a vow of silence or whether you think he lost his vocal cords. It all depends on which fan base you are.

Q: Will you come up with your own interpretations on either story?

Bonaventura: No, we’ll leave that to everyone’s imagination as to why Snake doesn’t talk.

Q: Who is Hard Master? Has he been cast?

Bonaventura: He has. The character’s name you got me. I don’t remember the actor’s name. Yeah Hard Master has been cast. The back story of them was did Storm Shadow kill Hard Master? We explore that a little bit and why they’re such sworn enemies.

Q: What about any romantic story lines?

Bonaventura: There’s two romantic story lines in the film. One which is very dramatic and serious and sort of sweepingly heart felt and the other which is playful and fun and lighthearted so there’s a little bit of both kinds for the audience.

Q: Do you think that’s going to be part of the draw for women to see this movie?

Bonaventura: I think so. First of all we have three really fun, exciting actors. I think it will be a big draw. We really go into these romances more than the comic book would probably go and we’ve sort of invented something along the way to add a little extra melodrama, but I would say sort of three primary relationships that you watch. Two of the romances we talked about and the third is Duke and Ripcord which is sort of the buddy romance if you would. There are three emotional story lines that you’re following through the movie and I think women will relate to that a lot.

Q: Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt going to have the lisp?

Bonaventura: Joseph Gordon-Levitt did his own thing and it’s really cool, really cool. I thought frankly in the TV show he was kind of lame, his voice. It was not very strong and it was not a very strong choice. I don’t think that fans will be disappointed with the choice that Joseph made. It’s pretty hair raising and crazy.

Q: Is it going to be the hard helmet, soft helmet or both?

Bonaventura: Oh we’re not talking about that.

Q: For Destro, will you be animating the mask?

Bonaventura: I’m not going to talk about that, but I will tell you the heritage of it. The notion that we’ve done this is a good example of how we’ve broaden the mythology, where does his mask come from. We actually open the movie in 1651 and we see what is I think his ancestor gets put into a French prison for arms dealing and they have one of those very medieval looking metals things so it’s sort of almost like a heritage of the clan of McCullen.

Q: How extensive is Brendan Fraser and The Rock’s part?

Bonaventura: The Rock isn’t in the movie. Brendan came in for a couple of scenes.

Q: Are there other cameos?

Bonaventura: No. Jonathan Price plays the President of the United States so there are some actors that you’ll recognize.

Q: Did Brendan shave his head for Gung Ho?

Bonaventura: He’s not Gung Ho and he’s not Slaughter or Shipwrecked. He’s not any of the characters that have been attributed to him.

Q: But he is a character that we would know by name?

Bonaventura: Not necessarily.

Q: Would you like to develop his role further in the second movie?

Bonaventura: He did it for fun because he’s a G.I. Joe fan. If he’d jump aboard for another movie and we had a good idea why not?

Q: How about the famous theme song? Are you planning on having another band record it?

Bonaventura: That’s really more of a post decision, but I would assume that we do something with it just as we did in “Transformers.” I’m sure we’ll find a use for it. It’d be disappointing if we didn’t.

Q: Dennis Quaid was saying he was going to sneak in a few “The More you Know.”

Bonaventura: He did. “Knowing is half the battle.” He got a few in there for sure.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opens in theaters on Friday, August 7.

Source: Heather Newgen