G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

August 7th 2009
  • Action/Adventure,
  • PG-13,
  • 107 min,
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Cast: Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Ray Park, Rachel Nichols, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Said Taghmaoui, Marlon Wayans, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Arnold Vosloo, Christopher Eccleston, Byung-hun Lee, Jonathan Pryce, Ron Yuan, Karolina Kurkova, Chris Akers, Michael Benyaer, Duncan Bravo, Michael Bretten, Michael Broderick, Elena Evangelo, Courtney Fleming, Leo Howard, David Murray, Gerald Okamura, Burton Perez, Brandon Soo Hoo, David Jean Thomas, Ken Thomas
  • Director: Stephen Sommers
  • Writers: Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett
  • Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Bob Ducsay, Stephen Sommers
  • Co Producers: JoAnn Perritano, David Minkowski, Matthew Stillman
  • Associate Producer: Cliff Lanning
  • Executive Producers: Brian Goldner, Erik Howsam, David Womark
  • Art Direction: Greg Papalia
  • Castings: Nancy Bishop, Ronna Kress
  • Costume Design: Ellen Mirojnick
  • D.O.P.: Mitchell Amundsen
  • Editors: Bob Ducsay, Jim May
  • Makeup: Cindy J. Williams
  • Music: Alan Silvestri
  • Production Design: Ed Verreaux
  • Set Decoration: Kate J. Sullivan


The movie will be a modern telling of the "G.I. Joe vs. Cobra" storyline and its compelling characters that Hasbro created 25 years ago. The premise of this fantasy is the story of the G.I. Joe team, led by Duke, and their "fight for freedom wherever there is trouble" against the evil Cobra Commander and his Cobra force. This storyline was an instant hit with kids in the early 1980s, spawning a highly popular 3-3/4-inch action figure line, comic book collection and animated series. The G.I. Joe team will not be based in Brussels. Instead, they will be based out of the "Pit" as they were throughout the 1980s comic book series. And, in keeping with the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra fantasy, the movie will feature characters and locations from around the world. Duke, the lead character and head of the G.I. Joe team, will embody the values of bravery and heroism that the first generation of G.I. Joe figures established.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Los Angeles, USA; Prague, Czech Republic
  • Production Budget: $170 million
  • Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures, The Sommers Company, Stillking Films
  • Production Schedule: 13 February 2008 - May 2008

Featured Articles


Sam Worthington was considered for the role of Duke, but turned it down due scheduling conflicts with Avatar (2009).

David Murray was cast as Destro, but dropped it when he had problems with his visa. He was replaced by Christopher Eccleston; however, the character was named James McCullen XXIV, thus enabling Murray to film a flashback scene as the first Destro, James McCullen I.

Skip Woods wrote an early draft of the film, which featured Alex Mann (aka Britain's Action Man) and the antagonist as the Naja/Ryan, a corrupt CIA agent. Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake-Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura originally envisioned Mark Wahlberg for the role of Duke.

The rapper Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock, but when he turned it down the character was changed to Heavy Duty, who will be played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

To prepare for her role as the Baroness, Sienna Miller spent four months in weight training and boxing, gaining five pounds of muscle, and also learned to fire live ammunition.

Dennis Quaid filmed all his scenes in the first two months of production.

In 2003, Don Murphy was going to produce this film, but negotiated with the Hasbro Company for Transformers (2007) instead. However, cinematographer Mitchell Amundsen was a crew member on both films; and a scene where a soldier leaps over a missile pays homage to Transformers (2007).

Larry Hama, the creator of "G.I. Joe" (1985), was hired as a creative consultant on the film. He will also have a cameo in the film, as a General in the battle between Duke and Hawk, against Destro and Zartan.

Channing Tatum originally didn't want to act in this film because he felt it glorified war. When he read the script, however, he understood the story was more a sci-fi action thriller than a war film. He was also encouraged to sign on by his friend and Stop-Loss (2008)-co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Best friends Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as Duke and Cobra Commander, who were arch-enemies in "G.I. Joe" (1985).

Dennis Quaid describes his character Hawk as "a mixture between Chuck Yeager, Sgt. Rock and a naïve Hugh M. Hefner."

To prepare for his role as the ninja Snake-Eyes, martial arts/stuntman Ray Park practiced wushu training and studied Snake-Eyes's appearances in the G.I. Joe comic/television series.

Marlon Wayans was cast as Ripcord after his performance in Requiem for a Dream (2000). Wayans is also a fan of "G.I. Joe" (1985).

According to Brian Goldner, the writes took their inspiration mostly from Larry Hama's G.I. Joe comics, and not the animated series. Lorenzo di Bonaventura admits he feels the Cobra Organization, as depicted in the cartoon, was "probably the stupidest evil organization out there!"

The action scene on the Paris streets were filmed in 14 days at the town Dejvice, Prague, Czech Republic. Filmmakers built shops with flowers, changed school names and parked mostly old French-manufactured cars (about 70 were found and used).

The interior of Destro's submarine was based on a Handley Page Jetsream plane.

According to Brendan Fraser, he plays a motorcycle-riding sergeant in the film who is a descendant of Rick O'Connell (also portrayed by Fraser) from Stephen Sommers's The Mummy (1999).

The Cobra Commander's mask was redesigned as the filmmakers found the "G.I. Joe" (1985) version too similar to the Ku Klux Klan masks, and anyway didn't want to use the same old mask.

For the voice of the Cobra Commander, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was partly inspired by Chris Latta's voice from "G.I. Joe" (1985), but he also used a bit of his own imagination as he felt that copying Latta's voice fully would be unoriginal and ridiculous.

The filmmakers enjoyed working with Dennis Quaid so much that screenwriter Stuart Beattie created 10-15 more scenes for him.

Dennis Quaid took the role of General Hawk on the insistence of his son, a fan of G.I. Joe.

Rachel Nichols was the first choice for the role of Scarlett O'Hara.

Stephen Sommers was attracted to this film as he felt it was the nearest chance he would get to making a James Bond film. The film itself pays homage to OO7 films: - Cobra Commander, the Baroness and Road Block bear parallels with the archetypal characters of the early Bond films (the villainous mastermind, the Russian femme-fatale, the tetchy weapons designer) - the Aston Martin with a hidden missile launcher was a Bond hallmark in the late 1990s; - the locations featured (Egypt, an underwater complex) are similar to The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), as is the use of surface-to-air missiles; - the Baroness unzips her leather suit to reveal an evening dress underneath, like James Bond in Goldfinger (1964) - the underwater battle is a tribute to Thunderball (1965); - the use of a bomb in a strategic location was Goldfinger (1964)'s idea; - and Ripcord's fall in the trailer was styled on the iconic freefall from Moonraker (1979).

Stephen Sommers took great care over the technology depicted in the film, going through various books/magazines about weapons technology. He feels that almost 100% of the technology can be developed within 10-20 years.

According to Stephen Sommers, total invisibility is impossible, but the camouflage cameras in the film (they project the view from a soldier's back onto their front) can allow for virtual invisibility.

The Delta-6 accelerator suits delighted Stuart Beattie and made him write up "a car chase where one guy's not even in a car!" However, they were bulky and heavy for the actors to wear and for any planned sequels their use will be reduced.

Ray Park had little knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but as a child he had played with a Snake-Eyes action figure. He was thus delighted to play a childhood hero of his, but had to read the G.I. Joe comics to understand his character better.

Ray Park enjoyed his role of Snake-Eyes and approached writer Kevin VanHook and artist S. L. Gallant with the idea of a G.I. Joe comic further exploring his incarnation of the character.

Ray Park was nervous about wearing the ninja suit and asked to practise with it at home so that he could be comfortable with it. He found the suit (composed solely of rubber with a metal visor) like wearing a rubber band, and had to put effort into moving in it.

Byung-hun Lee, who plays Storm Shadow, had no knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but was advised by the filmmakers not to learn about his character, letting his portrayal stand by itself. He describes Storm Shadow as defined and driven by two conflicting facets: "huge pride and a sense of honour."

A post-credits scene was planned where the famously mute ninja Snake-Eyes tells a joke to the G.I. Joe team, but Larry Hama advised against it since its humour would detract from the seriousness of the film.

Heavy Duty was originally named Lamont Morris, but the name was changed to Hershel Dalton. However, his code number ("807-46-LM65") contains Morris' initials to honour him.

The license plate of the Baroness's car reads "398YEH75."

Duke has a scar under his right eye, as homage to the famous scar of the original 12" G.I. Joe figure introduced in 1964. The scar was added to the right side of the action figure's face as a copyright mark to prevent unlawful reproduction of the figure by companies other than Hasbro.

While shooting a fight between Scarlett the Baroness, Rachel Nichols burned herself and Sienna Miller sprained her wrist.

The redheaded Scarlett is played by a blonde Rachel Nichols; she had dyed her hair red for her previous film Star Trek (2009).

Sienna Miller took the role of the Baroness because it did not involve "having a breakdown, or addicted to heroin, or dying at the end; it was something that was just maybe really great fun."

The first two levels of the Pit (the Joes' underground base) were constructed at the Downey soundstage; the rest of the Pit was accomplished with computer-generated imagery.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner chose screenwriter Michael Gordon to do the script on the basis of his work for 300 (2006).

In the G.I. Joe saga, Cover Girl was a fashion model who joined the team for a more fulfilling career. This parallels Karolina Kurkova, a model who took a second, more satisfactory career in acting.

Kevin J. O'Connor appears as the scientist who creates Cobra Commander. He has appeared in several of Stephen Sommers's films, including Deep Rising (1998), The Mummy (1999) and Van Helsing (2004).

Olga Kurylenko was considered for the role of the Baroness.

Cobra Commander's design pays homage to other sinister leaders: - his film history was inspired by the OO7 villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld; - his appearance was based on the Marvel Comics supervillain Dr Doom; - his armour/life-system pays homage to Star Wars (1977)'s Darth Vader; - he is accompanied by a snake, similar to J.K. Rowling's Lord Voldemort; - and his burnt face is a tribute to Harvey Dent.

G.I.J.O.E. is an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity." In actual fact, the term "G.I. Joe" was a generic term given to the general infantrymen of the United States Army during World War II.

The COBRA nanomites, which decay metal, are coloured green to resemble fungus, which carries out a decomposing effect similar to the nanomites.

The accelerator suits are tagged as "Delta-6." This alludes to "G.I. Joe: Sigma 6" (2005), another version of the G.I. Joe saga.

Part of the film is set in Egypt, near the Pyramids. This is a reference to Stephen Sommers's film The Mummy (1999); it also provides a link to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which has its climax set in Egypt.

In the G.I. Joe universe, the soldier Scarlett's real name is Shana M. O'Hara. This is a reference to the tempestuous belle Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939).

Destro is the head of M.A.R.S. Industries. In the G.I. Joe universe, "M.A.R.S." stands for "Military Armaments Research Syndicate;" it is also a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.

The Baroness derisively calls Duke and Ripcord "real American heroes," the tagline of the G.I. Joe

Trailers & Clips

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 5 August 2009: Belgium, France
  • 6 August 2009: Argentina, Australia, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine
  • 7 August 2009: Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, UK
  • 12 August 2009: Iceland, Sweden
  • 13 August 2009: Czech Republic, Netherlands, Portugal
  • 14 August 2009: Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway
  • 20 August 2009: Greece, Israel
  • 28 August 2009: Estonia, Finland, Romania
  • 11 September 2009: Italy
  • 23 September 2009: Egypt
  • 25 September 2009: Poland